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Doing anything Oct. 14-20, 2018? Perhaps you’d like to come to Ireland with me. This year we’ll explore the Kingdom of Kerry. Yes, the Dingle Peninsula really looks like this. I’ll also introduce you to the Ring of Kerry, not just its beauty but its turbulent history and its most famous son, the man who created modern Ireland – Daniel O’Connell, The Liberator. I’ll provide you with a list of books and movies that will whet your appetite for this magical county – and introduce you to Daniel’s aunt, Black Eileen O’Connell who wrote one of the great Gaelic laments, Caoineadh Airt O’Laoaire for her beloved husband killed for refusing to obey the sectarian Penal Laws. We’ll also travel across Munster to my hometown, Wexford, where I’ll perform for you, and we’ll party afterwards in the infamous Mary‘s Bar. Then on to historical and literary Dublin – we’ll spend a day and night in James Joyce’s hometown. You’ll get to see the real Ireland from an historical, political and social point of view and meet the real people. For full info speak to Joe at 866-486-8772 or or Here’s all the info

James Connolly, international socialist and leader of the Irish Citizen Army, disappeared from his headquarters at Liberty Hall, Dublin, on January 19, 1916. When he returned four days later his only comment was, “I have been through hell.” He had been held captive by the clandestine Irish Republican Brotherhood – a group that he had little in common with and often derided. In April 1916 he enthusiastically joined them in an unsuccessful – and some would say – suicidal attempt to overthrow British rule in Ireland. MORE

A History of Irish Music

From Medieval Wexford to Midtown Manhattan Larry Kirwan tells the story of Irish music to a backdrop of war, social upheaval and revolution. From Viking invader to Sean O’ Riada, Oliver Cromwell to Rory Gallagher, James Connolly to Van Morrison in a clash of uilleann pipes, armalites and electric guitars. The story moves with the Diaspora to The Pogues London, Dropkick Murphys Boston and Black 47 s New York City. Pulsing, passionate, occasionally tragic – through the eyes of an insider. 347 pages. LARRY KIRWAN S JOURNEY THROUGH IRISH MUSIC IS A MEMOIR, A LOVE STORY, A HISTORY OF MODERN IRELAND AND THUS UNIQUE. A VIVID, BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN ADVENTURE. Thomas Keneally, Author of Schindler s List
$20. Pre-order now at SHOP, ships mid-March.

RISE UP is now available at all gigs. Larry Kirwan has compiled 15 tracks of remastered favorites and rarities recorded over Black 47’s controversial career. From their first recording of Patriot Game two months after forming to their final shot with US OF A 2014 Black 47 show why many have hailed them as America’s primary political band. 78 minutes of white hot rebellion, resistance & redemption!
For a list of tracks and pick up a copy — shop

LAST CALL is Black 47’s final album. It is available on all digital platforms. (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) You can also buy the CD or download the 13 tracks — here.
You can find the lyrics, chord charts, a summary of the songs, pictures of the players and guests, and much more at the Black 47 Archive.

★★★★ On “Last Call,” Black 47 serves a 200 proof cocktail made with a shot of funk and two fingers of Irish malarkey thrown in for good measure. Larry Kirwan saves the best for last, using roots, rock, and reggae to bring the final curtain down on the most influential Irish American band in history.”
— Mike Farragher/Irish Voice

Black 47 at Connolly’s of Times Square
February 8 th

After a sold-out show on New Year’s Eve make sure you get your tickets early to one of Black 47’s last shows in their old stomping grounds at Connolly’s. Tickets now on sale for Feb. 8th at the pub or HERE.
Book earlybook often!

LAST CALL! Are you aboard?

