The Lied Center for Performing Arts hopes to give Nebraskans a boisterous St. Patrick’s Day celebration with the traditional Irish song and dance of Michael Londra and the Celtic Fire. The show will take place on March 16 and 17 at 7:30, both in person and via livestream.
Londra said the show will have a combination of traditional Irish folk, covers and even his own original songs that blend together folk, country and Celtic music.
“The Irish genre has a lot of traffic. Particularly around St. Patrick's Day, people want to hear songs that they recognize like ‘Danny Boy,’ but a lot of my songs are originals. I've written a lot in Nashville, so they have folk and country influences. And also with the Irish traditional music, we take it and we add little quirks to it and mix it up, so we try to make it original, even if it's not,” he said.
In the absence of shows produced by the pandemic, Londra has been busy working on a television show called “Ireland with Michael,” where he travels the world and showcases many Celtic dancing groups. Having not performed with his band since last year, Londra was anxious to see the stage again but said getting his voice back into shape to perform live wasn’t much of an obstacle.
“I mean we rehearse, but … it's like riding a bike. There's muscle memory attached to it. I've been doing a little bit of work on my voice. I've been working on a TV show for the last year, so I haven't actually been singing live a lot. And so, I've done a bit of recording, but that's about it,” Londra said.
Having lived in America for the past 20 years after moving from Ireland, Londra uses his Celtic heritage and his platform as a chance to teach people about Irish culture and to be an ambassador for Ireland.
“I take my job very seriously as an ambassador for my country … I am very blessed that my job has given me a nice life here in America, and I'm still able to spend half of my year back home [with] my family in Ireland. Representing Ireland, I feel more of an ambassador than I do as a singer,” Londra said.
Matthew Boring, associate director of marketing and patron development at the Lied Center, said audiences should be excited about Londra and the Celtic Fire’s first performance at the Lied Center because of Londra’s determination to perform.
“He has such a positive energy and positive spirit about wanting to be able to perform and connect with audiences,” Boring said. “You see it in a lot of performers. It was just so immediately clear that I was able to connect with him that, whether it was going to be in an online performance or socially distanced performance like we have now, you could just tell he had a genuine desire to want to bring his company to Lincoln for the first time and to do this performance.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at the Lied Center’s website.