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Celtic News
Celtic News

Happy New Year


I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your family and friends, a truly magnificent start to 2018 and that you’re ready to re-enter the fray. Personally, there is so much going on in the northern New England that I’m wishing I could clone myself so that I could attend even more events.

2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards

Nominations for the 2018 Awards have now closed. There are a record number of nominees this year. The Judging Panel will really have their work cut out for them. This month, I will start to profile some of the Nominees. The full list will be available at early February.

2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards Nominee Profiles


Norma O’Hara Murphy

Norma O’Hara Murphy
Norma O’Hara Murphy is a veteran in the music Industry and a trailblazer in her own right. A dedicated Songwriter, she has been recognized as one of our very best during the last thirty years. Norma continues to win Songwriting and Legend awards. Over the years Norma has won five Gold Guitars and many Songwriting awards including the prestigious Song Maker Award in Tamworth . And to top all this Norma was awarded Australian Celtic Artist of the year at the Australian Celtic Music Awards in 2014.
Norma’s songs have spanned the generations and many young fans are still enjoying the songs and stories that their parents and indeed Grandparents enjoyed. After several International tours including Ireland/UK/Germany/China and Japan Norma gave up touring for ten years, but on returning in 2010 came back with a fresh creative energy, with several new albums as testimony to Norma’s unique talent and Songwriting skills.
Norma does not really tour anymore but now hosts her own music Festival at Bony Mountain near Warwick in Qld, which has become a very successful event. Held in September every year it has featured Murphy’s Pigs, Cape Byron Celtic Dancers and many top artists and Songwriters, and is a very well attended top class event.
Norma has fourteen wonderful albums and her musical legacy continues with some wonderful releases during the last few years with the latest masterpiece being Volume Three of the Celtic Connection. Being a third generation Irish/Australian Norma is very proud of her ancestry and is writing and producing significant Celtic songs that are sure to be considered classics for many years to come.
Norma is nominated in the Song of the Year and Female Celtic Artist of the Year categories at the 2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards.


The moody, modal and timeless quality of Celtic music is brought to life by  SugaTree. This Celtic-folk trio combine foot-stomping guitar riffs with catchy tunes and heartfelt lyrics. SugaTree blend genres of folk, pop and Celtic in their energetic live shows. Fast moving mandolin and tin whistle melodies complete the original works with a kick drum and harmonica to get the crowd moving.

The stars aligned when Natalie Parker and Ryan Pentland approached musician and producer Yanni Dellaportas to help record some of their songs. It was once the demo tracks were being laid down in his studio that it became apparent something else was needed. “I just started playing some mandolin over the top of the songs and it all came together,” said Yanni, who has performed with other bands but says this feels like a great fit. “That was in 2012. Since then we have been recording our album, practicing and playing lots of shows together and now we have released our first full length cd This Time.”
“We had gigs where we did some Irish songs and everybody started dancing so we thought this was great for us,” said guitarist and songwriter, Ryan. “There’s not a huge amount of Celtic music in our area and the response has been fantastic.” As for music teacher Natalie, the transition to Celtic tunes has been easy with a voice that has just the haunting quality ideal for the dulcet tunes of Irish ballads. “I love performing and singing with these guys and the response we get from audiences when we play is incredible.”
SugaTree will be performing at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in March and Australian Celtic Festival in May.
SugaTree is nominated in the Best New Celtic Talent, Celtic Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Instrumental of the Year categories at the 2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards. Yanni Dellaportas is nominated in the Producer of the Year category.
Visit SugaTree’s website for a complete list of upcoming shows and to purchase the new album This Time.



Kiérah is one of Canada’s finest and most versatile Celtic fiddle performers. With an Irish and Scottish heritage, Kiérah’s true passion is performing Celtic fiddle music. Her playing ranges from seemingly effortless to ferociously challenging.
Kiérah possesses a remarkable ability to completely captivate and engage audiences of all ages. Her high energy performance style, her musicality and outstanding technical ability give her solo performances a fullness unachievable by many musicians.
The youngest of seven children, Kiérah was always surrounded by someone playing music from piano to guitar to trumpet. Her favourite memory was waking up each morning to recordings of Irish or Cape Breton music blaring through the house. Martin Hayes and Leahy were her biggest inspirations.
Kiérah’s first two albums, “Irish Madness” and “A Fiddle Affair”, received nominations in the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2008 and 2010. Her third album, “Stonemason’s Daughter” won a 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Young Performer of the Year.
“Strongbow”, released in 2017, is a very powerful, high level demonstration of Kiérah’s musicianship and mastery of the fiddle. It highlights her unique approach to composition perfectly blended with the traditions of her heritage.
Kiérah is a prolific composer. Due to the numerous requests for her music, she has written and published British Columbia’s first book of all original fiddle tunes – “Kiérah’s Collection”. It can be purchased from her website.
Kiérah has been nominated for International Celtic Artist of the Year by Paul and Sarah MacArthur of Celtic Radio, Boston, USA.

