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McDades Create Celtic Music With Familial Inventiveness

(Posted February 2, 2009)

The McDades offer music based on Celtic roots but tinged with jazz, world music and folk

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Combining the traditional instrumentation of fiddle, flute, tin whistle and bass with creative new arrangements and jazz flavorings, the McDades will create a new recipe for Celtic music in concert at Juniata College at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 12 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

The McDades are two brothers, Jeremiah and Solon, joined by their sister, Shannon Johnson, in a family band the fuses Celtic tradition with jazzy improvisation and global music. The siblings also often tour with two other musicians, drummer Eric Breton and guitarist Simon Marion.

The McDades, who received a 2007 Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Award) for its most recent album, "Bloom," are featured musicians on another recent release, "The Peddler," by Maria Dunn. "Bloom" featured such songs as "The Whistle Blower," "Dance of the Seven Veils," and "The Bounty Hunter."

The group made its recording debut in 2002 with "For Reel," which contained the crowd-pleasers "McKinley Morganfield's," "The Rocky Road to Dublin" and "The Linden Tree."

The McDades are two brothers, Jeremiah and Solon, joined by their sister, Shannon Johnson, in a family band the fuses Celtic tradition with jazzy improvisation and global music.

Jeremiah McDade is a multi-instrumentalist who plays whistles, saxophone, flute and fiddle. He studied jazz performance at McGill University and was described as "the Dizzy Gillespie of the Irish tin whistle" by a critic at the Washington Post.

Solon McDade plays bass and also earned a jazz degree from McGill University. He writes many of the band's arrangements.

Shannon Johnson began performing professionally at age 8 and began studying violin when she was three years old. She also is vocalist for many of the McDades' songs. Johnson also has established a second career as a record producer, overseeing such albums as Dunn's "The Peddler" and many others.
The McDades are currently touring throughout the East Coast and previously have played at concerts and festivals throughout Canada and the United States. The band also recently completed a European tour through Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.