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Trad Beat: Legendary Tulla band returns for short tour

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Earle Hitchner

Only their vaunted Clare rival, the Kilfenora Céilí Band, has been

playing stellar Irish traditional dance music longer than the Tulla

Céilí Band. Founded in 1946 by pianist Theresa Tubridy and fiddler Bert

McNulty, the Tulla have been going strong for more than half a century


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"A Celebration of 50 Years," released in 1996 on Green Linnet

Records, was a fitting tribute to their golden anniversary. It was

capped a year later by their appearance at the Washington Irish Folk

Festival in Wolf Trap, Vienna, Va., and the 90-minute video, "The Irish

Folk Fest From Wolf Trap," produced by WLIW-TV in 1998 of their

appearance and that of other musicians. Guesting with the Tulla at Wolf

Trap were former members Mike Preston on flute and Martin Mulhaire on

button accordion, both of whom played on what many aficionados of Irish

dance music consider the greatest recording of a céilí band ever made,

1957’s "Echoes of Erin" (Dublin), sadly not yet available on CD.

But if you want to hear them in the flesh rather than just on vinyl

or digital disk, the Tulla Céilí Band is coming back to the U.S. for the

second time in two years this month for four concerts along the East

Coast. Featuring famed father-son fiddlers P.J. (a founding member) and

Martin Hayes, the 10-member ensemble, plus former Open House percussive

dancer Sandy Silva, will be performing on Thursday night, June 24, as part

of the popular Midsummer Night Swing series held outdoors at Lincoln

Center’s Josie Robertson Plaza, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, NYC. A

dance lesson with Megan Downes begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by actual

dancing to the Tulla from 8:15-11. For tickets and more

information, call (212) 721-6500 or (212) 875-5766. You can also go to

www.lincolncenter.org on the Internet.

The other three performances by the Tulla Céilí Band will be on June

25 at the Irish American Home Society, Glastonbury, Conn.

([860] 521-2696); June 26 at the Music Hall, Portsmouth, N.H.

([603] 436-2400), and June 27 at The Burren, Somerville, Mass.

([617] 776-6896).

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