AmeriCeltic Newsletter

Published Friday, 2017-06-23


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News, Features, & Events

Cormac Gannon has self-released his album, Different, and it is available for download or on CD. (See Below)
Julie Horner needs financial help, and a crowd funding campaign has already raised over $7000 to aid her. (See Below)
Many thanks to our friends, supporters and well-wishers for get well wishes for Tony, our co-founder and editor of the AmeriCeltic newsletter and website, who has been recovering from pneumonia, and complications. Tony narrowly avoided mandatory hospitalization, having run a fever of over 101 since at least Saturday, June 10 and was very weak. After several days of antibiotics, the fever has finally left, but at one point, I feared I might be losing my best friend and husband of 45 years. I'm happy to say he is on the mend, though it will be another several weeks before he's back to mostly normal.--Cecilia

• We review the wonderful UICC facility, soon to be updated, in San Francisco. (See Below)

• HOT band Charmas is at the Silver Mountain Winery in Los Gatos, Saturday June 24, 12:00 - 3:00 pm & on Sunday June 25 12:00 - 3:00 pm. Later on Sunday June 25 5:00 - 6:00 PM, at MacKenzie Bar and Grill in Santa Cruz, Elise will be bagpiping. On Saturday, July 8th, they are at the UICC in San Francisco from 6:30 PM to 10:00PM. (See Below)
• On Saturday, June 24th, 7:00 PM, singer Erin Ruth Thompson entertains at Sláinte Pub, Jack London Square, Oakland along with David Chadwick. (See Below).
• Friday, June 30th, at 6:30 PM, Crooked Road and Erin Ruth Thompson perform at The UICC in San Francisco. (See Below)
• Grass Valley based band Three Times Through appears July 2nd at Matteo's Public in Nevada City, July 8th, at California Organics in Nevada City, July 13th at Auburn Alehouse in Auburn. (See Below)
• On July 8th, former Celtic Women star, Chloë Agnew, gives a concert at UICC, in San Francisco. (See Below)
• On July 8th, the First Annual Modesto Celtic and Renaissance Festival takes place at Graceada Park, in Modesto. (See Below)

Worth a repeat:
Shannon Warto's first children's book, Hurley the Hippo, is available for purchase. (See Below)
Check out AmeriCeltic's new YouTube Channel, and the dozens of videos from our favorite regional Celtic artists. Click Here and Subscribe!

Scan our feature articles below, or as always, you can click here to check the next month of listings on our website.

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Album Review: Different

Cormac Gannon | self-release | 2017

Irish folk singer Cormac Gannon was born in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, and moved to San Francisco in 1991. It was here with like-minded musicians that Gannon formed Orla and The Gas Men, and began playing traditional Irish folk ballads, with himself singing and playing bodhrán, guitar, and eventually uilleann pipes.

Cormac's vocals and lyrics bring to mind the '1960's Anglo-Irish invasion', and such songs as the Beatles Michelle, albiet an Irish flavored Merseyside.

Says Cormac,

"After a few years of recording a number of songs in the back room of my house using a computer, I have finally managed to put them on a CD. I have recorded a couple of songs written by my friends Vince Keehan and John Hoban, a song by Pádraig Stevens, one by singer/songwriter John Spillane, a few traditional Irish songs, a couple of songs from England, a couple of songs from the United States, and one I wrote myself."


Cormac Writes Jamie Robash @Vanpelt78:

Gannon put together Different, an album of traditional Irish folk songs along with an original and a tune by Townes Van Zant and Steve Earle. Opening with I'm Going To Set You Free Gannon begins to lay down the traditional tones and sounds for which Irish music is known. He takes some twists and turns though like the mellow and sparse Up Mayo and then the beautiful and episodic I Got to Dance with the Rose of Tralee and then the Neil Young-esque Ride On."

The album Different is available on CD Baby for CD purchase or download:
On Bandcamp Different is available to download:

For more information, email Cormac Gannon at


Review of the United Irish Cultural Center

A Place for all things Irish

2700 45th Avenue (at Sloat Boulevard) San Francisco CA 94116

The United Irish Cultural Center of San Francisco, Inc. (UICC) is a California nonprofit corporation built and organized to provide its members and their guests with beautiful dining and banquet facilities for social, recreational, athletic and cultural activities. Just three short blocks from Ocean Beach, and just accross Sloat from the San Francisco Zoo, the UICC has provided these services to the Irish, Irish-American and related communities in San Francisco since 1973. Last year, UICC reorganized and is now a IRS 501c3 tax-exempt organization, so all dues and donations are tax-deductable, and we hear they are planning some Capital improvements soon.

