Ancient Irish harmonies in Northern California

Should you happen to find yourself in the greater San Francisco Bay Area this month, you won’t want to miss a truly unique Irish concert: Sacred Days, Mystic Ways, starring renowned Irish singer and songwriter Mary Mc Laughlin and her Cór Ainglí Irish ensemble.

Cór Ainglí (Choir of Angels) From left to right: Back row: Eileen Mihm, Jennie Siegmund, Mary Mc Laughlin, Kathy Hopkins, Audrey Nickel. Front row: Katie Loveless, Laura Schanzer, Laura Reeve. Not shown: Janet Herman, Sadie Reeve.
Cór Ainglí (Choir of Angels)
From left to right: Back row: Eileen Mihm, Jennie Siegmund, Mary Mc Laughlin, Kathy Hopkins, Audrey Nickel. Front row: Katie Loveless, Laura Schanzer, Laura Reeve. Not shown: Janet Herman, Sadie Reeve.

Two concerts are on offer for November, 2013:

Spine-tingling harmonies

Whether singing a pre-Christian Irish Gaelic fairy lament, a seal-luring chant, a 13th century Latin monastic chant, or an original song in English; Mary and her superb 9-voice women’s vocal ensemble will make your spine tingle with their well-crafted modal harmonies, sung a cappella or accompanied by traditional instruments.

Cór Ainglí (pronounced “kohr an-glee”) — whose name literally means “angelic choir,” and was derived from the first line of the Irish version of “Angels We Have Heard on High” — was originally formed as a 25-voice community choir to perform the songs Mary had arranged for her 2007 CD A Gaelic Christmas.

In 2012, Mary refined the choir to a small ensemble featuring nine of her most experienced singers and expanded its repertoire to include music from throughout the year and from a variety of sources.

The group’s current repertoire includes, among other things, ancient monastic chants in Latin, songs in Irish from Ireland’s fairy lore, and even a Scottish Gaelic selkie song! And yes…still a Christmas song or two!

Cór Ainglí is thrilled to be accompanied by some amazing instrumentalists, including Celtic guitarist John Hopkins, as well as hammered dulcimer player Julie Horner and guitarist/fiddler David Chadwick of The Crooked Road Céilí Band.

Mary Mc Laughlin

A Santa Cruz-area singer, songwriter, and teacher who is steeped in the Ulster Gaelic song tradition of her native Ireland, Mary Mc Laughlin has been featured on several Celtic compilation albums, including Narada’s Celtic Voices and Faire Celts.

Her solo albums include The Daughter of Lír, Crystal Shoe A Gaelic Christmas, Celtic Requiem (with guitarist William Coulter) and Sacred Days; Mythic Ways.

She holds an MA in Ritual Chant and Song from Limerick University, where she specialized in the mythological songs of Ireland as well as Latin plainchant and the Irish tradition of keening.

Mary’s thrilling interpretation of Gregorian chant and Gaelic traditional song is further augmented by her knack for story-telling and for entertaining an audience.

Tickets and information

Advance tickets for the November 10 concert in Menlo Park can be obtained by visiting www.vallombrosa.org (click on “Calendar of Events” at the top, and then choose “Sacred Days, Mystic Ways”) or by calling 650-325-5614.

Advance tickets for the November 16 concert in Santa Cruz can be obtained at www.brownpapertickets.com (enter “Cór Ainglí,” “Mary McLaughlin,” or “Sacred Days, Mystic Ways” into the search box).

Tickets will also be available at the door at each venue while supplies last.

For more information about Cór Ainglí email info@coraingli.com or visit www.coraingli.com (there are a couple of great performance videos there as well!)

Not going to be in California in November? No problem! Cór Ainglí is already making plans for performances in 2014, including one close to St. Patrick’s Day in San Jose! Bookmark www.coraingli.com to stay abreast of all the news!

This just in!

This just in: You can hear Mary and Cór Ainglí live on the radio this coming Saturday (November 9), at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Just go to www.kusp.org and click on “Listen Live.” (Of course, if you happen to be in the Monterey Bay area, you can simply tune your radio to 88.9 FM).

If you miss the live broadcast, the show should be available as a podcast from the KUSP website for at least a week afterward.

Bainigí sult as! Enjoy!

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