Go to 'Shamrock City' with Irish-American band Solas - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

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Go to 'Shamrock City' with Irish-American band Solas

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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 3:00 pm

Solas, "Irish America's most influential band," according to NPR's "The Thistle & Shamrock," presents “Shamrock City: A Multi-media Stage Show,” 8 p.m. Sept. 13 at Higley Center for the Performing Arts, 4132 E. Pecos Road, Gilbert.

The performance features photos and stories from turn-of-the-century copper boomtown Butte, Mont. -- dubbed “Shamrock City” because of its Irish immigrant population. During the show, bandleader Seamus Egan will take the audience on the unforgettable journey of his great-great uncle Michael Conway's life in Ireland and mysterious death in America.

Solas, a Philadelphia-based band with roots in Celtic music, is anchored by Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals). Mick McAuley (accordions, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and lead singer Niamh Varian-Barry round out the band.

According to the band: In 1910, Egan's great-great uncle Michael Conway left his home in Co. Mayo, Ireland and boarded a ship for America. He was headed to the copper mines and boxing rings of Butte, Montana, aka Shamrock City. Six years later, at the age of 25 and in a cloud of mystery, Michael was dead at the hands of local police.

“Shamrock City” as seen through the eyes of Michael, tells the story of the thousands of young men and women who left behind their homes and families for "the Richest Hill on Earth". It reveals their spirit, tenacity and humor, but also the hardships they faced: discrimination, corruption within the mining companies, an unknown and unforgiving land, a system that valued the few over the many. One hundred years later, it's their story, but the struggles of the working class and immigrants are the same.

This performance received support from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, WESTAF (the Western States Arts Federation), and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information about performances or to buy tickets online, visit www.higleyarts.org, or call (480) 279-7194. The box office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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