(Princeton, NJ) Len Graham and Brian Ó hAirt, two award-winning proponents of Irish traditional arts, will give a performance of “In Two Minds: Songs, Music and Dance from the Irish Tradition,” on Friday, April 12, at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The performance is part of a series presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies. The event is free and open to the public.
Len Graham is a world-renowned Irish singer and author who was crowned as the prestigious All-Ireland Singing Champion in 1971. Since the start of his professional singing career in 1982, he has collaborated with several legendary musicians, poets and storytellers, including the late John Campbell, who shared similar passions for preserving Irish traditional arts. During the years of conflict in Northern Ireland, Graham worked with Campbell on two albums which helped to raise awareness of shared cultural traditions across Ireland. In 2010 Graham released his most recent solo album, Over the Hills and Far Away.
Graham has shared his wealth of talent and knowledge about Irish song, story and dance at several international literary and folk festivals, as well as on television and radio. Throughout his career, Graham has been recognized for his work with numerous awards including the 1992 Seán O’Boyle Cultural Traditions Award, the 2008 “Keeper of the Tradition” award at the Tommy Makem Festival of Traditional Song, and the 2011 CCÉ Bardic Award, among others.
Following in the footsteps of Graham and such greats as Joe Heaney and Frank Harte, Ó hAirt also claims the title of All-Ireland Singing Champion in 2002. That same year, Ó hAirt won the coveted Sgiath Uí Dhálaigh shield at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Listowel, County Kerry. A talented musician and dancer, as well as vocalist, Ó hAirt also performs with the Chicago-based band Bua, which released its third album, Down the Green Fields, in 2011.
In the past Ó hAirt has shared the traditions of Ireland with performances at the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the Chicago Celtic Festival, the Ennis Trad Festival and Sean-nós Milwaukee, a festival he established in 2003. In addition, his vocal recordings have been featured on numerous radio programs in both Ireland and the U.S.
Graham and Ó hAirt will combine their talents in song and dance to exhibit numerous aspects of Irish culture during their performance, which will include dance music on concertina and whistle, puirt-á-beul (mouth-music) and sean-nós dancing. Their songs of Ireland handed down over generations cover a breadth of styles and subjects: ballads, lyric folksongs and music hall pieces tell of love, emigration, politics and more. In addition, Graham and Ó hAirt will demonstrate traditional sean-nós singing, a genre for which they have both won Irish Music Awards—Graham in 2008 and Ó hAirt in 2009.
The Fund for Irish Studies, chaired by Princeton professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.” Its mission is to coordinate and expand existing courses taught by present members of the faculty and to offer a series of public lectures, literary readings, conferences, exhibitions, screenings and theatrical performances.
The final event in this year’s series will take place on April 19 when R.F. Foster presents a lecture entitled “Making a Revolutionary Generation in Ireland, 1890-1916.”
To learn more about the over 100 events presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts each year visit princeton.edu/arts.
Link to photo: https://lca.sharefile.com/d/se76b17250294173b
Photo caption 1: Len Graham, an acclaimed proponent of Irish traditional arts, will perform a selection of songs, music and dance along with Brian Ó hAirt as part of a series presented by the Fund for Irish Studies at Princeton
Photo caption 2: Award-winning Irish singer, musician and sean-nós dancer Brian Ó hAirt
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Len Graham