As you know by now Black 47 will disband in November 2014 exactly 25 years after our first gig.
What a long, strange and amazing trip – from the bars of the Bronx to Leno, Letterman and O’Brien. From Paddy Reilly’s Pub to Farm Aid with Neil Young and Johnny Cash.
But none of it would have been possible without you – our friends and fans who stuck with us through thick and thin. You know well that Black 47 has always been more than a band. We’ve fought to get political prisoners out of jail, keep immigrant churches open and be a voice for the voiceless – Irish and otherwise.
read more.
We could have run down the clock on this coming year of gigs and farewells, but instead we decided to record a new album, Last Call. It’s celebratory, full of passion, and audiences are already singing along. It’s got a whole new cast of Black 47 characters, including Salsa O’Keefe, Shotsie Murphy, Legsy Malone, Culchie Prince, Dublin Brasser, Filipino Sister, along with a ballad for Brendan Behan and a song for the lost Irish sent as slaves to Jamaica by Oliver Cromwell.
As you can imagine, this will be a meaningful album for us and we’d love for you to play a part in the making of it! We’ve teamed up with PledgeMusic to make this happen. You can pre-order a copy of LAST CALL and be well ahead of the general public. There are many more items and experiences that you can pledge for, including an opportunity to sing with us on Shanty Irish Baby, get a signed copy of the original lyrics, have Geoff Blythe record your phone message, make a home for Freddie’ famous Black Trombone, take drums or bass lessons from Thomas Hamlin or Joseph “Bearclaw” Burcaw, or have Larry Kirwan help you with your song, play or novel.
Everyone who gets involved will have their name permanently engraved on a Last Call Comrades Page at You’ll also get access to a special ‘pledger only’ part of the Black 47 PledgeMusic site where we’ll share music, pictures and videos from the recording with you. We begin tracking on November 5th and hope to release the album in late January 2014.
Whatever way you care to get involved will be deeply appreciated – just as we’ve valued your support down all the crazy days since 1989. Thanks so much and take care of yourselves, okay? See you at a gig over the next year. All the best.
Larry Kirwan

Hard Times to reopen at the cell from Jan. 9th to Feb. 16th

Almeria Campbell in “Hard Times” photo by Steven Simring By the end of the evening, the audience is up, cheering and stamping. In “Hard Times,” Mr. Kirwan has not only delivered a knockout entertainment, he’s done a public service, reacquainting us with the Foster songbook and the striving, teeming America for which it was written. New York Times
Hard Times will reopen at the cell, 338 W. 23rd St., NYC from Jan. 9th to Feb. 16th. Tickets at $18 can be purchased here where dates and times of performance can also be found (mostly Thursdays through Sundays)

Hard Times had already sold out by word of mouth before a glowing New York Times review brought waiting-list crowds to the cell last year. This riveting new American musical that touched the hearts of public and critics alike will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Stephen Foster’s death on Jan. 13th, 2014.

Hard Times (written by Larry Kirwan of Black 47, directed by Kira Simring and produced by the cell) takes place six months before Foster’s death on July 13, 1863, days after the Battle of Gettysburg, when New York City exploded in the Civil War Draft Riots. The teeming immigrant Irish population was outraged that enlistment could be avoided by payment of $300. Down in the notorious Five Points neighborhood where up until then Irish and African-Americans lived in harmony and often “amalgamated,” Nelly Blythe runs an integrated dancehall/saloon.

Stephen Foster, ashamed of his role in the creation of minstrelsy and blackface, and haunted by memories of his wife (for whom he wrote Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair), seeks refuge in Nelly’s to compose one of his last songs. As violence escalates in the streets, Foster becomes entangled in the simmering tensions that arise between Owen Duignan, a charismatic young Irish entertainer, Thomas Jefferson, Nelly’s black handyman, and Michael Jenkins, a nativist Bowery Boy with little love for outsiders but an obsession with Nelly, a freeborn black woman.

In this watershed American moment, we witness the forging of Tap from the exhilarating interplay of African-American and Irish dance, learn why Foster chose to end his days in the squalor of the Five Points, and experience the birth of modern New York City. We also rediscover the genius of Stephen Foster, as the multi-talented cast ebulliently sweeps the dust off his wonderful songs and in so doing allows us a glimpse of the tumultuous glory of America at a crossroads in her history.

