Town Hall Galway, Concert Review

Shaskeen’s 40th Anniversary 

And the reel keeps on reeling… 

It’s the 40th year for Tom Cussen and Shaskeen and not a moment too late to be singing with the same pride and joy which have accompanied their music since the 70s.

The band celebrated the anniversary as part of the Ruby Tour which took the band members across Ireland throughout May and June, with the final set date of the tour being August the 18th in France, where they will play at the festival of St Loup in Guingamp Brittany.

On June the 18th, Shaskeen played in front of the audience at the Town Hall Theater in Galway, and in honor of their extensive performing history, the band invited on the stage artists like Maureen Minogue Brown and Benny O’Connor, long time friends & former band members with Tom Cussen,  played at The Oxford Tavern pub in London during the early 70s.

Reels and jigs filled the hall when Shaskeen got together in complete formation, with Tom Cussen, Tony Howley, playing the banjo and mandolin (Tom), and saxophone and flute (Tony), with  Pat Costello on vocals,  guitar and banjo, Pat Broderick on  the Uillean pipes and low whistles.  Eamonn Cotter played the flute, Patsy McDonagh the accordion and Johnny Donnellan the bodhran. Geraldine Cotter completed the ensemble with her piano talent.

Throughout the show the audience got the same feeling of the Irish spirit that Shaskeen has inspired all these years, starting with the busy London nights all the way back to Ireland. We got to see that not even time can alter true music, if anything, the amount of time lapsed between those years and now has only served to tighten the bond of friendship between Shaskeen’s members, and they made sure to show that on June the 18th

Special moments came one after another and the guest list included, beside Maureen and Benny, Marc Roberts who played Annie’s Song and Sean Tyrell who sang the Angel’s Whisper. Maureen and Benny played for old (and new) times’ sake a special selection of Shaskeen reels, while Emma O'Sullivan, also a guest star, performed several times beautiful samples of Seán nós dancing on Shaskeen tunes. Her performance was so appreciated, that she brought the perfect ending to Shaskeen’s 40th anniversary show dancing to the tunes of the last reel… for the night.

See you at the 50th anniversary, Shaskeen!

Independent review by Turlough Rafferty.