Facilities include full service restaurant, bar and lounge, catering kitchens, a comprehensive library, and several meeting rooms. There is a small stage area and dance floor in the bar area, and a large stage in the HUGH St. Patrick Ballroom and St. Francis Rooms where the UICC hosts many functions.

Nearby attractions include the San Francisco Zoo, Harding Park Public Golf Course, Lake Merced Recreational Facility, Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park. There is a small parking lot behind the center and abundant on-street parking--a rarity in San Francisco. It's also a lot easier, and less stressful, to drive to the UICC than to many other destinations in San Francisco.

Our personal experience with the UICC restaurant is that the mix of traditional and California styles is quite good, and we recommend the Prime Rib dinner and Shrimp Louie salad in particular. The prices are reasonable and the service is excellent. The staff has been are very kind to us older persons who have smaller appetites and slowing metabolisms and they have allow us to share larger meals. On the first Saturday of every month is the Saturday evening Session of local and regional amateur to professional Irish music musicians in the bar area from 7:00 to 10:30 PM. It makes for a very nice and lively evening when combined with dinner in the adjacent restaurant.

The UICC currently has over 800 members, but welcomes more, from among Irish immigrants and Americans of Irish descent, or mixed descent with some Irish who are interested in enjoying the facilities and the many programs and activities the UICC offers. In recent years, the UICC has employed Donagh McKeown as Membership and Events Director and he has introduced a number of new social activities, and regular arts and cultural performances, and live music every Friday and Saturday evening.

The UICC also supports the Irish Literary and Historical Society (ILHS), and Irish dancing, regularly host Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) functions and they have the Leo T. Walsh scholarships, and the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center of San Francisco to provide various forms of assistance as needed to Irish students and recent immigrants. The Pastoral Center was instrumental in organizing the support for the students and their families who were affected by the 2015 balcony collapse in Berkeley, which killed several students and seriously injured others.

For more information, check the website or call 415-661-2700.


Charmas New Album Songs of the Sea!

Charmas Concerts in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, & San Francisco

Charmas 19-track album, Songs of the Sea!, is now available on CD Baby and they have and more concerts coming up in the next weeks.

This unique sea music collection includes traditional Celtic and Afro-Carribean sea chanteys, Scottish boat songs, sea-themed sailors' ballads, Irish pub songs, Canadian folk rock, instrumental water music, and one original sailor song.

To preview a full length sample song Isle Au Haut, Click Here!

Charmas Upcoming Performances

• Saturday June 24, 12:00 - 3:00 pm & Sunday June 25 12:00 - 3:00 pm at the Silver Mountain Winery, 269 Silver Mountain Dr, in Los Gatos.
• Sunday June 25 from 5:00 - 6:00 PM, at MacKenzie Bar and Grill, 18 Clubhouse Drive, Santa Cruz, Elise MacGregor Ferrell will play beautiful Slow Airs, nostalgic Songs of Glory, whimsical Hornpipes, and historical Marches on her bagpipes along the rolling green fairways.
• Saturday July 08 6:30 - 9:00 pm @ United Irish Cultural Center of San Francisco, 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco.

Listen to more samples or download your copy of the CD today by visiting Songs of the Sea!

Full Details at, or email Elise MacGregor Ferrell at


Julie Horner needs help

Crooked Road Ceili Band and Session Leader

Boulder Creek home at risk

Many of you know local Irish musician Julie Horner. Julie Horner lost her tech writing job in late January, and now can no longer afford to pay the mortgage on her home in Boulder Creek, California. She has been very diligent in looking for work, but as of late, she has been unable to find a suitable replacement. Julie has always been the one who gives to those in need, and who are less fortunate, and now that she is the one in need, let's all step up to the plate, and lend Julie a helping hand.

Julie's friend, William Welsh, of Scotts Valley has set up a Crowd-Funding campaign to make this easy. Just click here and make a contribution in Julie's support.


Erin Ruth Thompson @ Sláinte

with David Chadwick | Saturday, June 24th, 7:30 PM

Sláinte Pub, Jack London Square, 131 Broadway, Oakland

Sláinte (slahn-cha) is an authentic Irish pub offering a menu of traditional Irish cooking and classic cocktails in the heart of Jack London Square.

