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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 15, 2008

Hancher presents 'An Irish Homecoming' Nov. 6 and 7 in the Englert Theatre

The University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium will present "An Irish Homecoming," featuring Cherish the Ladies and Maura O'Connell, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Nov. 6 and 7, at the historic Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City. The Friday performance is sold out, but tickets are still available for the Thursday show.

This event was moved to the Englert after Hancher was closed indefinitely as a result of the June flood.

Other performers in "An Irish Homecoming" will include bohola (the duo of five-time All Ireland accordion champion Jimmy Keane and bouzar player/vocalist Pat Broaders), Sligo-born singer-songwriter-comedian Dermot Henry and a championship group of Irish step dancers.

Cherish the Ladies, led by whistle player and flutist Joanie Madden, has grown from a one-time concert concept to an Irish traditional music sensation, literally the most successful and sought-after Irish-American group in Celtic music history. Organized by folklorist/musician Mick Moloney and originally sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music.

Though initially the group won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band, their musical prowess soon won a legion of fans. A Boston Globe review stated, " It is simply impossible to imagine an audience that wouldn't enjoy what they do."

Maura O'Connell's first recorded appearances were with the legendary Celtic band De Dannan, and her many later solo recordings have attracted Grammy nominations. Her musical peers have led a cheering section for this simple yet eloquent singer and her philosophy on music.

She has been summoned to sing with, among others, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Nanci Griffith, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, The Chieftains and Roseanne Cash. She was featured on the top selling "A Women's Heart" recordings and the 2006 Women's Heart Tour with fellow De Dannan alumna Mary Black.

A New York Times review observed, "O'Connell brings a clear-eyed realism to everything she sings."

The Irish Herald hailed the arrival of bohola as Irish music's new "supergroup," and the Irish Voice called their debut album "one of the most impressive debut recordings ever by an Irish traditional music group."

A review in the Chicago Tribune said that bohola "plays 300-year-old jigs and reels as if they were trying to tear the house down. Keane's rippling accordion plays rapid, swirling melodies, while Pat Broaders accents the rhythm with his staccato bouzouki strumming. Broaders also takes the spotlight to sing plaintive ballads."

Broader's instrument, the bouzar, combines elements of the bouzouki and guitar in a unique hybrid.

Dermot Henry was the lead singer of the Virginians in the early 1970s before launching a solo and band-leading career during which he wrote numerous hits on the Irish charts. He is now retired from full-time performing, making each rare appearance a special event.

"An Irish Homecoming" is supported by Cambridge Place Apartments, Kay and Clark Adams in memory of Phyllis H. Miller; Richard G. Burton and Ann M. Burton; Donald W. Heineking; Robert and Trudy Lemburg; Kenneth and Jessica Malloy; James B. and Darlene E. McCord; Rex Montgomery; and Toyota/Scion of Iowa City and ABRA Auto Body and Glass, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $42/37/32; UI student $37.80/15; senior citizen $37.80/33.30/28.80; youth $19.50/17.50/15.50. Tickets may be ordered online at

The Hancher box office, also displaced by the June flood, is open for phone or walk-up business in Suite 107 in the south building of the Lindquist Center, at the corner of Madison and Burlington Streets, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.  Parking is available in the metered lot by the UI Main Library on Madison St., or in the Old Capitol Town Center parking ramp at the corner of Clinton and Burlington Streets.

From the local calling area, dial 319-335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at

Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at the Englert box office.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073 (office), 310-430-1013 (cell),