Big-name acts making debut at Irish Fest

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Fighting Jamesons

Three of the more anticipated musical acts at Chicago Gaelic Park’s Irish Fest this year will be making their first stage appearance at the event. One offers a fusion of music from several countries, while another has been compared to such renown Irish bands as the Pogues. The third is a sister act that mixes traditional Irish songs with their own compositions.


RUNA draws on the diverse musical backgrounds of its band members and offers a contemporary and refreshing approach to traditional and more recently composed Celtic material. Through their repertoire of both highly energetic and graceful acoustic melodies, along with their fusion of music from Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the United States, this vocal and instrumental ensemble gives its arrangements a fresh new sound that no one else can offer.

Members of RUNA have played with Solas, Riverdance, Slide, Clannad, Fiddlers’ Bid, Moya Brennan, Eileen Ivers, Hazel O’Conner, Full Frontal Folk, Keith & Kristyn Getty, Barcó, Téada, and the Guy Mendilow Band.

The band won several awards at the 2010 Montgomery Bucks Music Awards, including Best Entertaining Band, Best Folk Artist, Best Female Vocalist, and Best Album – “Jealousy.” They were recently recognized internationally at the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Song in the World Traditional category for “Amhrán Mhuighinse” (Somewhere Along the Road) and in the Irish Music Awards with a nomination for Best Female Vocalist for 2012. RUNA recently released their third album, “Somewhere Along the Road,” that showcases RUNA’s endearing style and the well-tuned talent audiences will love at Irish Fest.

The Fighting Jamesons

Since releasing their self-titled debut album, The Fighting Jamesons have stormed onto the live scene as one of Celtic Rock’s most sought-after groups.The Fighting Jamesons deliver a traditional style of Celtic music with an aggressive and energetic fresh approach.

Formed in 2009 in the tradition of legendary Celtic acts such as Flogging Molly and the Pogues, The Fighting Jamesons have quickly developed a strong national presence thanks to their high-energy, interactive shows and updated versions of classic Irish and American folk songs — as well as a growing catalog of original tunes.

Although new to Irish Fest, they’ve shared the stage with legendary Irish rock acts such as the Dropkick Murphys, the Saw Doctors and the Young Dubliners, and earned headlining slots in venues and festivals nationwide. They don’t really fight, but The Fighting Jamesons put on a knockout show.

The Gothard Sisters

Also new to Irish Fest is a dynamic, all-female Irish music and dance group from the Pacific Northwest, the Gothard Sisters. The three ladies, who are truly sisters, perform new Celtic arrangements of well-known traditional tunes and popular songs, as well as their own original compositions from their six studio albums.

They not only impress as lovely and talented musicians, the sisters are champion Irish dancers who have competed overseas multiple times at the World Championships. Their performances weave the visual elements and the exciting rhythms of Irish step dancing into tightly choreographed, high-energy variety shows.

Their album, “Story Girl,” was awarded Album of the Year by Celtic Radio. The sisters are seasoned performers and have performed concert series of all sizes. With original tunes and unmistakable sibling harmony, Celtic roots, and the nerve to take risks with style, a Gothard Sisters show is joyful and exuberant package of surprises that leaves audiences refreshed and inspired.

Provided by Gaelic Park