The menu features Irish cuisine from Irish-born Executive Chef, Jackie Gallanagh, with dishes that include both imported & local ingredients. Owner and Beverage Director, Jenny Schwarz, of Oakland's popular restaurant, Hopscotch, offers a bar menu with classic cocktails, a well-stocked selection of whisky, premium spirits, and local & imported beers.

Sláinte is open Tuesday - Sunday : 12pm-midnight Closed Monday. Contact them at (510) 823-2644 @slainteoakland or check the website Sláinte also features some of the finest local and regional singers and musicians, in live, acoustic performance.


Rising star vocalist Erin Ruth Thompson came to the Bay Area in late 2012 from Tucson via Hawai'i and makes her home in Albany. With encouragement from Jack Gilder at the Plough & Stars Irish Pub in San Francisco, and Shay Black at the Starry Plough Irish Pub in Berkeley, Erin quickly fell in love with Celtic music, and has followed her heart, building an impressive repertoire traveling this path ever since. Erin is also an accomplished songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist.

Noted Santa Cruz guitarist and mandolinist David Chadwick will accompany Erin.

Click on these links to see video samples:

Erin Thompson singing, Hard Times at the KKUP studios in March 2017 accompanied by The Black Brothers Band.
Erin Thompson singing her original composition, Miles Away at the KKUP studios in March 2017 accompanied by David Chadwick.
Erin Thompson singing A Lady Fair at the 'Spirit of Ireland' Award Luncheon in March 2017 accompanied by David Chadwick.
Erin Thompson singing The Rocks of Bawn 'Sean Nos' style in February 2017.
Erin Thompson singing The Foggy Dew accompanied by Tony Becker at the Mick McDonnell Memorial in November 2016.

More information on Erin's website at and sample tracks at her Soundcloud site


Friday, June 30, 6:30 PM @ UICC

The Crooked Road

United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco

Join the Crooked Road for a wonderful evening of lively traditional Irish melodies and songs! The Crooked Road is Jack Gilder, Concertina & Flute, Doug Lowder, Fiddle, David Chadwick, Guitar & Mandolin, Julie Horner, Hammered Dulcimer and vocals and features vocalist, Erin Ruth Thompson.

The Crooked Road is a San Francisco Bay Area traditional Irish group that has played for Irish set dances at the Plough and Stars Pub regularly for several years. Their repertoire is made up mostly of lively dance tunes with a few waltzes and occasional slow airs. The members of the band are all stalwarts of the traditional music scene in San Francisco and bring their long experience with the music to their audiences when they play concerts with their vocalist.

Crooked Road vocalist, Erin Ruth Thompson, came to the Bay Area in late 2012 from Tucson via Hawai'i. With encouragement from Jack, Erin quickly fell in love with Celtic music, and has followed her heart, building an impressive repertoire traveling this path ever since. Erin is also an accomplished songwriter, keyboardist, and guitarist.

Here is a sample, as Erin Thompson sings A Lady Fair at the 'Spirit of Ireland' Award Luncheon in March 2017 accompanied by David Chadwick.

Check the Facebook event, or the The Crooked Road facebook page for more info. For more on Erin Thompson, check her website and sample tracks at Erin's Soundcloud site

The UICC serves delicious food! Be sure to reserve a table in advance! Call: (415) 661-2700


New Book by Shannon Warto

Hurley the Hippo - On Sale NOW!

Illustrated by Kelly Haller

Last week, Monterey and SF Bay area Celtic singer Shannon Warto, published her first children's book, Hurley the Hippo.

It's a charming tale of a young hippo with a passion for the harp, and the lengths to which he’ll go to learn to play it, despite being discouraged by friends and family. It’s a wonderful little story about inspiration, resilience, and to 'never judge a book by its cover'.

Here is an excerpt:

"Hurley removed the harp's cover with care,
and strummed a few strings,
a pluck here, a pluck there.
For tuning the harp is not easy, you see,
it takes patience, a good ear,
and tuning key."

To buy Hurley the Hippo, Click Here!


Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant

198 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

The Chieftain Irish Pub & Restaurant, is a bustling SoMa spot with Irish pub grub & beers on tap plus sports on the satellite TV.

This local Irish Pub brings the culture of Ireland to San Francisco, offering a full bar, Happy Hour specials, and a full Irish restaurant menu, including favorites like fish and chips which goes with any style of sport, music or fun.