Back to a Simple Time, When Things Were About to Become Difficult
‘Hard Times: An American Musical’ at the Cell Theater
“Gangs of New York” may have helped to revive the memory of Five Points, the notorious 19th-century slum in Lower Manhattan, but no one probably considered it the stuff of song and dance — until Larry Kirwan, the novelist, playwright and, not incidentally, leader of the rock band Black 47. Now at the Cell Theater as part of the 1st Irish Theater Festival, Mr. Kirwan’s rousing “Hard Times: An American Musical” examines the clashes among nativists, Irish immigrants and free blacks, ingeniously using the life and works of Stephen Foster, America’s first great songwriter, to tell the tale.

It’s the summer of 1863, and Foster (Jed Peterson) is holed up in his favorite Five Points saloon, trying to eke out another song as he slides deeper into his cups. Just outside, the Draft Riots are starting, and the very character of the Points — a neighborhood where poor whites and blacks live together easily enough — is under siege, with ethnic frictions about to explode, presaging the difficult future that awaits the city after the Civil War ends.

The crowd in the bar includes Nelly Blyth (Almeria Campbell), the black woman who owns it; Owen Duignan (John Charles McLaughlin), the young Irishman who fronts her house band; Thomas Jefferson (Stephane Duret), Nelly’s black handyman; and Michael Jenkins (Philip Callen), a nativist New Yorker who hopes to court Nelly. In flashback, we also meet Foster’s wife, Jane (Erin West), for whom he wrote “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair.” Tensions are eased by Foster’s songs, though the music is also used to comment on the building drama.

Placing Foster’s songs in an ideal setting to understand their impact, Mr. Kirwan has reinvigorated them, with members of the full-throated cast singing a fiery “Camptown Races”; a tender “Oh, Susanna”; a soulful “Old Folks at Home”; a stirring “Hard Times Come Again No More”. (No slouch with a lyric himself, Mr. Kirwan has added the tart stanza or two to Foster classics and contributed a couple of songs as well.)

While clearly respectful of Foster’s legacy, Mr. Kirwan does make one leap, intimating that he was gay, a conclusion no biographer has reached. Still, for the purposes of this story, the speculation fits, informing Foster’s drinking, his long separation from his wife and child, and the melancholy that laced many of his later songs.

Under Kira Simring’s sure-handed direction, “Hard Times” bursts with vitality: the Cell, an intimate space, becomes the saloon, burlap draped along the walls, a tattered flag hanging. The choreography, by Joe Barros, morphs Irish step-dancing into something close to tap. And the show’s band of five men, led by Andrew Smithson, feel like characters themselves, joining in the revelry when the pace quickens.

By the end of the evening, the audience is up, cheering and stamping. In “Hard Times,” Mr. Kirwan has not only delivered a knockout entertainment, he’s done a public service, reacquainting us with the Foster songbook and the striving, teeming America for which it was written. — By DANIEL M. GOLD

Hard Times bursts with life, thanks to Kira Simring’s inventive staging and the superb singing and dancing performed to the accompaniment of a first rate, five-piece band. The tension is immediately established when young Irish singer/dancer Owen (a terrific John Charles McLaughlin) performs a bitterly angry rendition of “Camptown Races” in blackface. By the near-climactic, rousing rendition of “Hard Times Come Again No More,” you may find yourself believing they won’t. New York Post

The small cast infuses their roles with intensity and detail as well as musical muscle. Director Kira Simring makes intriguing use of the small Cell Theatre space. Choreographer Joe Barros delivers robust dancing based on Irish and African-American traditions, and music director Andrew Smithson gives vibrancy and power to the score, which combines Foster’s classic Americana with Kirwan’s modern sensibilities. Backstage

Hard Time’s music—original songs by Foster updated by Black 47 member Kirwan—is gorgeous. Particularly striking is McLaughlin’s somber version of “Gentle Annie,” a genuinely heartfelt song that Foster based on a traditional Irish melody. Also charming is “Hard Times Come Again No More,” a soaring, at times-a cappella rendition from the entire cast. Village Voice

Musicals can be irritating, their manufactured emotion unbearably phony. Larry Kirwan’s “Hard Times,” however, is not just the best of the genre I’ve seen, but truly affecting. The rest of the audience was also demonstrably moved at one of the extra performances laid on during the show’s largely sold-out run as part of the 1st Irish Theater Festival. This is the story of the hard birth of the modern U.S., told mostly through the songs of Stephen Foster. Irish Echo

