2021 Headliners- A Cherished Few!

Fans of Celtic music will be very familiar with the names Joanie Madden, Mary Coogan and Mirella Murray from the legendary Irish music and dance ensemble, Cherish the Ladies. Cherish the Ladies is the long-running, Grammy-nominated, Irish American supergroup that formed in New York City in 1985 to celebrate the rise of women in what had been a male-dominated Irish music scene. They have since toured the world performing thousands of concerts from the White House to the Olympics to symphony orchestras and along the way have recorded 18 outstanding albums and won an Emmy for their PBS television program, “An Irish Homecoming”.

Joanie Madden is an All-Ireland champion flute and whistle player, a consummate musician and entertainer and one of the most revered figures in Irish music today. She is the top selling whistle player in history and has amassed a plethora of awards and citations to her credit including The Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award and the esteemed USA Artist Fellowship Grant, naming her as one of the most innovative and influential artists in America. The Irish voice Newspaper named Joanie one the of top 25 Irish Americans for the past quarter century and most recently she was named the recipient of the prestigious 2021 National Heritage Award from the United States Government, the highest award the nation bestows on a traditional artist and she is now considered a national living treasure in recognition for her lifetime achievement, artistic excellence and contributions to our nation’s cultural heritage.

Like Joanie, Mary Coogan is a founding member of Cherish the Ladies and has been playing the guitar, banjo and mandolin for enthusiastic audiences around the world for over 36 years. An outstanding teacher and musician, she is always in high demand for her sensitive accompaniment.

Mirella Murray hails from Connemara in County Galway and is an All-Ireland champion accordion player who joined Cherish the Ladies over 18 years ago. She is a renowned instrumentalist and teacher who has taught an astonishing 23 All-Ireland champions.

Rounding out the group is Bruce Foley who has been performing for over 30 years in the Irish and American folk scene. A gifted guitarist and Uilleann piper, Bruce is also graced with a beautiful voice and a large repertoire of songs. He has shared the stage with such notables as Andy M Stewart, Tommy Sands, Pete Seeger and Cherish the Ladies.

While on lockdown due to Covid-19, Joanie, Mary, Mirella and Bruce have joined forces. Their unique blend of tunes and ballads along with their fun and entertaining approach has been delighting audiences throughout the pandemic. We are absolutely beyond thrilled that they are performing at CelticFest Mississippi!