Altan has been shaping traditional Irish music for over 30 years. They will bring their world-renown sound to Music on the Half Shell on Tuesday.
Before there was a band, there was husband-and-wife duo Frankie Kennedy and Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, who began playing for fun outside of their teaching jobs. The two would later become one of the most influential groups in Irish music. In the mid-80s, the duo added Ciaran Curran on bouzouki and Mark Kelly and Daithi Sproule sharing the role of guitar player, marking the birth of Altan. In 1994, the group secured the fourth best-selling album but also lost Kennedy, who died of cancer. Since then, accordionist Martin Tourish has joined the band.
The quintet has played all over the world, including the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Alte Opera in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. They’ve played and recorded music with the likes of Dolly Parton, The Chieftains, and Alison Krauss. Altan entertained President Bill Clinton at the White House twice and performed again when he later visited Ireland. The band was even put on an official Irish postage stamp in 2006.
“Music on the Half Shell is very, very fortunate and pleased to be hosting Altan this week,” said Music on the Half Shell committee member Kelly Leonard. “We are very fortunate to have this group that is probably one of the most seminal groups in Irish music.”
Altan has more than a dozen albums released. Their newest, “The Gap of Dreams,” was released in March.
Roseburg will be the band’s first Oregon stop this year. They will play in Sisters on Thursday before taking their tour back across the pond to England.
Music on the Half Shell guests can begin claiming spots at Stewart Park at 5 a.m. the day of the concert. The concert kicks off at 7 p.m.
Parking is limited. Spots can be found at the park, in the paved lot connecting the YMCA to the softball fields on Stewart Parkway, and at Legion Field across from the park.
Vendors will be available for food purchases.
Pink Martini will end the Music on the Half Shell series on Aug. 21.