Q&A: Celtic Woman’s Mairead Carlin discusses Irish upbringing, Kirby show
WILKES-BARRE — Local revelers may have celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 17, with shepherd’s pie or bangers and mash. They may have brought out their fiddles and danced a jig and, if they worked up a thirst, they may have reached for a bottle of Killians or a pint of Guinness or even a wee nip of Jameson.
Sure and begorrah, some also will be counting the days until Sunday, when Celtic Woman brings a touch of the Old Sod to the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
The group, which sang in Baltimore on St. Patrick’s Day, will work its way through several cities in Virginia and New Jersey and will perform in Philadelphia before bringing its “Homecoming” concert to Wilkes-Barre.
When Celtic Woman was even further away, singer Mairead Carlin took the time to answer via email a few questions from the Times Leader. She grew up in Derry, Ireland, a place she describes as “wherever you turn, there’s always music.” In her family, she adds, a favorite pastime was to “just sit around the fire, sing and drink tea.”
TL: What are some of your favorite songs you are likely to sing when you come to Wilkes-Barre?
MC: My favourite song of all is ‘Danny Boy;’ that songs cuts deep. Never fails to move me. The song was first discovered in a small town very close to where I grew up and so I always feel a very spiritual connection to it and makes me feel close to home.
TL: Irish music seems to be so popular around the world. What is it about the music that makes people enjoy it so much?
MC: Our stories and our melodies. We sing songs with meaning that can apply to anybody, no matter where you are from. The Irish have also always been known as great storytellers and have a universal message.
TL: Do you get especially large crowds around St. Patrick’s Day?
MC: Yes, we do, and we love it. Imagine, one day in the world where everyone celebrates our wee small country; that’s pretty cool!
TL: If you were back home in Ireland, what would your St. Patrick’s Day celebration be like?
MC: Lots of fun, lots of music, Guinness galore, laughs with friends and family, and green everywhere!
TL: As you travel, what do you miss about your hometown?
MC: My family.
TL: How old were you when you started singing?
MC: I was 4 when I went to my first singing lesson, but I didn’t train properly until I was 18. My teacher at home made sure we enjoyed music first and foremost. Her focus was interpretation first, then train, because you can develop bad habits if you are trained too young. You have to wait until you grow physically.
TL: How long have you been touring?
CM: This is my fifth year touring with Celtic Woman, and it still feels like my first. I love every minute of it.
TL: As you travel the world giving concerts, what kind of experiences have you enjoyed? Any special sights you’ve seen? Any special conversation, maybe, that you’ve had with a fan? Thanks — and save travels to you!
CM: I love Australia, the sunshine, the outdoor healthy lifestyle there. I love Los Angeles and just generally travelling to all the different places we get to go in the United States. My favourite places to perform are Red Rocks in Colorado and Radio City in New York.
Editor’s note: The Irish spelling of multiple words throughout Ms. Carlin’s answers was kept intact to preserve the authenticity of her writing.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT.
IF YOU GO
What: Celtic Woman
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Additional information: Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $99 and are available through the Kirby Center box office, online at kirbycenter.org and by phone at 570-826-1100.