2024 MCIF Headline Bands
The Black Donnellys
The Black Donnellys are an Emmy Award winning, Guinness world record breaking Band. The Group consist of the two Dave’s, Rooney and Browne, both hailing from Dublin City, Ireland. Rooney, a critically acclaimed Singer/Songwriter (voted best Irish singer/songwriter 2012 ; Radioirish.com NYC) Browne, a Guinness World Record Breaking Guitarist (marathon guitar playing 114 hrs, 2011). This Dynamic Duo have been blazing a trail on the World Music Stage since their inception in 2006, the result of meeting by chance at a gig in the Canary Islands, Spain in 2004.
The Donnellys have amassed quite a few accolades since their move to Las Vegas, U.S.A in 2014. Holding down one of the longest term residencies on the Las Vegas (7 years) strip, this exciting duo perform nightly at Rira Irish Venue, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Voted in the “Best Top 3 Vegas Lounge Acts”, Awarded the NIFA (National Independent Film Association) Music Legend Award 2020, Breaking the Guinness World Record for the Longest Concert ever Held, (372hrs) in and most importantly the release of their insane American Tour and incredibly popular Rokumentry, An Irish story, This is My Home (Amazon Prime), which romped home winning the EMMY for best documentary, the Doc also winning the coveted Alum Prize, The People’s Choice Award.
Reknowned for their highly entertaining shows, the Black Donnellys will take you on a memorable journey through the history of their songs, tunes and stories.
The Black Donnellys
Sina Theil is a German born, Irish based multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and winner of several Irish music awards and “Rising Star of the Year 2022” awarded by the late Maryann McTeague Keifer at the American Celtic Listener Supported Music Awards. She started playing piano and composing her first songs at age 7.
In 2015 in an act of blind faith she moved to Ireland by herself to pursue her lifelong dream of building a successful music career. With all odds against her, not knowing anyone or even having social media, she started studying at the prestigious music college BIMM Dublin and funding her musical education through busking on the streets of Dublin.
Fast forward to the present day, Sina’s social media presence has surpassed 55,000 followers across her platforms and she has scored twenty-one no.1 singles across the Irish iTunes Charts, including a self-penned original song and her much acclaimed release “The Fields of Athenry” featuring Caitríona O’Sullivan, which has just surpassed 300K views on Youtube.
Her independently released album “Live at THT Galway” for which she crowdfunded over €16,000 with the help of her loyal online following, was broadcast on Irish national TV (TG4) several times to great acclaim.
Furthermore, her songs have been played over 16,000 times on Irish radio & heard by over 33 million radio listeners in Ireland and across the United States of America.
Sina, has appeared on the front cover of the Irish Music Magazine and on Ireland’s leading celebrity magazine RSVP. She also recently featured in the Music Business Ireland magazine and on one of Ireland’s leading music TV shows – “Opry Le Daniel” (Season 12). She is currently on tour with Irish Folk sensation Dan McCabe
Over Labor Day weekend and throughout the month of September 2023 she appeared at the world famous Irish establishment “Raglan Road” in Disney Springs, Orlando, Florida.
Charity work is also very dear to Sina’s heart and since 2021 she has raised close to €5,000 for Irish and Celtic charities, including Safe Home Ireland amongst others.
Sina Theil Website
The Kilmaine Saints
Kilmaine Saints is a band formed on good whiskey and bad intentions. The brainchild of two members of a Harrisburg Pipe & Drum band, this project was originally created with the sole intent of getting them free beer at St. Patrick’s Day shows in the central PA area (and might I add- mission accomplished). After incorporating the help of fellow members from the pipe band and other notable musicians from the area, they soon realized they were in for one hell of a ride. Since 2009 they have continued to pound through blistering, high-energy live sets that keep people singing along, stomping their feet, lifting their pints and shouting for more. With several hundred shows at pubs and festivals from New Jersey to California, critically acclaimed releases under their belts, national and international airplay, and an ever-expanding and extremely loyal fanbase, it’s no wonder the world is starting to stand up and take notice. In short, The Kilmaine Saints are equal parts Irish swagger, Scottish pride, and whiskey. This explosive Celtic rock band from central PA will steal your heart, your spirit, and your pint when you’re not looking.
