Silt Historical Park hosts traditional Irish band — with a twist
If You Go...
When: 7 p.m. on Saturday
Where: Silt Historical Park
How Much: Free (bring lawn chair)
If you’ve heard one Irish song, you’ve heard them all, according to Claddagh founder Dave Naples. That’s why the multi-instrumentalist and singer puts a twist on traditional Irish music, and the results will definitely not bore anyone.
You can find out for yourself at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Silt Historical Park when Claddagh performs its “Irish music played vigorously” for free.
Claddagh has been together for about 11 years, Naples said, and the band’s focus is to come up with unique arrangements of traditional Irish songs.
“Truthfully, if you’ve heard one Irish song, you’ve heard them all, and for a two- or three-hour concert, I didn’t want to put people through that sameness,” said Naples, who writes arrangements for the band. “When I do an arrangement, I like to jazz it up a little to make it sound more interesting.”
“Jazz it up” can be taken both literally and figuratively, depending on the piece; he said he likes including jazz chords in his arrangements to catch listeners off guard and shatter their expectations of traditional Irish tunes.
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A combination of Irish heritage and musicianship in the family led Naples to Claddagh.
“My mother’s Irish, and we had her sister living with us, so when I was growing up I was exposed to Irish music,” Naples said. “And my father was a professional trumpet player. So I grew up with music.”
Naples started out in music playing drums. He learned to play along with Led Zeppelin, Chicago and big band music. He started playing professionally when he was 16, and at 18 he was touring the East Coast with big bands.
Claddagh consists of five members who, all together, bring more than 15 instruments to work with. Naples plays guitar, balalaika, bodhran, bass and udu, and he also sings. Other instruments include the flute, penny whistle, fiddle, mandolin, concertina and more.
The five are great musicians, but at this point in their lives, Claddagh is definitely more of a part-time hobby than a day job.
“We play when we play,” Naples said. “We get calls for weddings, we just did a couple of Irish wakes, and we do a lot of big Irish folk festivals all over the country.”
This is the band’s first time playing at the Silt Historical Park, but Naples said they’re used to playing outdoor concerts, so it’s going to be a great time.
Preserving and keeping traditional Irish music fresh with new arrangements is incredibly important to Naples, who said the music just has a way of connecting with people.
“It’s a style of music that is hard to play, and it has a universal energy and joy to it,” he said. “It’s almost impossible not to tap your feet when you hear it. It’s just fun. A lot of people that listen to us say that: We’re having so much fun on stage that it’s contagious. And that’s kind of why we do it.”
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