BH Opera House: Còig and Lúnasa for the holidays
The Boothbay region will not only be bright with thousands of holiday lights this season, it will also come alive with the pounding sound of Celtic music and dance including performances by Cape Breton’s acclaimed Còig, and international award-winning Irish band Lunasa. The stage of the historic Opera House in Boothbay Harbor, 86 Townsend Ave., hosts both concerts this December.
On Saturday, Dec. 2, Còig brings their Celtic Christmas Celebration show to help launch the holiday season. The group’s debut album, Five, released in 2014, earned them a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award, Music Nova Scotia Award and the 2015 East Coast Music Award for Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year. That was followed by 2015’s Carols, already a yearly holiday favorite. Since then the group has racked up awards and honors across Canada including 2020’s Canadian Folk Music Awards Traditional Singer of the Year award.
Còig's music is a unique combination of influences - it's traditional, but it's performed in many non-traditional ways. "We all come from a traditional background, but then we have different influences that we're interested in," explains fiddler and singer Rachel Davis. "Chrissy likes to dive into a lot of world music, Darren comes from a kind of Irish theme from playing around. More of the traditional Cape Breton music is really what I love, plus all the folk songs, so it's an interesting mix.”
Advance tickets for Còig’s Celtic Christmas Celebration are $25 and available directly from the box office at 86 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor or by calling 207-633-5159. Regular tickets are $30 and available online at boothbayoperahouse.com and at the door. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m., Coig bounds onto the stage at 7:30.
The magic of an Irish Solstice celebration arrives on Saturday, Dec. 9, with the fabled Irish super group Lúnasa bringing their holiday music and stories from across the Atlantic. Lúnasa was formed in 1997 from members of some of the greatest Irish groups of the previous decade, an early review from Folk Roots magazine describing the band as an “Irish music dream team”.
From the start, the band’s complex arrangements and unique sound reshaped the boundaries of traditional music and energized audiences the world over. Critical acclaim followed, The Irish Echo describing the band as the “the hottest Irish acoustic band on the planet,” MOJO magazine named the band "the new gods of Irish music,” adding that “nobody since the Bothies has wielded such a thrilling rhythmic underlay.”
Having since sold over a quarter of a million records and performed over 2,000 shows across 36 countries, Lúnasa has won multiple awards and become one of the most influential bands in the history of traditional music. Lúnasa’s current lineup features: Trevor Hutchinson, who achieved fame as the bassist with the The Waterboys: piper Cillian Vallely was a member of Riverdance and recorded with Bruce Springsteen: Flute player Kevin Crawford, considered one of Ireland’s greatest flute players, was a member of Moving Cloud: award-winning ﬁddler Sean Smyth, who performed with Donal Lunny’s legendary Coolﬁn and accordionist Alan Kelly; Colin Farrell is a multiple award winning fiddler, who has toured with Project West, Grada and Michael McGoldrick: Guitarist Ed Boyd made a name for himself in the UK folk scene with bands such as Flook, Kate Rusby, and Cara Dillon.
Advance tickets for Lúnasa’s Irish Solstice show are $30 in advance from the box office, or $35 online at boothbayoperahouse.com. Doors for seating open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30.
The Opera House will be decked out in its holiday best throughout December. Launch a holiday tradition and get tickets to one of these shows or one of the other upcoming concerts this December including Italian guitarist Peppino D’Agostino on Dec.1; Carol Sing with Kevin Kiley & Friends Dec. 20, and Ellis Paul and Friends on Dec. 29.