"I am in the city every 2-3 months and The Chieftain is an absolutely integral part of every trip. Mark runs an amazing, authentic Irish pub. Major plus, the only place I know of in northern California to get Kilkenny!!"

"Walked in, Saturday night about 7pm and there was a table right inside the door. We had a shepherds pie and an Irish stew. The shepherds pie was actually made with lamb! The live music was great entertainment too!"

For a video of some Chieftain's food menu, Click Here.

The Chieftain regularly hosts live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and AmeriCeltic readers will be particularly interested in the live Irish traditional music and song session every Sunday evening. Here is a sample from 2009: Live Irish Music at the Chieftain.

For the latest happenings, check the Chieftain facebook Page, or call 415-625-0436, or email Mark Nagle at or check


Folk Music Camps!

Boulder Creek Scout Reservation

2:00 PM Friday night, June 30 - Monday, July 3, 2017
2:00 PM Friday night, September 1 - Monday, September 4, 2017

The San Francisco Folk Music Club invites you to join us at one of our two annual three-night campouts at the Boulder Creek Scout Reservation, June 30 to July 3 or September 1 to September 4. Escape the crowds and make music with us in the redwoods! Pack up your tents and acoustic instruments and come campout, or just drop in for the day, – we hope to see you at Boulder Creek!

For a video from last years July 4th campout, Worried Man Blues, Click Here.

• Register at camp only. No advance registration.
• Overnight Adults: $20
• Kids under 16: $8
• Babes in arms: free
• Day use: $14

For a video tour of one campsite by Nancy Gold and Jim Ansbro, Click Here.

We'll have musical jams, workshops, open mics, a potluck dinner, and two afternoons of swimming. Our workshops have covered Irish music, sea songs, two and three-chord songs, songs of the Beatles, Hank Williams, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton and more. You don't need to be a member of the San Francisco Folk Music Club to attend - we welcome you and any and all of your friends interested in folk music to come along and join in.

For full details on our Folk Music Camps, just point your browser to the San Francisco Folk Music Club Web site, and click on the 'July 4 & Labor Day camps' link at the top of the page.

Questions? Email Phyllis Jardine, or call Phyllis at 925-846-4549.


Three Times Through

Eclectic Celtic Music

Based in Grass Valley

Three Times Through, based in Grass Valley, California, plays music of Ireland, Scotland and America on instruments including hammered dulcimer, fiddle, mandolin, concertina, bouzouki, banjo, and guitar. The emphasis is on eclectic Celtic music; spirited instrumentals, engaging vocals and haunting melodies.

These four musicians started performing together during the Carter administration. Half of the quartet, Jeff and Gale Peach, moved to Nevada City in 1985. The other half, Greg and Margie Mirken, remained in Southern California, owned and ran a guitar store and continued performing. In 2008, the Mirkens moved to Nevada City, and the four are having the time of their lives playing music together again.

Here is a sample video: The Blarney Pilgrim - Three Times Through

Three Times Through Appearances

• July 2nd at 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Matteo's Public, 300 Commercial St, Nevada City. Check
• July 8th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, California Organics, 135 Argall Way, Nevada City. Check
• July 13th at 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Auburn Alehouse, 289 Washington St, Auburn. Check

For more on the band, check their website,, Three Times Through Facebook page, Three Times Through YouTube Channel or email Jeff Peach at


Chloë Agnew at the UICC Saturday, July 8th, 8:00pm

Pre show from Ryan Doyle at 7:15pm

The United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco

United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco, presents Chloë Agnew. It will be a great night, with songs from Chloë's wide repertoire and include songs from Celtic Woman, of which she's been a part for many years. Vince Keehan & Friends will join in support.

You can purchase tickets online at a "secret sale price" by visiting the ticket website here

Tickets are available from the center and online from

To hear Chloë, have a look at her recent videos:
Chloë Agnew - To Where You Are
Chloë Agnew - Walking in the Air

Chloë Agnew has gained international fame for her integral part as one of the original, and youngest members of the internationally acclaimed music group 'Celtic Woman' since she was 14 years old. Chloë spent ten years performing worldwide with them, and is now based in Los Angeles touring her solo show internationally.


