Fans of the Irish or Scottish heritage won’t want to miss a rare opportunity to see Men of Worth for one performance only at Marin Center on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. Experiencing the authentic Celtic music is like visiting a different place and time without leaving home.
Men of Worth perform in Oregon, Northern California, Washington, Idaho, Montana and other locations where Celtic music remains an important part of the heritage. They also lead guided tours of Scotland and Ireland to share their musical roots.
The folk-music duo is James Keigher, from County Mayo in West Ireland, and Donnie Macdonald, who hails from the Isle of Lewis, an island off the west coast of Scotland. The musicians met in Southern California in 1985 through the Celtic music scene and play several instruments including mandolin, guitar, mandocello, banjo, concertina and bodhran (a hand-held drum).
Macdonald sings some of the tunes in his native Gaelic and Keigher presents pieces from the oral traditions of his home. “Our music has its history in the life of my Hebridean homeland and James’ western Ireland,” Macdonald points out. “It was a part of the fabric of everyday life and it came to America with the immigrants a century ago. “
Exposing new generations to songs they may never have heard or sharing the tender memories from the past with those who had not listened to them in years, is a special gift the Men of Worth share when performing their unique show which blends their ballads with stories that combine humor, tradition and tunes.
Macdonald says the irony is as boys the pair listened mostly to the music of America, such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell from their radios in Europe, but now they have returned to their own musical bloodlines. They could not escape the emotion and tradition of their homeland song heritage. “We could not grow away from these sounds,” Macdonald adds, “so we have preserved them as accurately and authentically as we could.”
Not all of the music that the pair perform is historic or traditional - some are original pieces. Keigher wrote one song after overhearing two women gossiping at a villager market and some of Macdonald’s songs have roots in his mother’s poetry. They have recorded 10 albums showcasing their original and historic pieces.
Marin Onstage, an arm of the non-profit Novato Arts Foundation, presents the concert in the Showcase Theater at the Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.marincounty.org/depts/cu/calendar, www.marinonstage.org or by calling 415-473-6800. Proceeds will benefit the Novato Theater Company. Men of Worth can be found online at www.menofworth.com.