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Christmas goes Celtic with Cherish the Ladies

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Thursday December 08, 2016

From News Miner

Christmas goes Celtic with Cherish the Ladies
By: Julie Stricker

Christmas and Celtic music go together like hot chocolate and peppermint sticks, which makes the holiday season a favorite for Joanie Madden.

“It’s the only time of the year you see families out together,” said Madden, a Grammy Award-nominated flute and whistle player. “Most people aren’t in the Christmas mood when they get to one of our shows. We get them singing and get them dancing to Irish traditional carols. Songs that we’ve resurrected and found and redid and tunes that we compose ourselves. It goes down a bomb. I love this time of year.”

For more than three decades, Madden has led Cherish the Ladies, a supergroup of female Celtic musicians that has put their personal musical stamp on traditional Irish music. She, with Mary Coogan, formed the ensemble in 1985 in New York as an answer to the male-dominated world of Celtic music. They were an instant hit and their high-energy shows are in constant demand. Cherish the Ladies is bringing their Celtic Christmas performance to Fairbanks on Saturday as part of the Fairbanks Concert Association season.

“On Jan. 5, it will be 32 years,” Madden said by phone from Valdez, where the group performed earlier this week. “I didn’t think it would last 30 minutes. The whole idea that we even got together — all these young girls — never in our wildest dreams did we think this would just snowball like it has.”

Cherish the Ladies, which is named after a traditional Irish jig, has taken traditional Irish music around the globe, wowing audiences everywhere. “The music is so well-loved around the world,” Madden said. “It just touches them, just the beautiful melodies and the gorgeous harmonies.”

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