Our guests are Sheila and Tony Davoren, organizers of the 5th annual Celtic Bayou Festival to be held on March 13 and 14, 2020 at Warehouse 535 in Lafayette. The festival is a family-friendly event celebrating the Celtic Culture. After listening to this episode of Discover Lafayette, you will not want to miss the Festival’s activities which will immerse you in everything Celtic!
Sheila and Tony love all aspects of their native Celtic traditions and delight in telling the story of their roots and why they are passionate about sharing it with Acadiana and beyond. The Celtic culture actually shares quite a bit in common with the Acadian/Creole culture we so easily take for granted. Tony explained that the Irish have a name for their own brand of joie de vivre: “craic” means enjoying good company, having a few drinks in a party atmosphere, singing and enjoying music, cutting up, dancing, and of course, eating. Who doesn’t like that??
A little background: Sheila is first generation Irish-American and began Irish dancing at the age of four. She enjoyed a competitive career at the World Championship level and danced professionally with The Chieftains, a Grammy award-winning Irish group. (As an aside, the Chieftains will be playing in Lafayette on March 13, 2019, at the Heymann Performing Arts Center.)
At the age of 25, Sheila was one of the first Americans to be invited to perform with Riverdance, a theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance. She directed and produced “Dancing at the Crossroads”, an instructional video, starring fellow Riverdance performers. The video has since become a staple study guide for those dancers wishing to be certified in Irish dance.
Currently, Sheila directs Camp Rince Ceol held each summer in California and New York and teaches Irish dance classes in Metairie and Lafayette. Visit https://irishdancecamp.com for more information.
Tony Davoren, known as “The Irish Guy,” is from Wicklow, Ireland. He began his singing career with the Celtic Irish choral group Anuna and also toured with Riverdance. He has appeared at the Radio City Music Hall and performed for the Prince of Wales at The Albert Hall in London.
Tony has recorded with Sting, The Chieftains, and Sinead O’Connor. He is also featured on two Grammy Award-winning recordings: “The Long Black Veil” and “Riverdance the Show.” He directed the music for “Dancing at the Crossroads” and has produced recordings for Irish soloists Katie McMahon and Dave Donohue.
Tony and Sheila first met while performing in Riverdance the Lee Company. Their mutual love of music, dance and enjoying their Irish culture drew them together and they were married in 2002. After falling in love with Acadiana after visiting several times while on break from tours, they viewed South Louisiana as their cherished getaway. In 2003, tiring of the frigid temperatures they endured in New York, they purchased property in Sunset while on a visit to attend Festival International. The Davorens still live in Sunset today with their three children.
The 2020 Celtic Bayou Festival features musical performances by traditional Celtic bands, unique events such as the Lenten Crawfish Boil, Guinness Cook-Off Competition sponsored by Rader Solutions, Bailey’s Bake-Off Competition, Jameson Pub Crawl, a Genealogy tent for Acadiana people to trace their Celtic roots, and more. Visit http://www.celticbayoufest.com for a complete listing of events and attractions.
Celtic Bayou Festival is a non-profit, 501 c3 organization and relies on community support in order to share their lovely Celtic traditions. Please consider supporting CBF with a donation. For more information, please visit http://www.celticbayoufest.com.
This post was updated March 5, 2020 to reflect current event schedule.