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Wed, Oct. 23

Gerry O’Beirne brings orchestral sound with 12-string guitar in Prescott Celtic Concert series

The Prescott Celtic Concert series brings one of Ireland’s best singers, Gerry O’Beirne, to town for a concert that shows off his older familiar tunes and will introduce a new series of songs based on his life on the Dingle Peninsula in West Kerry, Ireland.

“It takes a lot of talent to be a solo performer and do it well. He’s one of those guys,” said David McNabb, Celtic Concert series organizer. “Gerry plays the 6- and 12-string guitar. The 12-string is so full, it sounds like an orchestra.”

The doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott, for the 7 p.m. concert on Saturday, Dec. 10. A Prescott couple, John and Dominique Jewitt, will perform Celtic music prior to the concert. Bagpiper Joshua Prout will play during the intermission.

General admission tickets are for sale at the door: $20 adults, $10 for college students, free for those 18 years and younger – “to encourage young people to listen to this kind of music, in hopes the next generation will carry on,” McNabb said.

O’Beirne said National Geographic calls the Dingle Peninsula “the most beautiful place in the world.” It has an extraordinary culture of song and music, and his pieces reflect the place in different ways. Some, at their core, resonate with the sound of the piano.

“My earliest memories are of hearing my father on the piano. I grew up with much more piano than guitar. He came from a small farm, and the piano was upstairs in the sitting room, which was used for death and piano practice. He was very good,” O’Beirne said.

In addition to the piano classics, he’s been influenced by Irish traditional and popular music. He also plays the ukulele, but it’s not with him this trip.

“My ukulele was ill before I came over. I decided to not bring it,” he said, adding that he several ukes in his collection including an unusual one his sister sent from New Zealand, and a bass ukulele. He also has “dipped a toe into the ukulele world by playing at the Ukulele Hooley by the Sea Festival in Dublin.

“The performance (Saturday) will be a kind of a journey into what it’s like for me living where I live now in West Kerry. There will be stories and there will be songs,” he said. He promises to tell about his strangest gig yet – it involves a cemetery in Transylvania at night with choir and orchestra.

Born in Ireland, O’Beirne also has lived in Ghana, England, California and Mexico. His first solo album, “Half Moon Bay,” was called one of the 12 best releases of the year by “Performing Songwriter” magazine and was chosen as one of FolkWorld’s Top 10 Albums of the year. FolkWorld, an online magazine, said of his latest album, “Yesterday I Saw the Earth Beautiful,” with fiddler Rosie Shipley, it is “an extraordinary album with innovative arrangements and hauntingly beautiful songs.”

O’Beirne has toured the globe as a solo artist and with several bands, has performed at the White House, opened for the Grateful Dead, played electric guitar with Marianne Faithfull, and appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” He also has written music for film and theater.

For more information, call 928-771-1218.

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