Kilmaine Saints Website
Blackthorn welcomes you to the rich tapestry of Celtic music. Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.
What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.
Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Metro Detroiters fondly remember Blackthorn’s annual appearances on J. P. McCarthy’s St. Patrick’s Day show on WJR radio in the 1980s and 1990s, and later with Paul W. Smith. They have released seven CDs, and have performed with guest musicians such as members of the Michigan Opera Theater and the Motor City Brass Band. In 2010, Blackthorn was voted “Best Folk Band/Artist” by the readers of The Detroit Metro Times.
From large festival, to pub, restaurant or intimate performing arts center, Blackthorn provides time tested entertainment. Chuck Ward of the Milwaukee Irish Fest says this about the band, “Blackthorn was very well received at Milwaukee Irish Fest, they impressed everyone with their strong and well blended songs. They are strong ambassadors in their commitment to continuing the Irish ballad tradition and a crowd pleasing addition to any festival.” Blackthorn website
2023 Irish music bands!
Named after a Scottish ne’er-do-well immortalized in the ballad “Outlaw Murray,” Black Murray formed as a rag-tag crew with four songs and a borrowed fiddler for the 2017 Michigan Renaissance Festival. Since then, the band has evolved into a tight and energetic acoustic trio specializing in Irish folk songs, radio classics, and original material. In addition to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, Black Murray has appeared at a variety of festivals including the Motor City Irish Fest, The Saline Celtic Festival, Michigan Irish Music Festival and Arts, Beats & Eats, as well as Irish-American clubs, taverns, and private parties all across the Midwest—even Canada. Find Black Murray online on Facebook, Instagram, and their website .
Black Murray – website
Hailing from Detroit—and damn proud of it—Brother Crowe has hammered through over 100 shows in a year, sometimes playing three gigs in a day. But now is their time to shine. The band consists of two brothers, Derek (vocals/harmonica/bodhran) and Paul (guitars/banjo/vocals). Brother Crowe’s purpose, is honing in on a New Country/Indie Folk sound that still possesses a somewhat traditional Celtic style. Paul, who along with his brother was influenced by his father’s love of Folk and Celtic music, is dubbed Brother Crowes’ main songwriter. The duo works on music together, jamming out the skeletons of tunes until they’re finished. “Derek will then fine tune some of the melodies and the lyrics a little bit, “Paul says. “He’s the one singing them. There are a few things that he’ll truncate or maybe he’ll change a phrase up, add a half verse or a full verse from what I originally wrote. The songs definitely go through an element where we pound them into shape.” The focus for Brother Crowe has been on original music, while trying to branch a tad outside of the box. This is the time for Brother Crowe, with the influx of indie folk acts on the radio. “People like Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers come out and they have these different instruments in bands that people don’t know about and they’re making it mainstream,” Derek says. “It’s nothing to turn on the radio and hear a banjo, a harmonica, a mandolin, or even a fiddle.” Their music is going down favorably at local venues as well as well-attended festivals. That’s where Brother Crowe is at their finest. “There’s an element of spontaneity at festivals,” Derek says. “We really engage the crowd. It’s really fun that we don’t ever play the same stuff twice when we do the gigs. People love it and we love it.”
Brother Crowe – website
The Codgers are an Americana group from Detroit, Michigan. They got together in the Corktown neighborhood in 2006 and cut their teeth playing Irish pub favorites on the city’s west side. Their original tunes are about ordinary working folk and places across the Great Lakes region. Acoustic guitar, accordion, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bodhrán, bass, and vocal harmonies all mix into a unique Celtic-tinged Americana sound. The Codgers – Facebook
After several years of upheaval in the world of live music, CrossBow is thrilled to be returning for their 7th year at the Motor City Irish Fest!
