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The Wolfe Tones Newsletter 2012

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The Wolfe Tones Newsletter For 2012. Here's where Brian tells of all the gigs played in America and Canada for their Spring tour including St. Patrick's Day.

I hope 2012 is treating you good so far and your keeping up all the resolutions  you made. It's very difficult to motivate yourself to keep going and so easy  to fall back to the old ways, keep trying.

The amount of people joining our mailing list just keeps on growing, we are proud to have you all on board so keep passing on the good word and get all your friends to join. Remember it's the best way to keep in touch with the Tones.


The new CD "Child of destiny" has been received with great acclaim from all quarters, there were very few CD's over the years that could boast so many original song. It will take a while for them to get known, that's always the  way with new songs but eventually when and if they're good enough,they will  break through. Radio play is always a great help in breaking a song but  unfortunately Irish radio are running like a herd blinded cattle and have no  original ideas, they just follow what they are doing in England.


I recently did an interview on local radio and I was told by the DJ that he could not play one of our songs because he was not allowed to choose music, not even 1 song.  He was sent down a play list from the company's bosses which just happens to be English owned and he was not allowed play anything other than what was prescribed by them.  So he introduced me with Madonna and, after the interview, he played me out with Michael Jackson. I'm looking at the man in the mirror but the reflection of music was anything but a reflection of what's happening in Ireland.


This needs to change and the only way to do it is by people power. I'm sure there are lots of people like me who are dissatisfied with this policy so let them know on the airwaves, write, call, email, create hell, it's just not good enough! Radio depends on listeners. There should be a broadcasting policy that would force all radio in Ireland to play at least 50% of music from Irish acts, artistes,producers and writers, they do so in other countries. We are beside a very big, powerful nation who now mainly dictate what people hear on radio.


Even our so called public radio, RTE, have run with the herd, they are financed by a license fee of 160 euro per household plus advertising revenue.  They are mostly playing imported music, you would think during a time of great economic stress they would be assisting and encouraging Irish acts and entertainment.  Any other country that would have its music industry ignored and hampered in such a way would be up in arms about it.What's wrong in Ireland, have we lost the rebel spirit?!


The new DVD "Let The People Sing - The Wolfe Tones Story" is worth a look, a story well told and a great credit to the Kennealy's for doing such a great job. A young film producer with great talent and a bright future. It's a very good production and worth a look.


We had a wonderful beginning to the year, very busy but very rewarding.  Our visit to Lanzarote is always a treat and we had a great time with Barry and all our friends at Charlie's bar.  If you're on the island any time soon pay it a visit, it's a late bar but I can promise you great craic.

We followed on with the Irish music cruise run by Debra Casey.  She had a great line up of artistes, the Makem and Spain brothers, a great band that are carrying on the great tradition, the legacy and standard set by their dad, one on the greats, Tommy Makem of course. I was delighted to meet Tom Sweeney again, I had not seen him for many a year and he's as good as ever. A big hit on the cruise was Mairtin DeColgan, a colourful, talented cork man with great stories and songs.  He's now living in Minnesota, so Cork's lose is their gain.

We had some great people on board and I know all had a great time. We would like to thank all who came from far and near - our very good friend from Co. Kerry, Margaret Scanlon, the Noe's from Michigan our friends from New York, Virginia and especially The Chief and all the gang from New Jersey. A great big thanks to all, see you soon.

Don't forget, if you don't have a copy of the new CD or DVD you can order them from the shop or on our website.

We have just finished our US tour, it was a very hectic time.  We commenced on the 16th of Feb in Chicago and continued all across the country until we finished up in Lynn Mass just outside Boston on St. Patrick's Day, what a great trip it was. We met some fantastic people all across the land and many memorable concerts. We had four new songs in the set and they all were received very favorably.

The first concert in the Abbey was a lively start to the tour, Chicago never lets us down, just love the place. The second show was at Gaelic Park and I would have to say one of the best Irish clubs in the US, a great credit to all involved. What a great night we had there, a total sell out both nights. Then next morning early we made our way to Cleveland, Ohio, to the Eastside Irish club and had another smashing night. It was our very first appearance there and I do hope it won't be our last, it's a wonderful club.

