A wide-ranging evening of music from Ireland, India, and just about everywhere

Aodh Og O’ Tuama (right) and Christy Martin of Four Shillings Short at the Red Lodge Civic Center.

The venerable Red Lodge Civic Center again showed that it can be a place for wonderful entertainment. On Saturday evening, July 27, the Red Lodge FRINGE Festival presented a program by the duo Four Shillings Short that delighted nearly 100-strong audience with a varied program that ranged from the music of Ireland to the music of India.

The concert was a prelude to the Festival of Nations, which happens again this year on the first weekend of August. Four Shillings Short have appeared numerous times as headliner entertainers at the Festival of Nations. Their absence from the Red Lodge scene the past two years is because they have been on a highly successful tour of the eastern U.S. Our community is one of the few in Montana that have been favored with an appearance by Four Shillings Short on their return to the western U.S. Four Shillings Short apparently have many fans in Red Lodge and the surrounding area. Though Red Lodge was blessed by several concurrent events, their concert received a good turnout; and the applause of the audience filled the Civic Center with a roar reminiscent of the grand Festival of Nations events of the past.

The duo is composed of a native of Ireland, Aodh Og O’Tuama - who plays the penny whistles, recorders, krumhorn, various drums, spoons (yes!), and he sings many of the old Gaelic songs of Ireland - and a native of California, Christy Martin. Christy plays about a dozen stringed instruments, including the Indian sitar, which drew much attention from the audience during the intermission. The audience was informed that the sitar was her first instrument, growing up in California when Indian music was becoming popular through association with the Beatles and other “new music” bands. Christy performed one piece of traditional Indian music, but the audience was especially captivated hearing this exotic instrument accompanying a traditional Scottish ballad: “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose.”

Visitor, Loren Acton, Scientist Astronaut from Bozeman, commented “The Four Shillings Short concert was super special -- well worth driving from Bozeman to attend. Aodh Og and Christy are not only amazingly talented and musicians, they are the most approachable folks imaginable... The rich musical scene in Red Lodge was measurably enhanced by this production by The Fringe.”

The evening was over too soon, though Aodh Og O’ Tuama and Christy Martin offered a promise that they will be back in Montana next year. For those who missed the concert (and many who had been there) Four Shillings Short performed the music for the Sunday morning mass at St. Agnes Church. They offered selections from a Gaelic mass that Aodh Og organizes every year in the San Francisco area.

THE FRINGE FESTIVAL is an initiative sponsored by the group, A PLACE FOR OUR ARTS, and the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation. The group’s mission is to encourage the Arts in the Red Lodge area. For information about future FRINGE events,visitredlodgefringefe stival.org. To inquire about A PLACE FOR OUR ARTS, stop by the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation located at 122 Hauser Ave. (across from the post office) or call 446-2820.