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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

BRIGID event celebrates Irish culture through music and dance at August Wilson Center

Musicians+perform+during+BRIGID%2C+a+celebration+of+St.+Brigid%2C+the+Celtic+goddess+and+patron+saint+of+Ireland%2C+at+the+August+Wilson+Center+on+Saturday.+
Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer
Musicians perform during BRIGID, a celebration of St. Brigid, the Celtic goddess and patron saint of Ireland, at the August Wilson Center on Saturday.

Guests at the BRIGID event gathered to enjoy live music and dance performances at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in downtown Pittsburgh for a celebration of Irish culture on Saturday, Feb. 3. 

The event was a collaboration of the Pittsburgh Irish Festival and Irish Partnership Pittsburgh to celebrate St. Brigid of Kildare, the Celtic goddess and a patron saint of Ireland. St. Brigid’s feast day is a traditional holiday in Ireland celebrated on Feb. 1, marking the beginning of spring in Ireland. 

The event opened with live music by Celtic ensemble The Bow Tides, who ignited the stage with their dynamic fiddling, playing a mix of traditional Irish tunes and originals. The Bow Tides’ fiddler, Katie Grennan, expressed her joy in performing at BRIGID. She said her passion for Irish music stems from her family and background in dance. 

“My dad is from Ireland, and I enrolled in Irish dance classes when I was eight. From the moment I started taking lessons, I fell in love with the music — so being able to play it all these years later on a professional level with these four has been really amazing,” Grennan said.

Following The Bow Tides, multi-instrumentalist Ally the Piper from New York performed. Ally has a following of 1.8 million on TikTok. She began her performance playing the Irish whistle accompanied by her vocals. Ally then transitioned to the bagpipes for the remainder of her set, putting her own spin on the traditional instrument through her incorporation of modern music. 

Musicians perform during BRIGID, a celebration of St. Brigid, the Celtic goddess and patron saint of Ireland, at the August Wilson Center on Saturday. (Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer)

During intermission, attendee Roz Meston shared her enjoyment of the performances thus far, mentioning that her previous trip to Ireland sparked her interest in BRIGID. 

“We went to Ireland and thoroughly enjoyed it so we keep going to things that keep bringing those memories back,” Meston said.“I love the bagpipes and how she [Ally] did that — I’ve never heard anyone play nontraditional bagpipe songs, so that was really fun.”

Following intermission was an Irish dance special, featuring dancers from The Step Sisters, Bell School of Irish Dance, Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance and Riverdance cast member Morgan Bullock. The performances showcased several styles of Irish dance, from hard shoe dancing — which created rhythmic sounds echoing on the dance floor — to soft shoes creating a lighter and elegant performance.

Musicians perform during BRIGID, a celebration of St. Brigid, the Celtic goddess and patron saint of Ireland, at the August Wilson Center on Saturday. (Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer)

The closing act for the evening was The Brigideens, led by Grammy-winning fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Eileen Ivers. The band played an assortment of genres, taking influence from Celtic, bluegrass and Americana styles. The Brigideens ended their set with a rendition of “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, which included an electrifying fiddle solo by Ivers.

At the end of the event, all performers from the evening assembled on stage for a grand finale, showcasing the collective talents brought to BRIGID. 

After the performance, attendee Mara George said the event was her second time attending BRIGID and emphasized that the event’s showcasing of culture through various art forms is what makes it worth attending. 

“We came last year and wanted to come again. We love the fiddle and just the whole experience — the dancers and the music — and we have Irish in our background,” George said. “For the community, it really offers different insights into culture, ways of living and artistic styles.” 

 

About the Contributor
Casey Carter, Senior Staff Writer
Casey Carter is a sophomore communications major with certificates in digital media and sustainability. She is a firm believer that a good walk can solve almost anything and loves the outdoors. In her free time, she also enjoys going to coffee shops, thrifting and watching movies with her roommates.