Colm Keegan and Laura Durrant Offer Honest, Intimate Performance

Posted by Gerard Longo on

On Thursday night, PBS39 had the pleasure of hosting singer-songwriter Colm Keegan and cellist Laura Durrant for a special, intimate performance. The duo, best known for performing with popular world music group Celtic Thunder, embarked on a North American tour this spring, making a special stop at the PBS39 Public Media and Education Center before wrapping up in Boston on Saturday.

The evening began with a meet and greet for VIP ticketholders, with dessert refreshments catered by McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub & Whiskey Bar. The pair answered questions, took photos, signed autographs and even played a couple of songs to preview what was to come later in the evening.

VIP ticketholders weren’t the only ones who got to meet the duo, who took an intermission during their main set to ensure that they had a chance to interact with everyone in attendance.

These opportunities for one-on-one interaction allowed the audience to get to know the performers, which doubles as an important onstage component. Colm likened Thursday’s intimate performance to an extended version of the solo numbers he performs during Celtic Thunder tours.

“Onstage, it’s just the two of us. There’s no hiding behind any big band or lighting. It’s just us and our instruments, and that’s it,” Keegan said. “Whether the people like it or don’t like it – which, hopefully, they do – at least it’s an honest performance from me and Laura. They get to know the two of us as musicians, as personalities, and further their knowledge of who Colm and Laura are and what they’re about.”

That honesty comes across in every last detail, including the song selections for each stop on the tour.

“We’re not trying to be anyone but ourselves up there, so we wouldn’t want anyone to listen to a song that we ourselves wouldn’t like to listen to,” Keegan said. “Everything we do, every song we arrange was chosen because that’s the kind of music we like.”

A self-made tour
In contrast to the major, coordinated effort associated with a Celtic Thunder tour, it was grassroots determination that brought Colm and Laura around the country and, ultimately, to PBS39. Everything – including transportation – was handled by the pair.

“It’s a lot more hectic on the two of us, but it just means that it’s far more rewarding, as well,” Keegan said. “We literally do everything. When you go on tour with Celtic Thunder, there’s a production team, cast, crew, guys who do your load-ins, and people who organize everything.”

Praising the local arts scene
Thursday marked something of a homecoming for the Celtic duo, who performed with Celtic Thunder at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center this past November.

“Bethlehem has almost become a second home for us,” Keegan said. “I think it’s a reflection of the fact that the people of Pennsylvania, and Bethlehem in particular, want to see a lot of things (involving) Celtic music. They’re very into the arts here. People show up and want to see the shows.”

The dedication of local fans was apparent to Colm, who acknowledged the time constraints under which Thursday’s show was booked and announced.

“We only gave this show in Bethlehem a few weeks’ notice, and there are just short of 100 people here tonight,” Keegan said. “It’s a terrific pleasure for us to be here. We both love this venue so far, and we both know and hope that this will be the first of many nights to come for the two of us in this place.”

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