January 18, 2011
Written by Kate Lepard
The Texas Tech University Celtic Ensemble will present the concert, “Céili in the Snow: An Irish House-Party,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Talkington Great Hall at the Legacy Event Center (14th Street and Avenue O).
Singers and players will perform dances, songs, listening pieces and tunes associated with the Celtic experience played globally for many centuries.
Students, families and seniors are welcome to attend free of charge to enjoy solo
and figure dances, instrumental music and guest appearances by the Texas Tech Irish
Set-Dancers and the Caprock Border Morris Dancers.
In the Gaeltachtai (Irish-speaking communities) of Ireland’s West, certain houses became known as “céili (KAY-lee) houses.” These were places where songs, tunes, musicians, dancers, poets and players could find a warm welcome and an appreciative response in the shared community performance of the house party.
In such a home, the door was left unlocked because a musician was certain he or she would be welcomed upon entering the kitchen. Inside these kitchens the stories, songs, tunes and dances centered around a fire that was never allowed to burn out. The “céili houses” facilitated the oral culture that helped the Irish survive colonization, famine and exile.
In this program, the Texas Tech Celtic Ensemble will take attendees into a similar
Irish mid-winter, huddled around a turf fire in a circle of poetry, song, dance and
story, “driving the cold winter away.”
The ensemble is composed of singers, instrumentalists and dancers specializing in group performance of the traditional dance music and songs of the seven Celtic nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia and the Isle of Man.
The ensemble learns and plays its repertoire by ear, combining instruments such as the timber flute, tin whistle, fiddles, mandola, guitar, harp, banjo, percussion, accordion, double-bass, brass, percussion and wind instruments with dancing and solo and choral song. Songs are played in Irish and Scots Gaelic, Gwerz, French, Welsh and English.