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A Celtic showcase

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The Press Gang (photo courtesy pressgangmusic.com) The Press Gang (photo courtesy pressgangmusic.com)
Four of Portland's best Celtic groups come together for benefit concert

PORTLAND - One Longfellow Square, 181 State Street, Portland, presents the first in a series of benefit concerts for OLS featuring the best of Portland's Celtic talent: Don Roy Trio, Naia, Boghat and The Press Gang on Thursday, July 12 at 8 p.m. This is an official satellite event hosted by Maine's popular Saltwater Celtic Festival at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick.

The artists have graciously donated their time to make this event a benefit for One Longfellow Square. Maine uillean piper Tom Wilsbach will MC the event. In addition to the headliners, the evening will feature short sets from some of Portland's other fine players, highlighting the exceptional traditional Celtic music scene that has been growing in Portland for some time.

Don Roy is considered one of the foremost practitioners of the Franco-American fiddling style that is unique to Maine and New England, and has roots in several Celtic traditions. While growing up in Rockland, Roy was influenced by fiddlers such as Ben Guillemette, Joe and Gerry Robichaud and Graham Townsend. The sounds of Quebec, Ireland, Ontario and the Maritime Provinces blend in his style of playing. In 2003, Don and an apprentice won a Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant from the Maine Arts Commission, receiving two traditional arts fellowships for excellence in traditional music. Ethnomusicologist Bau Graves calls Roy the finest Franco fiddler in New England, whose playing "exactly exemplifies what Franco American fiddling is all about. It is simultaneously precisely controlled and wildly danceable."

Naia combines the talents of Celtic flutist Nicole Rabata, and harpist Danielle Langord. They play traditional Celtic music from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Quebec, along with their own traditionally inspired compositions. Rich harmonies blend with delicate melodies to create this duo's unique sound.

Boghat is a traditional Irish dance music trio with a contemporary twist. From fiery reels and jigs to plaintive airs and the occasional song, Boghat covers the wide spectrum of the Celtic genre. The players of Boghat are Tom Rota (uilleann pipes), Jaime Eller (fiddle) and Mike Jeanneau (bouzouki and guitar). Boghat will be featured this year at the Saltwater Celtic Festival's Maine Local Scene Showcase.

The Press Gang fuses the talents of squeezebox player Christian 'Junior' Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson and guitarist Owen Marshall. The trio blends their skill and fluency in traditional Irish music with their curiosity and aptitude for other styles. Their debut self-titled CD features a generous helping of Irish tunes spiced with Appalachian music and original compositions.

All proceeds from the concert will benefit the programming and offerings at One Longfellow Square, a nonprofit arts and music venue located in the robust Portland Arts District. One Longfellow Square presents over 200 concerts a year of all genres as well as arts programming for youth. For further information, email info @ onelongfellowsquare.com or call (207) 761-1757.

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