Irish band ‘Goitse’ will perform on campus

Irish band Goitse will perform this weekend.

Even though Hillsdale is far from the Emerald Isle, the famous Irish band Goitse will bring the hills here.

On March 8, Goitse will perform at Markel Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

“This will be a highlight of the year for people who love Celtic music,” said professor and music department chair James Holleman.

Goitse will perform as part of the Professional Artist Series. They were originally scheduled to perform at Hillsdale College in 2020.

The band started in 2007 when the members performed at a charity event at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

“Tadhg O Meachair and Elder McGeeney both spoke in the Irish language,” said Colm Phelan, the band leader and Bodhran player. “They shouted ‘Goitse!’ to Conal O’Kane and me, that we didn’t understand. Goitse means “come here” in an Irish dialect, and since then the band’s name has stuck.

The bodhrán, Phelan’s instrument, is the Irish frame drum. The band members collectively play guitar, banjo, bouzouki, violin, piano, piano accordion, and vocals. The group combines traditional Irish music with original pieces.

“We love researching types of ancient tunes, and Alan Ried, our banjo player, is particularly brilliant at researching tunes through old manuscripts and bringing them to life,” Phelan said.

The band spent a lot of time in Michigan in 2011, during their first US tour.

“We’ve been really attached to Michigan State and it feels like the closest thing to Ireland in America,” Phelan said. “We even named some of our music ensembles after experiences we had in Michigan over the years.”

The band will play a variety of Irish music at their show in Hillsdale.

“We love all types of Irish music and also enjoy ballads,” Phelan said. “Some of our favorite pieces to play are ‘Tall Tales’ and ‘My Belfast Love’.”

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