Australian Celtic Festival 2018

The 2018 Festival celebrates the Celtic Nations of Brittany, Asturias and Galicia. It will be held from Thursday 3rd May to Sunday 6th May 2018. 2018 Showground camping bookings are now open. Book through the website.

What's on in New Zealand??

27th January         Ngapuhi Festival, Toll Stadium, Whangarei
28th January         Medieval Madness. Kiwi North, Whangarei. $10 per adult. All children FREE.

What's on in Armidale??

First Thursday each month                      New England Jazz and Improvisation Collective - NEJIC -
Check out The Musicians of Armidale

What's on in Guyra??

Lamb and Potato Festival – 17th to 28th January 2018

Market stalls, a car Show and Shine, an Antique Machinery Show and Swap Meet, great food, local arts and crafts, a military vehicle display, train rides and much more.
Regional Australia Bank music tent showcases a wide range of live performances during the week, with lunchtime shows from 12 to 2pm and evening performances from 5pm to 7pm. Featured artists include Pete Stanley, Crooked Tree, James Cross, Greg Windred and The Racketeers, Judith Stott-Furowsky and Bruce Clarke.
There are weekend shows at The Regional Australia Bank music tent as well. On Saturday 20th January, catch Jim O’Neill, Rhonda Brookes, the Ukulele Extravaganza and an evening performance by Lily and the Drum.
On Sunday 21st January, Jim O’Neill and Christine Davis are performing during the day, followed by a wine tasting and jazz evening with The Ash Hall Trio.
On Australia Day, 26th January there is a lunchtime show with Peter Denovan followed by Guyra’s first Beach Party with Vinnie and the Cuban Missiles at 6pm.
The second weekend has even more to enjoy. On Saturday 27th January there are performances by Crooked Tree, and Backtrackin’ followed by an Irish Evening with Peter Denovan.
Sunday 28th January features Christine Davis, Backtrackin’ and songs by Guyra’s Freedom Church. More details are available on the Festival’s Facebook page.

What's on in Deepwater??

20th Jan             Deepwater Race Day. The Deepwater Cup is a massive event for the Deepwater community, attracting race goers from across NSW and Queensland. After the races, enjoy live entertainment until dark.

Update for Deepwater’s ‘Cool Choir’

We've now scheduled the initial five Cool Choir 'Summer Season' Sunday workshops with Cathy Welsford - yet to be confirmed by the  Deepwater School of Arts Hall booking contact who is away at the moment. On the same dates, we will also be holding a ukulele group session after the choir has finished. Of course, everyone in the choir is invited to also be a part of the ukulele group - ukes are supplied!

After the initial four choir workshops facilitated by Cathy, there will be additional choir rehearsals led by Margaret te Velde  and Christine Davis, having received training from Cathy.
February 4th
February 18th
February 25th
March 11thth (since this is the 2nd Sunday of the month we coincide with the Oasis Church's standing booking of the hall from 3pm, so ukulele would need to finish early on that day or keep playing somewhere else)
April 15th
School holidays are 14th to 30th April, and the choir and uke groups will take a break before commencing for the 'Autumn Season' (dates yet to be scheduled, after discussions with the people who attend the initial workshops.)

COOL CHOIR: 11:00am - 1:00pm (please arrive early to start on time; includes a 5-minute break in the middle to attend to any business). CHOIR entry: $5 (subsidised by the Sing Your Age grant)
CHOIR LUNCHEON: 1:00pm -1:45pm (funded via the Sing Your Age choir grant)

UKULELE: 2:00pm - 3:30pm. UKULELE entry is $10 (not covered by the SYA grant but greatly reduced from 2017 due to Cathy & Angie's travelling costs & hall hire for the day already being met by the SYA grant. It's a win-win!)
To get involved, email Christine at

What’s on in Tenterfield (and North)??

Samantha Black
Australia Day
From 10.00am to 1.30pm, you will find Pop-up Musos Samantha Black (Harp), Christine Davis (singer extraordinaire, ukulele and guitar) and Dave Moore (guitar and vocals) at Wallangarra Station Café, Pyramid Roads Winery and Heavenly Chocolate. Late afternoon and evening, catch “Fugawie Rock Band” at Liston Hall, Josh Moylan and Helen Conroy at Mingoola Hall, and Peter Harris at Jennings Hotel.

