EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 20, 2012

Celtic Thunder returns to region with new show

Super group returns to region

By Jess Wilson

---- — They have appeared on PBS and have toured the world many times over, but it’s still hard to describe everything you get when you go to see Celtic Thunder.

The set transports you to another world across the sea, the songs remind you of first love, valiant deeds and wild nights. And a stage full of talented musicians shares a little of their national pride with each note. The group of male lead singers and diverse instrumentalists play traditional and modern songs that embody Celtic culture from spirituals to drinking songs to modern pop songs and everything in between.

On the heels of a new DVD and CD release, "Voyage II," Celtic Thunder has hit the road again and plans stops in Boston and Concord, NH in just a few days. The new release, which was previewed to PBS members, is only available through online purchase.

George Donaldson, the elder statesman of the group, spoke about the upcoming show and life on the road from his tour bus as he tooled through Kitchener, Ontario, last week.

“Our show is something where Grandma can take her grandson, and everyone has a good time,” said Donaldson in his thick Scottish accent.

Being the only Scottish singer in the Irish cast, he finds himself reminding people that Scots are Celtic, too. “When people ask what part of Ireland I’m from, I tell them, the part called Scotland,” he laughs.

He says the 35 people, both cast and crew, are a fun family to travel with. Before each show, they share a group hug and then jump on stage.

“We treat every show like it’s our first, because for many people in the audience it is their first time,” said Donaldson.

After this tour, Donaldson revealed the company will be retiring many of the favorites sung in this and past shows. One particular song Donaldson is known for, "Old Man," has personal meaning.

“It’s about a father who is gone. It’s something a lot of people can agree with that feeling. I get emails from so many people who have lost their father, and love to hear that song.”

Donaldson credits his love of music to his late father, Bernard.

“He loved jazz and Scottish and Irish traditional music and it was always playing," he said. "I’m the only one out of nine children who plays an instrument now, but he was a huge inspiration just in his appreciation of music.”

While he’s missing his wife and daughter back at home, Donaldson is excited to be in New England for the fall. “We have a lot of family here, and there’s just something about the history here. It’s very similar to back overseas. I love it.”

What : Celtic Thunder in Boston When : Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Where : Citi Center, Wang Theater, 270 Tremont St. How much: $48 to $98. Visit citicenter.org What : Celtic Thunder in Concord, N.H. When : Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Where : Capitol Theater, 44 South Main St. How much: Tickets available from $48-$88. Tickets available online at www.ccanh.com or by phone (603) 225-1111.