From a casual jam session in Grand Rapids, MI, to becoming a popular favorite at Celtic festivals across the Midwest, CrossBow has been humbled and excited by every turn on their musical journey. Co-founding fiddlers, Steve Lesko and Carly Meloche, met in their high school Celtic band, the Chelsea House Orchestra. This extracurricular group also produced fiddlers, Diana Ladio (The Moxie Strings and The Elders), Kiana Weber (formerly of Gaelic Storm) and Wes Fritzemeier (The Kreellers and Thunderwüde). In 2011, Steve and Carly, along with vocalist/guitarist, Clare McMillan, founded CrossBow in a small music practice room. With just two violins and a guitar, the three young musicians never expected to showcase their traditional Irish music much beyond campus hallways and local pubs. Yet they were immediately met with overwhelming enthusiasm and the trio quickly realized they were onto something special.
Through playing private parties, local fundraisers, and wherever they could find a stage, this new and quirky group generated a following and ventured to share their music as much as they could. To date, Michigan’s premier high-energy Celtic band has performed in every major Celtic, Scottish and Irish festival in the state, and has been featured in festivals and venues in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Scotland.
By incorporating pop, rock and folk sounds into their set list, CrossBow delivers a distinct, eclectic vibe that still remains true to their traditional Celtic roots, appealing to audiences of all ages. Much of the thrill in experiencing a CrossBow performance actually transcends the music itself. This excitement stems from the contagious joy and camaraderie shared between the players, and communicated directly with their audience. Apparent from the moment they hit the stage – these high-energy musicians naturally feed off of one another, creating a toe-tapping, shenanigan-filled, dynamic, wholly unique performance that shouldn’t be missed.
Fall of 2021 marked an important milestone for CrossBow, as they celebrated their TENTH year of music-making. Like a fine whisky, they filtered, honed in on and matured the essential pieces, and are now ready to share their best version yet.
CrossBow – website
Irish folk singer and songwriter Enda Reilly carries his hometown of Dublin with him through his songs. He has performed on the streets, in the pubs, libraries, schools, theatres and festivals of his hometown, Dublin, Ireland and is now finding his feet in the USA having performed at Motor City, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh Irish Fests 2021.
As a songwriter Enda is a winner of the prestigious IMRO Christie Hennessy Songwriting Competition and co-wrote many songs with Aoife Scott including “All Along The Wild Atlantic Way”, which got to no.1 in Ireland and the title track from her current album “Homebird”.
As a singer and guitarist Enda produces his own albums from start to finish cottage industry style including his contribution to keeping the Irish language alive “Amhráin Nua i nGaeilge – New Songs in Irish” ; “Whorls” songs which bring the poetry of WB Yeats off the page and into the ears; climatechangesongs.com, songs which explore our interaction with the environment ; “Where The Sweetest Waters Flow” a mini best-of Enda in English ;The next installment is “Whisperings”, simple fresh arrangements of classics including The Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Danny Boy, The Foggy Dew, Caledonia and Red Is The Rose.
Enda has performed guitar with many of Ireland’s foremost gaelic poets and has shared the stage with Téada, John Spillane, Liam O Maonlaí, Kila, Sive, InniK, Aoife Scott, Shane Hennessey, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan) and Séamus Begley, among others. Check out the Enda Reilly Live Stream online and listen to his music over at www.endareilly.com
Enda Reilly – website
Ironwood is a Celtic folk, husband & wife duo from Troy MI, featuring fiddle, mandolin, guitar, electric bass and more. They are mainly dedicated to creating a repertoire of original tunes, heavily inspired by the Celtic genre. They play fast fiddle tunes, slow love songs, hoppin’ Folk, traditional Celtic songs, and more. Ironwood’s lively music will have you on your feet!
Ironwood – website
Jamrocks are a Detroit-based music group dedicated to playing traditional Celtic tunes and songs. We have been playing together since 2008 at various venues around the Detroit area, including the Motor City Irish Fest and the St. Patrick’s Senior Center annual fundraiser. We also enjoy playing for private parties around town. We have played at the Michigan State Fair and were regularly featured at the Claddagh Irish Pub in Livonia prior to its closing in 2019. We are currently in the process of looking for a new venue so that folks can continue to enjoy listening and dancing to our music.
Jamrocks – Facebook
Kish Celtic Band is a family Celtic band that plays Irish folk music and will have the audience singing along to classic Irish songs. The Kish Celtic Band will be playing Friday night at the MCIF. Members are:
The Leprecons, The Leprecons, a fierce Irish band from Grand Rapids, MI with a passion for singing and enjoying a nice frothy pint, are continuing to make appearances in and across Michigan. Their innovative and individual style of entertainment has grown to be a favorite among those that love the craic, laughter, and good times.
