Published December 21, 2017
ATLANTA—For the fifth year in a row, the Emmy Award-winning “Southern Celtic Christmas Concert” will be featured on PBS stations nationwide and on Georgia Public Broadcasting at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
The concert, produced by the W.B. Yeats Foundation, celebrates the Christmas traditions of Ireland in music, dance, poetry and story and the continuation of many of the traditions in the American South. These traditions largely occurred through the contribution of the Scots-Irish to the culture of the South, especially in music.
The concert program was produced in Ireland, in the mountains of Appalachia and on stage at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University in Atlanta. The response to the “Southern Celtic Christmas Concert” has been so positive that the distributor renewed its agreement with the Yeats Foundation for another two years.
Southern Celtic Christmas began as a stage show, produced for 18 years by James Flannery, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Emory University. Flannery is a noted Yeats scholar and director, Irish tenor and storyteller. He founded the Yeats Foundation at the school in 1988.
Featured in the show are three Grammy Award-winners—“First Lady of Celtic Song” Moya Brennan, bluegrass and Celtic banjo virtuoso Alison Brown and Riverdance composer Bill Whelan with a choral setting of a seventh-century Irish prayer-poem. Also featured are the gospel harmonies of Rising Appalachia, percussionist and fiddler Joe Craven and renowned songster John Doyle in a beautiful ballad that captures ways in which music and cultural traditions gather families and communities together at Christmastime.
The program also features Flannery’s interview with the late Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who talks about the folk influences behind his poem, “St. Kevin and the Blackbird.”