The ceoltas Irish Pub in Harrisburg was a very interesting stop, a fine establishment with wonderful atmosphere. When I'm in this region I always think of the Molly Maguires and we had some of the AOH from Molly country at the show who gave us a wonderful gift that we will treasure forever. Their story is a fascinating one and I will write a piece on them for our next newsletter. I have included and mentioned them in the new song called Hibernia which tells the story of the Irish emigrants who fought against the exploitation of their labour in England, Scotland, America and Australia,

 

Pittsburg was our next stop. I always think of Tom O'Donaghue when I come to this town, he was the first person to bring us there and in fact managed our tours in America for many years. He owned an Irish bar and restaurant called the Blarney Stone and we played there for many years. Tom sadly passed away but his family still come along to the shows and his sister Maggie is still very much involved. We are always glad to see them, a wonderful family who's roots are embedded in Kerry.  Diane is the host of an Irish radio show in Pittsburg and we hope to join her for a special radio interview from Belfast on Easter Sunday:

Diane Byrnes
Producer & Host
Echoes of Erin on WEDO 810AM
www.pittsburghirish.org/echoesoferin
Listen Live: www.wedo810.com

Buffalo new York is a very special place toTthe Wolfe Tones because of two people, John and Maureen Fecio.  Our good friends and hosts at the Irish centre have been running functions for many years with the Tones to raise money to  bring Children of all persuasions-from the troubled areas of Belfast and Derry. Believe me this has really made a difference and saved lives in many cases, I have met with many and they all say that there lives changed with the experience. So I believe Ireland owes a great big thanks to these wonderful generous people and all who support them.

Kingston, PA, Kevin's Bar and restaurant has great food and the best drink, if your ever in the area pay Kevin a visit.  He is a great guy and you won't regret it, we always have good craic there.  If you missed it make sure your there next time.

Bordentown NJ was our next stop. We played in a club called the Scottish Rites Club, a lovely hall and had a great night.  Our hosts were the Dublin Pub, a little piece of Ireland in the area, it's a great bar.

Next we made our way to Canada to play our only Canadian concert at the very hospitable Lar na Gael in Brampton, Ontario, to another sell out crowd. It was lovely to meet our friends old and new. Especially all the Byrnes from Ottawa, what a fun bunch. Our hosts Billy McKnight and Liam McKee were wonderful, picked us up at the airport and brought us back.  Unfortunately, we were delayed on our return by high winds at Toronto City Airport and we just about made the gig in Monaghans of Rockville Centre. We had no time to eat or drink, wash or change, straight on the stage where we played to a very enthusiastic crowd. I was glad of a few beers and a bite to eat after the show and ever more glad to drop into my bed after a very tiring day.

We're now halfway through the tour, are you tired yet?!

Next we made our way to Pittsfield, Dalton, for a concert at the Wahconah Country Club, a place we have played for many a year. We had our first show there back in the early nineties, and have never missed a year since. The great thing is that a new generation has taken over from the older crowd under the leadership of Brendan Ruane, son of Dave, one of the founders of the Irish Society there. We miss many of the original gang who have retired to
Florida or sadly passed away but thanks to youthful enthusiasm we had a wonderful night, our thanks to all.


The Keansburg New Comfort Fire Station has now become a regular venue for the Tones, we have made wonderful friendships in the community that I will cherish all my life. Sometimes we are blessed when our life's path crosses with the gift of friendship and indeed I can boast many great friends from this great township. What a great night we had, a huge sell out crowd, a hall rocking with fun and delight, this is what keeps us going all the years. With out the people's appreciation and nights like this I would have retired long ago, love you all.


Boston Mass, the IEBW Dorchester, I feel right at home in Boston. It's just an extension of Ireland in every way, the Irish and Irish America are so close it's unbelievable. I wrote a love song relating to this great love story between Ireland and her exiles, it's on the new CD, a song calledthe Cliffs of Mohar. This great love story has gone on for centuries.  The Irish emigrant never forget the land or their people they left behind. Almost every generation has helped Ireland's struggle and of course the Irish were America's first ally when Washington was fighting for herIndependence.  He said himself that without the Irish he could not have won and with out the help of Irish America, Ireland, would not have gained the small progress that that has been made towards a peaceful United Ireland.


