The Green Fields of America

Irish Arts Center; Fri 5--Sun 7, Dec 12--14

Photo: Jeff Genter

Mick Moloney, one of the most important Irish musicians to emerge from the folk revival of the 1970s and an NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipient, organized Celtic supergroup the Green Fields of America in 1978, when the Smithsonian Institution asked him to bring together the best performers and dancers from the U.S. and Ireland. Moloney, a singer, instrumentalist and folklorist who currently teaches at New York University, has a keen eye for talent: The group has included whistle virtuoso Joanie Madden of Cherish the Ladies, Chicago fiddle champion Liz Carroll and dancer Michael Flatley, prior to his star-making turn in Riverdance.

As in many a major rock band, the lineup in Green Fields has shifted over the years. Currently serving are Riverdance fiddler Athena Tergis, who plays a unique five-stringed instrument; singing guitarist Robbie O’Connell, a member of the extended Clancy Brothers family; and John Doyle, a singer-songwriter and guitarist fresh off a stint touring with Joan Baez. All-Ireland accordion champion Billy McComiskey, who plays on the group’s new self-titled disc, will also appear Friday 5--Sunday 7.

That CD—the band’s first-ever studio session, and only the second album of its three-decade career—is due early next year. But there’s already plenty to celebrate during this festive holiday run, dubbed “A Celtic Christmas.” Guests will include vocalist Dan Milner, dancer Niall O’Leary, and the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra; check to find out who plays when.