17th February          Emma Giaonoli at Spice & Cream

What's on in Glen Innes??

9th to 25th Feb             Bright and Deadly Exhibition. Exciting works by Aboriginal Artist Brent Emerson. Entry Free.
21st January                                                            Gawura Gallery Art Workshop - $110 per person including morning & afternoon tea and light lunch. Featuring noted Aboriginal artist Lloyd Gawura Hornsby and Josephine Enoch of Art on the Corner Inc
9th to 11th Feb        Glen Innes Show
24th February                                                        Glen Innes & District Services Club Golden Anniversary Dinner Dance. $25 per person with a 3 course meal and entertainment by Darlin’ and the Midnight Delights. Phone 02 6732 1355 to book
9th to 11th March    Minerama Fossicking & Gem Show
16th to 18th Mar                                                                                            The Glen Innes and District Historical Society Inc. presents the Conference - Many Cultures, Our History. Presenter Line Up below. Bookings close 20th February 2018. For Registration form and further details phone 02 6732 1035 or 0428 344 170. Email:

Superb line up of presenters

  • Harry White - Local Land Services Inverell - Aboriginal History 
  • William Oates - University  Archivist University of New England (U.N.E.) Regional Archives  – Scottish Settlers and Celtic History
  • Robert Heather - Director, New England Regional Art Museum –How Artists Depicted Us, including Tom Roberts
  • Dr Janis Wilton O.A.M.  -  Adjunct Associate Professor in History, School of Humanities U.N.E .-  People Places and Things in the  History of the Chinese in New England
  • Graham Wilson O.A.M. - Heritage Advisor and William OatesPhotographic History of New England Gardens
  • Graeme Hosken - Editor Family and Friends First A.I.F. Publications: ‘Digger’ and ‘Cobber’ Magazines - Keeping in Touch - Correspondence in the Great War. How men and women of the AIF kept in touch with their families back home between 1914 and 1919… forms of communication  between families and the department of defence, Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry  Bureau and the Australian War Memorial”. 
  • Jacqui Newling - Colonial Gastronomer, Sydney Living Museums. “From Haggis to Hominy: transporting tastes to new territories.” Colonial Food Culture based on the idea that British and Celtic settlers brought their own food culture with them and then had to adapt it to their new surroundings, beginning with first settlement and the opening up of new territories into the 1830s, including references to the types of food eaten and the ways they were cooked.
  • Eric Kopittke - Convenor of the Central European Group for the Queensland Family History Society, and President  Baptist Historical Society of Queensland -  German History
  • John Graham - Genealogist, President of Ryerson Inc., Strategic Business Continuity -Linking Local History and Genealogy Research
  • Greg Alder - Imagineer at GregAlderCo & Reboot Institute -  “Museums Without Walls”- How museums around the world are using today’s digital technology to build their awareness, reputation and engagement with audiences everywhere.
  • Larissa Townsend - Archivist - Searching the archives for migrant families
21st to 22nd April                                                             New England Heritage Traction Club Inc. presents Vintage Truck and Machinery Show at Glen Innes Showgrounds. Pensioners $5, under 16 and Exhibitors Free. On site catering and powered camping sites are available.
Vintage Truck & Machinery Show

Murphy’s Pigs Live In Concert at The Triffid

Editor's Review

I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on the new DVD from Murphy’s Pigs. The DVD was recorded in front of a 400 strong live audience at The Triffid in Brisbane on 5th November 2017. I have attended a considerable number of Murphy’s Pigs concerts over the last decade or so. This is a slightly different line-up than the last time that I saw the band performing. I must say that I think that the mix of instruments and voices in this iteration works even better!
There is a quote on the back of the DVD pack from Jamie Dunn, Presenter on 98.9fm who says that “it’s hard to tell who’s in the audience and who’s in the band”. This is probably because many of the featured songs are old familiar favourites, with enough new items to whet the appetite for their next performance here in Glen Innes at the Australian Celtic Festival in May. I was certainly joining in with all my favourites while watching the DVD. Thank goodness nobody was watching me!
Highlights for me were Espana Celtica, the Galician and Asturian jig set featuring Bruce Grice on Pipes and Dan Loth on Pipe Band Snare, and Mo Ghile Mear sung by Cieron Jackson. I do hope that the other boys in the band don’t think that I didn’t enjoy their music every bit as much as I always do.
In any review there must be room for the odd small negative. It’s hard to fault this DVD. If I must, I think that the lighting in the early part of the DVD occasionally made the band look a little washed out. This was more than made up by close-ups that showed much more of the instruments as well as the very high quality of the sound. It was a special pleasure to hear all the lyrics so clearly.
To get your very own copy of this superb DVD visit the website.

