Martin Hayes, John Doyle & Kevin Crawford–The Teetotallers– appear in Harrisburg April 26, 2013

The Teetotalers by Jordan KoepkeOn Friday, April 26th at 7:30 PM the Susquehanna Folk Music Society is THILLED to be presenting three of the very best Irish musicians alive, six times All Ireland Fiddle Champion Martin Hayes, John Doyle who the Irish Echo called the best guitarist in traditional Irish music today and Kevin Crawford from the group Lúnasa who is known for his excellent Irish flute playing and wit.

This trio—who call themselves the Teetotallers will appear at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 Front Street, Harrisburg. Opening for The Teetotallers will be local favorites Irish Blessing. Tickets and information can be found at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/352854

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Read the interview below with the Teetotalers guitarist JOHN DOYLE to find out more about the concert.

1. How long have the Teetotallers been together?

We’ve been doing it for the last couple of years. Very seldom we’ll do a tour because we’re busy with other things. Kevin Crawford is with Lúnasa and Martin is Martin, you know with all sorts of projects going on—and myself too. We try to get our calendars together to do at least one tour together a year. This is our second tour in the states.

2. Where do each of you live?

I live in Asheville, North Carolina and I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in County Sligo. Ireland the last year and a half—been back and forth. Kevin lives in County Clair and Martin lives in Clair also, although he’s back and forth a lot too.

3. How did the band first get together? How did you pick your name?

We were all doing this festival called the Sebastopel Celtic Festival in California back in 2010 and this man named Cloud Moss who organizes the festival does this thing during one show where he throws a bunch of people together to play. So this is one of the configurations that he picked. He actually even named us the Teetotallers because none of us drink. So we thought it was pretty apt and we figured that no one else would take the name. So it was great to not have to ponder or worry about the name.

4. Style of music?

Its old reels—flute, fiddle and guitar. It’s going back to the roots of the music and playing simply but at the same time deeply. We play mainly music from County Clare. I sing too so there will be a combination of songs and tunes.

5. Which Counties are you all from in Ireland?

They are both from Clare and I’m from Dublin originally.

6. What strengths does each person bring to the group?

Martin and Kevin are really in-depth. They have been studying the tradition and played it all their lives. Myself too. We all started from a very early age. We all started in the tradition itself—we grew up in a family of musicians—all of us. That’s one of the things about Irish music or folk music; it’s very familiar—familiar based. It’s serving the tradition—serving the culture to a degree even though you’re not consciously thinking about that. There’s an overriding feeling about that somehow—subconsciously maybe. From that—Martin has keep the tradition from his family—this depth of fiddle playing that he has. And it’s more of a feeling—the feeling of a country, and Kevin really does the same thing. And I’m different in a way. I bring a different quality to the band—a different feeling and a different energy. And as far as songs are concerned I really try to go back and get some old—some really traditional ballads. I also write some songs, but the songs I write sound very much like the traditional ones, and they give the feeling of the country too.

7. So how long have you known each other?

We’ve known each other a long time. Off and on we’ve met each other at festivals and airports a lot. But the last couple of years were the first time that we have played together.

8. Do you have a CD together yet?

No, we’ll figure that out when it comes.

9. And have you had pretty good reception at your concerts?

People understand where we are coming from. The music—it’s not about trying to impress anyone, it’s about playing the music how we feel it. We’ve been playing it long enough to know that just playing it from the heart and playing as well as you can. It’s about jelling together when we play, it’s about the community. When people get together to play its like there is a jelling of spirit, of tone, and of experience. If you really pay attention to each other’s playing, there is something special that happens in the music. Any form of music—any tradition. That’s what I feel when I play with the Teetotallers. I feel the energy that is there. I love it.

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