The Irish gave a ship load of food to the new colony in Boston when they were in dire need of assistance and threatened by a real famine.  Of course it will be always be remembered that the Ship called the Jamestown sailed from Boston laden with food for the starving people of Ireland in 1847. It was written then that 100 ships with the abundance of food produced in Ireland were leaving to every ship coming in. There was no famine in Ireland, the country was full of food but was taken by gunpoint leaving a helpless people to starve.


The next venue was in Long Beach, Long Island, New York, a fund raiser for the Catholic school there.  We had a meet and greet prior to the show and met some wonderful people.  It was the first time we played in the hall and we were greeted by a very enthusiastic and generous audience. There were a lot of new people that had not heard the group and every one had a positive remark to make about the Wolfe Tones experience.  We hope to see you all again.


Our next stops were south first to Baltimore and then to Washington. We first went to Baltimore in the 80's and a local band opened the concert for us who have become great friends ever since. Danny Costello, a great musician,a school teacher and now a writer has a deep love of Irish music and brings a group to Ireland almost every year. He played in that group with O'Malley who has now become the Governor of Maryland, what a wonderful achievement, we admire and wish him continued success in his political career.


Next stop Washington at The Harp and Fiddle inBethseda, a great Irish establishment near the heart of the Capitol. Joe Yost has been a great friend of the group for many years and is a wonderful photographer who at this stage has took many photos of the group over the years. I can see the movement of time in his work, just a little older every year, Janey Mac I'm nearly Whaaaaat.

John Buckley and his wife Cathy have been friends forever and ever. I must tell you this story, in 1966 he visited Ireland with Mick McCrory and was staying with friends in Ballyfermot.  Now we were returning home from a gig late at night, 4am or so, and were hailed down by a couple of yanks who were lost. "How do we get to Ballyfermot" said the driver of the car, we directed him and he shouted out "you guys want a beer", That was the end of that, we thought, but we made our first trip to NY in August of that year and befriended a very nice couple who invited us to dinner in her mother's house on 85th street. While there, her son arrived home, he was a young police officer.  We were introduced and he said "you guys want a beer" the way he said it was so unique and I said were you in Ireland recently, yes, he said, were you looking for directions to Ballyfermot, yes, he said.  Well we were the ones who showed you the way! Now what a coincidence, that was a one in a million chance meeting. We became life long friends since then.


Philadelphia here we come. I love this town steeped in history, the birthplace of freedom, the liberty bell, the town where Wolfe Tone came to make his home but was encouraged to go to France to seek the help of Napoleon in his promise to liberate Ireland. Finegans Wake is the venue, Mike Driscall our host, sell out crowd, a great concert, what more can we ask for. When I come to Philly it always reminds me of my great friends the Rafferty's, both the Chief and his son Frank sadly both have passed away but I miss them and think if them when ever I think of Philadelphia.


So on and on we traveled next to NJ to a place called Maplewood. I lost my way getting there, the bloody GPS brought me all around the world through road works, diversions, got it wrong, it shouts at me arriving at destination and I in the middle of three different highways, ah no, what will I do next, pull in, make a call, get new directions and an hour later arrive at the Pub, St James Public House, but in a tizzie, well feck those GPS machines aaaaaahhhh. However I was treated to a nice dinner and some liquid refreshment and in no time I was ready for action and had a great night with a wonderful happy gang.


Molly Molones, Bay Shore, Long Island, New York, been there before so I have no problems with directions, we get there in no time at all. We have played here on numerous occasions it's always one of our favorites . The NY Police,The Fire Dept., all represented here.  Sadly I think of many of our friends who died in the great tragedy of 9/11. There were many of our fans killed on that day, including my sister in law Bettina Brown.  In fact I still find it very hard and difficult to talk about it but we must not forget them all, it's so important.