Gig Dates for Murphy’s Pigs

16th January          7.00pm. The Bug. New Farm Bowls Club, Brisbane QLD

Tamworth Country Music Festival
24th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth NSW
25th January          9.30am. Fanzone Stage, Peel St, Tamworth NSW
25th January          Midday. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
26th January          10.00am. Tamworth Town Hall, 8 Fitzroy St, Tamworth
26th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
27th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
28th January          8.30pm. Joe Maguires Pub, 148 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW

Memories and Melodies – Celebrating Our Pioneers
10th March             7.00pm. Woodford Memorial Hall, 109 Archer St, Woodford QLD

Saint Patrick’s Week
13th March            11.00am. Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, NSW
17th March            11.00 am. Mick O’Malley’s Irish Pub, Queen Street Mall, Brisbane
17th March            4.00pm. Finn McCool's, Brunswick Street Mall, Fortitude Valley, QLD
18th March              1.00pm. Harrigan’s Drift Inn, Jacobs Well, QLD - with the Piglets (our Celtic Dancers)

Australian Celtic Festival
4th May                7.00pm. Glen Innes Services Club
5th May                Standing Stones, Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes
6th May                Standing Stones, Centennial Parklands, Glen Innes

Please go to the website for further details. Join them on Facebook for updates.

Clan Celtica - Tribal Thunder - New Zealand

19th to 2st January          Medieval Faire, Taupo
21st January          Burns Supper, Manurewa
28th January          Kiwi North
17th February          Paeroa Tattoo 25th Anniversary and Auckland Drum Fest
25th February          Howick Tattoo
3rd March          Botany Town Square
4th March          Round The Bays
23rd to 25th March          Cuba Dupa, Wellington
24th March          Mangere East Culture Fest

Performers at the Australian Celtic Festival


Siobhan Owen

** Celtic Female Artist of the Year, 2017 Australian Celtic Music Awards **
Welsh born Australian, Siobhan is a Celtic/Classical singer and harpist with a unique vocal style, blending her ethereal soprano voice with heart wrenching Celtic lilts. Performing at festivals and concerts around Australia from an early age, Siobhan is rapidly gaining recognition on the international stage. She has spent the last few years sharing her time between Australia and Wales while touring the UK, Europe, Japan and Siberia performing in solo concerts, festivals and shows.
Siobhan has released 5 albums to date. Her latest album, “Entwined”, includes original and traditional songs, with songs in the Welsh, Irish, Scottish and Breton languages. The album won Best Producer in the 2017 Australian Celtic Music Awards.
Gone Molly

Gone Molly

From sweet and soft balladry to rollicking session choruses and dark refrains of folk storytelling, Gone Molly lends a contemporary voice to the Anglo-Celtic tradition. Soaring vocal harmonies weave through enchanting tunes, bringing to life colourful characters and tales from the rich cultural tapestry of the British Isles. With their debut album fresh off the press, this is a duo not to be missed!

Outlandish Fan Gathering 20th & 21st October 2018

Official Outlandish Fan Gathering Lantern Dancers from the Aussie Outlander Fan Club
Official Outlandish Fan Gathering Lantern Dancers from the Aussie Outlander Fan Club
Photo Credit: Colin Wood
See the Lantern Dance in the wee small hours at The Australian Standing Stones site on 20th October. You will know then that you have been transported back to 1743!
Now that 2018 is well under way, the Outlandish group is working at a frenetic pace to bring everything together for your enjoyment of an awesome experience weekend.
You can start now to prepare your accent for October. Visit to take lessons from your favourite Outlander characters. If you’ve always wondered how to pronounce Sassenach or Slàinte Mhath, now is your chance to find out. There are 8 lessons in this fun set of videos so take advantage of it right now!        
You will find answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions on the website as well. And this is where you can see the latest program updates and book your ticket

Cost for the weekend includes all events at the Standing Stones and Dinner on Saturday night - $150pp 15 years +.
And don’t forget to enter the Wedding competition or arrange your Vow Renewal in the most romantic setting possible. Call Mel on 0407 492 548.

I had a lot of fun putting this edition together. I hope that you all enjoy it and find something to interest you. We all look forward to seeing you in Glen Innes in the near future.
Please note that I have a new email address. It appears that my old one was irresistible to somebody in Mexico, who “hacked” it in such a way that it was unrecoverable. I must say thank you to Gmail who made my computer safe again.

Barbara McLennan
Celtic News
02 6734 6246

Published with permission from Celtic News

Copyright © 2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards, All rights reserved.

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