News & Events

Makem & Spain performs at UMPI

“America’s top Irish folk group” Makem & Spain pays a visit to the University of Maine at Presque Isle for a night of music in precise, three-part harmonies on Tuesday, April 5, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. Admission is free but donations for future cultural arts programming will be accepted at the door.

Makem & Spain will deliver their northern Maine performance in support of their album, Sessions, which they recorded with folk legends including Dave Mallett and Jonathan Edwards. They also will feature songs from their newest album, Four Pounds a Day.

This American Irish Folk ensemble has taken the international stage with incredible vocal power and stage presence, capturing the essence of their genre while standing out as something quite unique. They have honed their craft over nearly two decades of international performances and are considered one of the truly stalwart, road-tested Irish vocal groups available. Makem & Spain have played before millions of people from Canada to Texas, from California to the Caribbean and all over Ireland, highlighting national PBS specials and popular Irish talk shows along the way.

Utilizing a host of instruments, three male vocals, and three-part harmonies, Makem & Spain blend perfectly for what many have described as a wall of sound. The three are at their best onstage where their talent and enthusiasm draw in fans who have never experienced the joy of folk music.

Rory Makem was born in Drogheda, County Louth, about an hour north of Dublin. He continues the lineage of one of Irish music’s dynasties, begun by his grandmother Sarah Makem, who was sought after by song collectors for her store of traditional Irish songs. His father, Tommy Makem, was the modern day Bard of Armagh. Now considered an icon, he helped to bring Irish music out of the corner and into the international spotlight, where it has remained ever since.

Brothers Mickey and Liam Spain also learned Irish songs at their father’s knee. Mickey’s rich, baritone voice and Liam’s mastery of stringed instruments quickly found a home when Rory met the Spains and they realized the power of their combined talents.

Folk songs are engrained in both families and their songwriting contains the timeless qualities of folk classics, songs of the worker, songs of the sea and Irish culture. They tell the tale of Ireland and its people—a culture that has undergone terrible strife, but remains strong.

With Rory Makem on banjo, Mickey Spain on guitar, and Liam Spain on Bouzouki, community members are encouraged to come out for a night of Irish folk music not to be forgotten.

For more information about the April 5 performance at UMPI, contact Gayla Shaw at 768-9452 or umpi@maine.edu. For more information about the group, visit their website at http://www.makem.com/.