One of the best aspects about the yearly Milwaukee Irish Fest is the chance to be exposed to new music you would not have the opportunity to normally hear. Each year I have attended, I walk away with a new sound ringing in my ears from a new band that just blew me away.
Finding new favorites at Milwaukee Irish Fest
This year was no different, and the new favorites included the Screaming Orphans and especially Vishtèn. While the majority of Irish Fest visitors flocked to the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a band I discovered and enjoyed in 2009, a smaller crowd was treated to Vishtèn from Canada.
Their website best describes their music:
The songs are French, sung by each band member, alone or in four part harmony. The foot percussion drives the rhythm in a fiddle tune at times yet refrains itself in the gentler musical moments. The band members are accomplished multi-instrumentalists and step-dancers incorporating the fiddle, guitar, accordion, penny-whistle, banjo, mandolin, piano, jaw-harp and bodhran into each performance. They are surely making their mark in the world today as their musical maturity comes through to captivate audiences wherever they play.
The band consists of twin sisters Pastelle and Emanuelle LeBlanc from Prince Edward Island, Canada joined by amazing fiddler Pascal Miousse from the Magdelen Islands. For those who missed out on this incredibly moving performance check out the video clips and do not fret as they are scheduled to return to the Milwaukee Irish Fest in March of 2012.
The Screaming Orphans played before the Red Hot Chili Pipers and played a fun and lively set. This band of four sisters from Ireland has a ton of energy and reminds me of a mixture of the Bangles, the Cranberries, Gaelic Storm, and Heart. The highlight of their show was when their bassist puts down the bass and jammed out on the fiddle, but their rock songs were enjoyable as well.
It seems this year that Gaelic Storm and the Red Hot Chili Pipers really stole the audience for the other shows. Vishtèn had a decent crowd, but not the size their amazing music deserved. Gaelic Storm really monopolized the crowds as the Miller Lite stage was a madhouse, but one could sit front row for the enjoyable Outside Track at the Aer Lingus stage.
Reliable sources informed the author that the High Kings and the Clumsy Lovers were also outstanding on Saturday at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. Be sure to come next year as the festival is one of the best in the country and at $15.00 a ticket the best festival bargain around.
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