Just as Tony Kushner was able to bring into focus his understanding of the hard times facing America near the close of the twentieth century with his “Angels in America” Larry Kirwan has been able to successfully bring into focus the issues that face twenty-first century America and threaten to damage the very core of its credo. “Hard Times” is a remarkable and memorable moment of brilliant theatre. Theatre Reviews Limited

True to the melting pot that was Five Points, Kirwan takes the colors in Foster’s melodies and paints broad strokes of Cajun, gospel, bare knuckled piano boogie woogie, jump blues, and of course, Irish jigging and reeling. Irish Voice

Hard Times is an ebullient, stirring and relevant American musical. “Old Folks at Home” is a revelation. As the song moves toward its heartfelt conclusion, it becomes downright moving. NY Irish Arts

The Last St. Patrick’s Day Show at BB Kings

Black 47 will play its 25th and last St. Patrick’s Day Show in New York City on March 17th at BB Kings. Tickets now on sale at the club and here.

SiriusXM will also broadcast our last St. Patrick’s Day show live from BB’s.
In honor of the event we are playing a new song, Saint Patrick’s Day from Last Call.
“I’ll love you forever on St. Patrick’s Day.”

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Black 47 will appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on St. Patrick’s Day.

Big Morning Buzz Live! with Nick Lachey

Black 47 will play two songs on Big Morning Buzz Live! with Nick Lachey on St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy Holidays/Christmas/New Year’s
Gift from Black 47

Download New Year’s Eve in Olde Tymes Square MP3 (3.7M)
from the ‘Last Call’ recording sessions.
also available on SoundCloud

What a long strange trip over the last decade or so. We began 2000 with Trouble in the Land – pretty prophetic when all is said and done, and a couple of years back we released Bankers and Gangsters – the title says it all. 2014 will mark our final CD, LAST CALL.

For Mychal, Richie and the other cherished fans who departed back in 2001; for Strummer, Danno Laursen, Johnny Byrne, Big John Murphy and all those who worked with the band; for the many who have celebrated New Year’s Eve with us over the last 21 years; and, of course, for new friends who’ve come aboard in this decade, thanks to all of you for your support and friendship.

We only perform this song once a year and on New Year’s Eve it’s just for you, so feel free to come along and video or audio tape it at midnight.

In early November 2014, exactly 25 years after our first gig, Black 47 will disband.

There are no fights, differences over musical policy, or general skulduggery, we remain as good friends as when we first played together. We just have a simple wish to finish up at the top our game after 25 years of relentless touring and, as always, on our own terms. The last gig we played at the South Buffalo Irish Festival was as good as any we’ve ever performed. Our goal now is to play another full year plus and dedicate all of those gigs to you who’ve supported us through thick and thin. Rather than just running out the clock we will be recording “Last Call,” an album of new songs in November and as usual will be working out the material onstage. We would like to say goodbye to you all personally and will make every effort to come play in your city, town, college, pub, club, performing arts center and should you wish to alert your local promoter you can download booking particulars here (PDF 1.92MB) .
Black 47 has always been more than a band, we’ve spoken out for the nationalist population in the North of Ireland, against the war but for the troops in Iraq, for our gay brothers & sisters, immigrants, legal and undocumented, as well as for the voiceless of 1845-47; but in the end it all comes down to the music, the songs, and the desire to give audiences the time of their lives and send them home smiling and, perhaps, with a question on their lips. We look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming gigs. Thanks for the support and the memories – lets make many more over the next year.

Larry Kirwan’s Celtic Invasion

In thousands of gigs with Black 47 and eight years of hosting Celtic Crush I’ve kept an ear out for great talent and top shelf songs. I wanted to create an album that would open a gateway into the world of Celtic Rock. Here it is! CELTIC INVASION contains songs by The Waterboys, Peatbog Faeries, Runrig, Black 47, Hothouse Flowers, Pat McGuire, Barleyjuice, John Spillane, Shilelagh Law, Celtic Cross, Blaggards, and Garrahan’s Ghost. Turn up the volume, open your ears, you have a treat in store. Get your copy now!

