Celtic band Black 47 plays RAG March 29

The Roxbury Arts Group opens its presenting season on Saturday, March 29 at 8 p.m. with a concert by the Celtic band Black 47. Led by Irish author, playwright, and songwriter Larry Kirwan, Black 47 has become a cornerstone of modern Celtic rock.
Black 47 espouses an unblinkingly political and thoroughly Irish form of rock ‘n’ roll, with songs covering topics from the Northern Ireland conflict to civil rights and urban unrest in contemporary New York. They earned their chops playing the pub scene in Manhattan and self-producing their first indie record, Black 47, before converting The Cars’ Ric Ocasek to the cause and gaining mainstream attention with their second album.
In 1993 Black 47 changed Irish-American music irrevocably when they burst out of MTV screens with their hit single, Funky Ceili. Not only were people dancing in the aisles at their concerts, they introduced a new generation to the literature, politics and soul of Irish culture. Taking their name from the darkest year of the Irish Potato Famine, their music, though sometimes based on traditional melodies, is laced with rock, reggae, hip-hop, New Orleans and modern jazz; while songwriter Larry Kirwan uses his play writing experience and influences as varied as Yeats, Joyce and Dylan to fashion his dramatic cutting edge lyrics.
Kirwan was born in Wexford, Ireland and immigrated to Greenwich Village where he made his name as a playwright in the company of the McCourt Brothers, Pete Hamill, Lester Bangs, Cyndi Lauper and Ric Ocasek. Long involved in the Irish Civil Rights Movement, he formed Black 47 in 1989 to give voice to ideas of freedom and cultural renewal. The band’s packed performances in New York City led to intense media attention and they were propelled into mainstream consciousness when they recorded Fire of Freedom and Home of the Brave for EMI Records. They have appeared on every major TV show (including Leno, Letterman and O’Brien) and were profiled by Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, etc.
Kirwan programs Celtic music for Sirius Satellite Radio and hosts his own bi-weekly show Celtic Crush as well as weeknight slots on Channel 32. His plays, published under the title Mad Angels have been produced in the US and Europe. His novel, Liverpool Fantasy, an alternate history of the Beatles, received much critical acclaim as did the recently published Green Suede Shoes, a memoir of life in Ireland and New York City. His CD for children of all ages, Keltic Kids, is a perennial favorite. He enjoys reading and speaking to select audiences at colleges and centers prior to the band’s performances.
Black 47 includes Geoffrey Blythe (saxophones), a founding member of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Fred Parcells (trombone), who has worked extensively in Latin/Jazz big bands, Thomas Hamlin (drums), a veteran of the Max’s/CBGB’s downtown scene, Joseph Mulvanerty who is recognized as one of the great innovators of the Irish uilleann pipes, and newest member, bassist, Joseph Bearclaw, who has added his funk and R&B experience to the brew.
This concert is sponsored by Kurt Flachs Plumbing and Heating and by Mike Hinkley Electric. Tickets are $18.