There are few like the Leprecons. A band committed to playing and promoting Irish pub songs that set your toes a-tapping and your pint glasses a-swaying! Even if you’re one of those who say you don’t know or don’t love Irish music & fun (like we do), you’re certainly encouraged to sing along. Whether you know the words or not.
Founded in 2016, they’ve performed at a variety of venues, parties and festivals such as Holland Celtic, Irish on Ionia, Sparta Celtic, Saline Celtic, Wayland Balloon Fest and the Lowell Harvest Festival. They’ve also entertained at many a pub and party in Grand Rapids, Caledonia, Wayland, Lansing, and Muskegon. The Leprecons continue to expand their presence with their unabashed pub-crawl sound and will continue to do so if there be a pub filled with lads, lasses and glasses
The Leprecons – Website
McLaughlin’s Alley – website
McSpillin – McSpillin has been on the Detroit music scene for 12 years playing a mix of Irish and folk music covering everything from traditional jigs, reels and ballads to your favorite rebel and drinking songs. Members Jenny, Dan, Mike, Bruce, Sean and Joni sing in 4 part vocal harmonies accompanied by tenor banjo/mandolin, keys, bouzouki, guitar and bass. If you love good craic, great music, tasty whiskey and bad jokes, then McSpillin is the band for you!!
The Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipes and Drums honors police officers and Firefighters killed in the line of duty by playing music at funeral services free of charge. The corps was founded in 2002 after the death of Hazel Park Police Officer Jessica Nagle-Wilson. Today, Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipes and Drums pay tribute to and honor fallen officers and firefighters throughout Michigan upon the request of their families, law enforcement agencies and fire departments.
Metro Detroit Police & Fire Pipe & Drum Band – website
New Brigade is the latest Irish musical creation from Connor and Brendan O’Donohue. These brothers from Grand Rapids, Michigan have been playing Irish music together for over 5 years and have performed on stages big and small all across the state of Michigan. They play an energetic traditional Irish set. Their vibrant vocals accompanied with a mix of violin, guitar, accordion, bodhran and mandolin keep the crowds clapping, dancing and singing along.
The New Brigade website
Roane – With a driving acoustic sound and soaring vocal harmonies, Roane’s unique twist on the traditional and original compositions have earned them a devoted following. Roane began in 2012 when two vocal performance majors discovered their shared love of all things Celtic. A few friend and family members later and Roane was playing festivals and events all over Michigan. From Flint’s Capitol Theater, to the Dow, The Michigan Renaissance Festival, Tall Ships Celebration Bay City, the Performances with and for the Flint Scottish Pipe Band and on to Pubs at home and in Ireland, Roane’s audiences agree that their shows “spark joy”. One fan writes, “Roane is my favorite. I could stand in the pub and listen to them all day.” Along with the Motor City Irish Festival, catch Roane at the Indigo Farms Lavender Festival, Michigan Medieval Festival, Irish Night at Jimmy John’s Stadium, Thumbfest and more. Look for their latest album, Slan Abhaille (Safe Home) coming in summer 2022.
Roane – Facebook
Shamrock Shore is one of Detroit’s premier Irish bands and has been playing around the metro Detroit area for over 30 years. The group enjoys playing traditional sing-a-long songs as well as adding a Celtic rock flair to jigs and reels.
Shamrock Shore – Facebook
Wakefire – Whether they’re putting their own spin on traditional and modern celtic tunes, or weaving enchanting stories with their own original material, Wakefire is sure to put on a tight, high energy show. Formed in 2017, Wakefire has appeared at numerous events and festivals around the state of Michigan and beyond including the Michigan Renaissance Festival, Highland Celtic Festival, Irish on Ionia, and of course, the Motor City Irish Fest. They have released three albums: To a Distant Shore in 2017, Midnight Circus in 2018 and their latest, Meaning of Life in 2021. Wakefire’s music will put a smile on your face, get you up and dancing and have you humming the songs long after the show!
Wakefire – website