Rocks Off Concert Cruise

All aboard. This is our last cruise. Should be a doozy. We’re takin’ no prisoners and if we sail off the end of the earth, so be it.

Irish Night with The Mets

Black 47 played Shea Stadium more times than The Beatles. On Friday, Aug. 1st they expect to go one up at Citifield. Come to Irish Night and see The Mets/Black 47 send The Giants on the “road to ruin.” Get your limited edition Irish Night t-shirt when you order at:

Smithwick’s Sessions

We’re looking forward to playing on the Smithwick’s Sessions Pub Rock Tour every Thursday in September in Hoboken, NJ. (no cover)

Last Connolly’s Gig

Gimlets, Jägermeister, Long Island Iced Tea? Pick your poison, but do it with us one last time at Connolly’s. If P2’s there we’ll all get naked. If Nico shows up we’ll all have to sign waivers.

Famine Commemoration Gala

Irish Network- New Orleans (IN-NOLA) Famine Commemoration Gala | 7:00-11:00 (patron party at 6:00)

Discounted tickets have been made available to Black 47 fans. Black 47 fans can save $50 per ticket by using the code: IFCGALA when purchasing tickets. Tickets can be purchased here.

The IN-NOLA black tie event at New Orleans’ historic Gallier Hall will feature New Orleans‘ cuisine and entertainment by the renowned Celtic rock band Black 47, and New York Celtic-Jazz singer Tara O’Grady with the Black Velvet Band, plus traditional Irish music and dancing.

New Orleans has been selected by the Irish Government to host the 2014 International Irish Famine Commemoration (IFC) which will honor New Orleans’ Irish and celebrate the triumph of Famine survivors in the face of tremendous adversity.

B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

Sorry but i’m not not allowed to print what might happen at this gig!! But it is all ages.

Black 47 Archive Last Call

The Black 47 app for Android. Take the band wherever you go

It’s music, gig alerts, videos and more. Get it now for your Android device. It’s a free download and it’s programmed with love by our own Fred Parcells.

Bankers and Gangsters released in 2010

Bankers and Gangsters is vintage Black 47 – uproarious, tuneful, challenging, current and above all, entertaining.

“Bankers and Gangsters is a timely echo of the populist anger being felt around the country towards big bailouts for everyone but the everymanStaten Island Advance

“With the excellent Bankers and Gangsters, Black 47 remind us that substance and a sense of fun are by no means mutually exclusive” All Music Guide

“Cinematic storytelling and an ability to shift nimbly between heavy and light subject matter. There are New York street tales, stories of Irish historical figures, outlandish adventures, and ballads steeped in sadness and loss and its own brawny and bracing brand of Celtic rock” Philadelphia Inquirer

Rockin’ the Bronx: A new novel from Larry Kirwan

In this big, passionate, colourful novel set in 1980-82, the Bronx is burning, Bobby Sands is dying, John Lennon is being stalked, the Reagan Revolution has begun and AIDS is about to be identified. But life goes on in the immigrant bars of Bainbridge Avenue as Sean arrives from Ireland looking for his girlfriend, Mary, and finds a lot more than he bargained for.

“This is a Bronx tale full of raucous life and unvarnished reality. It captures a time when the Bronx had become a synonym for urban decay and conflict, and a new generation of Irish immigrants struggled to get a toehold on America.
There are no ethnic niceties in these pages, no phony-baloney version of multicultural harmony. This is the urban American of the 80s in all its raw squalor and splendor. Every page sparkles with memorable characters and lyrical accuracy.” – Peter Quinn (Banished Children of Eve)

  • Saturday November 15 th
    B.B. King Blues Club & Grill

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“. An unashamedly topical wallop of the early-Seventies Jersey-bar E Street Band and the Combat Rock-era Clash, laced with the mourning siren of uilleann pipes.”
– Rolling Stone

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Robin Hood: Prince of Sherwood (1994) Full Movie

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