Exciting. Emotional. Fun. That’s how Benny McCarthy, founding member of the UK-based Irish band Danú, describes the band.
The group’s got an authentic and earthly sound, shaped with traditional Irish instruments such as the fiddle, flute, cittern and guitar. Their compositions – some ancient tunes, some newly written – alternate between Irish jigs and quietly emotive songs, offering an immersive Irish music experience.
“Our performances are a journey to Ireland and back,” McCarthy says.
Danú, currently on their 2017 St. Patrick’s Celebration Tour across the United States, is headed to DC just in time for the holiday. George Mason University’s (GMU) Center for the Arts will host Danú the evening of March 17 – the perfect way to spend a St. Patrick’s Day evening.
“The Foggy Dew” is especially indicative of their style. Originally written in 1919 about the Easter Uprising, the piece is a historical narrative that is warm in tone and mournful in sentiment. The piece interweaves guitar and vocals with lush string harmonies, providing listeners with a powerfully intimate experience.
“It’s got a real sense of deepness about it,” McCarthy says. “It’s a special piece for me.”
What makes the group truly unforgettable, though, isn’t their emotive style. It’s their genuine connection with their audiences.
McCarthy describes Danú’s music as “social music,” not unlike what’s encountered at a pub in Ireland. The group engages attendees in a personal and energetic way, encouraging them to clap, shout and sing to their heart’s content. For Danú, their audience is just as part of the show as they are.
“It’s about community and connection,” McCarthy says. “That’s what makes it good. It’s the music of the people.”
So, what should attendees expect at next Friday’s concert?
“Some good ol’ fashioned gigs and reels, and some songs in the Irish language. They’ll also hear some people talking with Irish accents telling funny stories,” McCarthy laughs.
But, most of all, “people should expect to have fun,” he says.