The dance-inducing sounds of the fiddle and bodhrán are central to the music of Rising Gael, a Madison-based Celtic quartet that performs what it describes as a "neo-traditional hybrid" of songcraft. Led by the voice of singer, flautist and whistler Erin Ellison, the group also features the talents of Katie Dionne on the fiddle, Jeff Olson on the bodhrán and other percussion, and Peter Tissot on the guitar and more. "There is something organic about each song and even traditional arrangements sound fresh and invigorating," writes one fan of the group.
Last November, the group recorded a music video for the traditional Celtic tune "Donald McGillavry." A rousing Jacobite jig that sings the praises of the title character and King James III (the Pretender), the song was a staple the repertoire of the Scottish folk group Silly Wizard.
"We picked 'Donald McGillavry' because it is one of our most exciting live numbers," explains Ellison. "It showcases each of our instruments and is representative of our style: a neo-traditional hybrid." Shot by Curt Wagner of Drop Frame Productions, the video features the group performing a live rendition of the tune on stage at the Orpheum Theatre.
"We shot the video in order to give prospective venues a look at our live sound and stage presence," Ellison continues. "Being one of the younger Irish bands touring the country, we want to demonstrate the maturity of our music as well as the energy and enthusiasm we bring to the stage."
This music video follows below.
Rising Gael is currently in the process of recording its new release at Paradyme Productions in Madison. "This third album is going to feature many more original songs than our previous CD, which we are really excited about," notes Ellison. More music by the group can be found on its MySpace page.
This is naturally a busy weekend for Rising Gael, given this season of green. The group performed at the Stoughton Opera House on Friday, followed on Saturday by shows at the "New Dublin" Irish Fest in New London and at the Windhover Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac. They have two shows on Sunday; the first is at the Madison St. Patrick's Day Parade around the Capitol Square, starting at 1:30 p.m.; the second is the St. Pat's Eve Celebration at the High Noon Saloon, where they will be performing with Tairis, the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, Greenfyre, the Cashel Dennehy School of Irish Dance, and West Wind. The big day itself will find Rising Gael playing the St. Patrick's party at the Great Dane in Fitchburg.