Connolly's of NY City is our next stop on 45th Street amidst the sparkle and glitz and the neon extravaganza which is Times Square. Here nestles two great Irish establishments Connolly's and The Perfect Pint with its huge Pint of Guinness decorating the front of the Building, you cant miss it. Bernie Reilly from Galway is the host in these chain of Pubs spread around the City and is one of the great Irish Hosts of New York but Connolly's of 45 St was to be the venue for the three sell out concerts in the City. We had people from everywhere over the three days, all over America, Canada, South America, England, Ireland, Scotland and Europe, all gathered for the greatest Irish parade in the world. The St Patricks Day Parade on th Ave, it's a great day for the Irish as the song says.


There is a few more concerts to go before we're back to the City. First we made our way to Cortland Manor near Fishkill where we had a great night in a wonderful restaurant and a great venue.  From there we made ourway to Glastonbury Conn. to the Irish American Home, a little bit of Ireland in Connecticut. Carol Hughes has been a wonderful friend for more years than I can remember. We have had many concerts around the area from New Haven to Waterbury, from Foxwoods to Holiday Inn Hotels, pubs and clubs and I am proud to say on every occasion he has supported our efforts to bring Ireland's Story and song to the people.


Next stop was Springfield Mass. At the John Boyle O'Reilly Club now what can we say about this great Irish Patriot. I'll briefly give you an out line of his career. He was involved in the Fenian movement and was at the forefront in recruiting Irish soldiers in the British army into the movement. The Fenian rising failed mainly because John Stephens kept putting the day off so eventually the British got knowledge of it, made their move and captured some of the Centres. John Boyle O'Reilly was captured in this swoop, tried for treason, condemned to death but was transported to Freemantle Prison in Westerm Australia. He was the first man ever to successfully escape from this high security establishment and after many misadventures and narrow escapes he made his way with the help of an Irish Priest and an Amercan Whaling ship to America and freedom. He then worked as a writer and journalist and editor of the Pilot. He received a letter from one of the 7military Fenians who he had recruited asking him for help. In the letter he said was a voice from the tomb. He then gathered Clan na Gael and the Fenians to set about plans for their escape. It's the greatest escape story of all time, they bought a whaling ship called the Catalpa in New Bedford, hired a Great Yankee sea Farer Captain Anthony who took on the mission with Yankee enthusiasm. They sailed around the world, taken the odd whale until they reached WA. Jim Breslin was in charge of the land operation a man who engineered the escape of James Stephens in Dublin. In a well organised operation they had all the prisoners on outside duty, a couple of horse and cars and rode like hell to a prearranged spot where Capt. Anthony waited with a small Harpoon boat. The police came upon them and the crew rowed like mad till they reached open sea. After many hours and through the night, a storm almost capsized the small craft then a gunboat passed them by but luckily did not spot them. They reached the Catalpa but the adventure was not over,the steamer loaded with guns came along side them demanding the prisoners to which Anthony replied there are no prisoners aboard, only free men. They fired their guns over the bow of the Catalpa, the brave Captain raised the Stars and Stripes and said fire on this in open waters and you fire on America. Just then the wind turned, he turned the boat heading straight at the Georgette narrowly missing a collision and a strong wind carried them to the freedom of the seas.  Now what a great night it was in Springfield.


Back to Connolly's for two more nights packed with happy smiling faces, reveling in their Irish heritage with songs, stories, history, a little pride and some sadness as we sang and weaved our way through the nights performance.


St Patricks Day we set out for Boston Mass. About a four hour journey, we had a sound check for 4 at the convention centre. This was for the TV crew who were televising the performance at Sen Jack Harts Breakfast the following day, Sunday the 18th. This breakfast is a major event in South Boston and we were delighted to be part of it. The Senator is a great guy as they say in America, a handsome, friendly young man who is just made for politics, I'd vote for him myself if I could. The sound check over we were off to Lynn for the St Patricks concert, a benefit for the Police.  We had a few drops to wet the shamrock and to bed.


The Breakfast started at 10 and finished at 12:30, we were due on stage at 11:20 and sang "Were on the one Road" and "Boston Rose", every body seemed to enjoy them.  We finished with Celtic Symphony and A Nation OnceAgain . My thanks to Theresa Driscoll, Jacks sister and all the great people involved who looked after us so well.

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