has been a few years since I was in New York but I know the scene well
from the many emails I get from friends and fellow musicians who spend
a lot of time in that huge city.
Like London there is a thriving Irish
scene in the pubs and clubs and many of the sessions I have sat in on
there have been the best I have ever played. Many of the bigger Irish
touring bands love to have a day or 2 off in New York taking in the bright
lights and getting in some real fun tunes with the population of first
and second generation players who have made the Big
Apple their home.
there have been many fine acts who came out of that New York scene. One
of the most notable of these is Morning Star,
a trio who are consistently playing pubs, clubs and festivals all over
the States and abroad. I first came across and wrote about Morning Star
for online.ie a few years ago
and have written about them on the Irishabroad website
as well. So it is high time they were profiled on JigTime.
The band is made up of Mary Courtney on Vocals, Guitar and Bodhran.
John Nolan on Button Accordian and Bernadette
Fee on Fiddle.
a native of Kerry but like many of us Irish has transplanted herself
a couple of times along the long road to New York . From sessions in
Dublin , Slogadhs in Kerry and even her own shows in Copenhagen she has
certainly honed her musical talents along the way. She arrived in New
York in 1982 and again in a typically Irish way got to know people very
quickly and formed Morning Star.
Nolan is a New Yorker but he is
as Irish as the rest of us. Anyone at home who doubts that those who
aren't born and bred in Ireland cant possibly have the “feel” for the
music just have to listen to John. He was in fact the first American
ever to win the senior All-Ireland championship on the button accordion
and represented the US at the 1994 Aónach
Paddy O'Brien in Nenagh.
newest member of the band is Bernadette Fee
another local who is very well known on the New York scene. She not only
plays fiddle but is a music teacher and a champion Irish step dancer as
As a unit the band have a unique sound while
staying true to their traditional roots. This is reflected in their popularity.
They play in New York all the time when they aren't out on the road playing
the many Celtic and Irish festivals around the USA . This month alone they
have shows all over the great city. If you find yourself in town over
the coming months or even years make sure to look the band up and soak
up a little taste of real Irish American culture. I know I will be bringing
a guitar to see if they let an old fogey like me sit in.
Morning Star are here to stay and are an important milestone on the musical landscape.
In years to come when the map of where traditional Irish music traveled
the world is drawn up there will be a huge X marking Rocky
Sullivan's and all the venues where Morning Star have played.
For a full list of
Morning Star shows and samples of the band's music go to