‘St. Patrick Goes To The Punjab’ – Indo-Celtic music and dance fest.

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Joe O'Donnell's Shkayla headline this event

St.Patrick Goes to The Punjab

Indo–Celtic Music and Dance – Shamrocks and Saris

Coventry Irish Society St. Patrick’s Festival Event

Two of Coventry’s longest established communities celebrate each other’s culture in a spectacular evening of music and dance on March 19th at The Albany Theatre, Coventry. The project is the brainchild of Joe O’Donnell, one of Coventry’s finest Celtic musicians and a resident of the City for 20 years.

Joe has a lifelong interest in Indian music and its likely influence on European music, including Celtic music, not least of all his own. Joe has assembled a talented array of Coventry’s musicians and dancers to explore this rich cultural association. They will combine traditional and new material, much of which will be seen and heard for the first time.

The artists involved are folk group Comhaltas, seniors from the McHugh Irish Dancing School, Uillean Piper Aiden O’Brien, Asian dancer Sabrina, and Fine Lines featuring tabla player Juggy Rihal, voted Best Musician in the Bhangra Music Awards 2015.

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla, of course tops the bill. Especially for this event the band will perform some of Joe’s celebrated but seldom-heard album ‘Gaodhal’s Vision’. The original recording featured Ireland’s greatest blues and rock guitarist Rory Gallagher, with whom Joe worked extensively in the 1970s.

The event is being promoted in partnership with Coventry Irish Society. The Society has recently expanded its remit into supporting Irish artistic activity in order to increase awareness and develop links within the wider community.

More About the Artists

Joe O’Donnell’s Shkayla:

Joe O’Donnell grew up in Ireland and came to England in the early 1970’s, working with East of Eden, the Woods Band (later Steeleye Span), Rory Gallagher and many others. He plays violin and mandolin, sings and composes. Shkayla (‘Stories’ in Gaelic) has been in its current form for seven years and has three albums to its credit. Also in the band are Martin Barter (keyboards, vocals), Si Hayden (guitar, vocals), Adrian Litvinoff (bass, vocals) and Karen Milne (drums).

Fine Lines

This recently emerging band combine the sounds of Flamenco guitar, funky jazz and Indian taals in a new fusion adventure that is as exciting as it is novel. The trio launched last year and features David Shepherd on classical guitar, Wayne Matthews on acoustic bass guitar and Juggy Rihal on tabla.


Sabrina has been dancing for over ten years. She presents a variety of styles including Kathak, Semi-classical, Bhangra and Bollywood. Sabrina has performed at events such as The Olympics Torch ceremony at Coventry & Birmingham, Asian Spring, Positive Images, Coventry Mela, Leicester Mela, and most recently at The Belgrade Theatre.

McHugh Irish Dancing School

McHugh Irish Dancing School: the school has been established for 26 years and its students have danced all over England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Europe and America attaining medals at all the major Irish dancing events. The School had the great honour of dancing at the reception held at St Mary’s Guild Hall when the Irish President Michael Higgins visited Coventry in 2014.

Aiden O’Brien

Aiden O’Brien plays Uillean pipes, the Irish form of bagpipe. He has toured internationally, including China and America with Dedanann, led by revered violinist Frankie Gavin, and the R.T.E. Orchestra. After several years’ absence from the music scene he is marking his return in style with this appearance.


Comhaltas is internationally active in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music. The Coventry Branch has a music session every Tuesday at the Hearsall Pub where they also hold a number of classes for beginners and young people.