Greetings one and all and a special hello to all the new people who have signed up to this list from our tours in Europe and the UK in September and October.
As the year is coming to a close, it's a lovely time to look back on the year, and look forward to a little bit of hibernating time to recharge the batteries.
Thank you to everyone who supported us through 2015 - everyone who booked us, came to our concerts and bought our CDs, to all the singers who came to my workshops and all the artists who came to the studio to record with Tom. And especially to all the friends and family for being there for us.
We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year and look forward to seeing you all again somewhere along the road in the next 12 months.
This year has been terrific for us with concerts in 7 different countries - on our European trip we travelled more than 6000 kms in just over 3 1/2 weeks and took ages to recover! We played house concerts in Denmark, France and Luxembourg and had dates in churches, theatres, book shops, and cafes - and then a few weeks back had a 2 weeks of really nice folk clubs in England and Scotland - our second trip over there this year, catching up with old friends and meeting lots of new ones. Here's a link to a smashing review from blogger John Hurd after a mad gig in Bonn where we played in an aircraft hangar!!
We've also started to get some lovely press reviews about our new album Back There. Click here for the Irish Music Review and another from Living Tradition. We're already collecting material for our next recording which we'll be working on early next year.
For my Rostrevor singing groups this has been a mixed year - we were very sad to say goodbye to Larry and Bronagh but have all been overjoyed at how close we have become as a group. Then in June I was thrilled to be invited by Mourne Heritage Trust to start a group in Bryansford in the middle of the stunning Mountains of Mourne. It has been a wonderful chance for me to get to know this part of the locality and to get to know another group of very enthusiastic and wonderful singers. Both groups combined to take part in the Christmas pageant here in Rostrevor a few Saturdays back - it's a lovely event - here we are at the Christmas tree after Santa had turned on the lights.
The Emigrant Woman's Tale
The Emigrant Woman's Tale was launched bt poetess Csilla Toldy and myself in March to a home audience at the Book Corner in Rostrevor and we went on to bring our story of emigration and hope to several more audiences over the year.
Csilla's story of escaping from Communist Hungary as a teenager sturck many chords with listeners especiall in view of the mass migration of people that we've seen from the East this year that is still ongoing . We both look forward to taking this show out from time to time in the coming year.
Tour planning - Australia, Germany and Ireland
My final news is that Tom and I are preparing for our first trip to Australia!! Woohoo. I cannot wait. Apart from doing some great workshops and concerts it will be a chance to see this amazing country and to catch up with family and friends. We'll be taking part in the Tullamore Irish Festival with Damien Leith and Saoirse and several other bands over Easter Weekend in New South Wales and have lots more dates mostly in and around Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Our dream is to see Ayers Rock - or Uluru to give it its proper name - so the holiday part of the trip will have to be planned now..
We will also have a return trip to Germany during the second half of May and closer to home we will be playing in Rostrevor on 13th February and dates in Belleek and Belfast will be confirmed in the New Year.
I hope this finds you well. If you have time, drop me a line - you know I love to hear your news. And if you are interested in perhaps running a concert for us, or having a house concert, or if you know of a venue near you that you think would suit us, then please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, whether it's sunny or snowing and I look forward to our paths crossing at some point in the coming year.
Fil & Tom xx
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