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Wednesday July 24, 2013

From Good Times Weekly

Music Worth Cherishing: Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies reflects back on the Celtic quintet’s 29-year career
By:Brian Palmer

Joanie Madden-the flute and whistle player of arguably the world’s foremost Irish-American Celtic group, Cherish the Ladies-knows the band has been neglecting California.

‘We haven’t been down to Santa Cruz in years,’ Madden laments. ‘I can’t even remember the last time we were there. We’ve had a lot of people complaining to us, ‘When the hell are you coming back?’‘

But considering the band’s humble beginnings, Madden counts it a triumph that she and the rest of the quintet-Mary Coogan (guitar, banjo, mandolin), Mirella Murray (piano accordion), Grainne Murphy (fiddle) and Kathleen Boyle (piano)-have been successful enough to travel to places like Santa Cruz at all, even if only occasionally.

‘Cherish the Ladies started completely as a fluke, an idea by Dr. Mick Moloney, who wanted to put a concert series featuring women together, never thinking in a million years that it would still be going,’ Madden says. ‘We started out as a three-concert thing in 1985, and that turned into a two-week tour paid for by the National Endowment for the Arts. Now we’re sitting on 29 years ‘¦ and we’ve got almost 300 nights of symphony performances under our belts and have played with a bunch of cool musicians, so it’s a pretty amazing feat for anybody.’

Over the course of almost three decades, the band has released 15 albums; recorded with the likes of Arlo Guthrie, Vince Gill and Pete Seeger; performed with The Boston Pops, James Taylor and Joan Baez; and received worldwide critical acclaim. Madden herself has recorded five additional solo records and appeared as a guest musician on nearly 200 more albums.

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