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Celtic band gets ready for gig on PBS

A locally based Celtic band has been invited to play in front of a 500-member audience in a PBS studio next year.

Ceol Leinn, (pronounced Key-ol Lane-ya), was initially asked to perform for the television station WSRE-TV on Saturday in Pensacola, Fla.

However, the band had to cancel after one of the members’ wives was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

The six-member group plans instead to record the show in February, according to band manager Frank Mayes.

Ceol Leinn will perform an hour-and-a-half show in front of a live audience. The concert will then be cut down to an hour-long event to be aired at a later date.

“As far as we know, the broadcast was going to be only Florida,” Mayes noted. “However, the station manager said that they were planning on trying to get other networks and possibly national (PBS) to pick it up.”

Guest bands, who will also be featured on the broadcast, include the UFOC Chorus and Florida-based McGuire’s Irish Pipe Band.

Representing Lincoln County is Ceol Leinn is Mike Harrington of Denver who plays lead guitar and mandolin, plus vocals.

Ceol Leinn is based in Hickory, with members from various places across the state including Denver, along with Hickory, Granite Falls,

Swannanoa, Mountain View and Boone.

The group has performed in a number of places up and down the East Coast, from Maryland to Florida, incorporating a vast array of instruments into their concerts, playing original tunes as well as cover songs of well-known Irish and Scottish tunes.

In addition, they love to entertain their audience by putting their own twist on modern songs.

“Our music is a blend of traditional and contemporary,” band leader Chip Mayes noted in a news release.

The band’s website also describes the group’s sounds as “romantic and stirring.”

It’s evident that Ceol Leinn has been influenced by multiple musical genres from Loreena Mckennitt to Pink Floyd and the Beatles.

Ceol Leinn’s unique concoction of country, bluegrass, classical and rock ‘n’ roll sounds are created through a mix of percussion, penny whistle, pipes, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass, violin and war drums.

Through next year’s PBS concert, the group hopes to educate their audience about the origin of Bluegrass music and inspire them to “become “reacquainted with their Celtic Heritage.”

Ceol Leinn’s newest album, “The Lion and the Dragon,” is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. In addition, the CD will soon be listed for sale on websites for Reverb Nation and CD Baby.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON, Staff Writer

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