Modesto Celtic and Renaissance Festival


July 8th, 2017 10am-5pm at Graceada Park, 401 Needham St, Modesto, CA

The First Annual Modesto Celtic Renaissance Festival will have Fire Eaters, Sword Fighting Knights, The King's Feast, The Artisan Market, Jesters, Jugglers, Games, Music, Dancers, Falcons and more going on!

Come join us for a fun filled day of Food, Crafters, Farmers Market, Artists, and well the list is too long to list here!

Please feel free to costume it up and have a great day with us!


Lark In The Morning's 37th Lark Camp

Music, Song & Dance Celebration July 28 - August 5, 2017

Worldwide Workshops, Including Extensive Celtic Music and Song!

Unique in California, Lark Camp provides an open forum for the exchange of creative ideas between musicians, singers, dancers and composers. The Lark Camp experience is enhanced by motivational instructors and inspired students, who also share their passions and skills with the rest of the participants, while have one @&%!** of a good time!

For Lisa Lynne's Lark Camp Video, Click Here!

Lark Camp Adult & Family Camp features Music and Dance from the World Over
Music, Song & Dance Workshops • Cabins • Dances • Parties • Sessions • Great Food • Dance Hall • Dining Hall • Camping • Fire Circles • Mendocino Woodlands Redwoods • Full Camp 8 Days or Half Camp 4 Days

Lark Camp 2017 Registration Is Open Register Now to save your place.

Imagine idyllic days & nights in the magical redwood forest filled with all the music, dance, and good times you could possibly stand, and that's kind of close to what Lark's Music Celebration is like. You are free to take as many or as few of the workshops offered as you like; jam sessions 24 hours a day, big dances every evening. Plenty of good food, new friends, and musical stimulation. Truly a unique total immersion into the joys of nature, music and dance. Many workshops for the professional as well as the beginner!

To review the Lark Camp Music & Dance Staff 2017, Click Here. For pictures and videos of past Lark Camps Click Here, or check the history, layout, what happens at camp, and much more, at the Lark Camp website,


152nd Scottish Highland Gathering and Games

Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton

Labor Day Weekend, September 2nd & 3rd, 2017, 9AM to 6:30PM

What if you gave a party and EVERYBODY came?

Come join us for some Celtic Craic! Saturday September 2nd and Sunday September 3rd at the enormous Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, the Caledonian Club of San Francisco presents The 152nd Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games, two glorious days of fun and entertainment for the whole family from 9am to 6:30pm.

Advance tickets are still available, adults $20, youth/seniors $11, and military and ages 11 & under free or call 1-800-713-3160
Click here to watch the official preview video.

Entertainment and Activities!

Browne Sisters with George Cavanaugh
Ed Miller
Golden Bough
Michael Mullen ~ Trio of One
Neil O'Neill
Peter Daldry
The Fire
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society
Erin Ruth Thompson
Alasdair Fraser & the SF Scottish Fiddlers
Harpers Hall
• Kirsty Fitch

The Festival includes more than 30 pipe bands from the US and Canada, plus the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, to the 42nd U. S. Invitational Heavy Event Championship with professional and amateur athletes, and the Western U. S. Open Highland Dancing Championships.  There are 6 stages of Traditional and Celtic Rock music, 2 stages of Scottish dancers, fiddlers, harpers, dancers and singing, and an Irish Pavillion (Bldg. Q) with Irish dancers. For shopping, check out the 5 large exhibition buildings with more than 100 vendors including, British food and drink and the popular Whisky Tasting Pavilion.

Add to that the Living History area with Mary Queen of Scots and her entourage, highland warriors, an invading Roman Legion and fierce Vikings, the Gathering of the Clans providing historic information from nearly 100 clans and societies, Sheep Dog Trials, Children's Glen, Birds of Prey, Semi-Pro Five-A-Side Soccer Tournament, Kilted Mile, Rugby and Shinty Tournaments, Highland Cattle, Clydesdale Team, Archery participation and an array of British motor cars and you have a full Labor Day weekends worth of entertainment.

Graham McTavish, star of Outlander and The Hobbit, will be joining the Party!


For more, check, or call: 1-888-769-2345.

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AmeriCeltic is an all volunteer, non-profit organization. Our Mission is to restore awareness, celebrate and preserve the culture and history of Americans of Celtic descent in Northern CA by promoting Celtic events & history. Our volunteers cover all the Celtic related events in Northern California, with an accurate and up-to-date description of each. To help fund our efforts, click the 'Donate' button above or on our AmeriCeltic Website