Leahy, the awe-inspiring eight-member brother and sister act from Canada, are a multi-talented musical collective who leave onlookers breathless from the moment they hit the stage.
At the center of this exceptional group is the oldest brother Donnell, who is internationally proclaimed as one of the best fiddle players on the planet. There is a dynamic that takes place with Donnell, live or in recordings that connects eight different musicians and the audience with a genuine, spontaneous, and spectacular energy and excitement.
The raven-haired Leahy clan grew up in Lakefield, Ontario. Ancestor Michael Leahy settled there in 1825 from Ireland and brought with him a deep family musical tradition. It's no accident that a healthy communal vibe exists within Leahy. Each of the Leahy children learned to play fiddle from their father, while their mother, a champion step-dancer born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, taught them to sing, dance and play piano.
As teens, the siblings toured across Canada with their parents as the Leahy Family, and quickly became favorites on the festival and fair circuit. Recognition increased with the release of a documentary, Leahy: Music Most of All, which won a 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Student Film.In 1996, the group burst onto the international scene with the release of their debut self-titled CD. Subsequent touring earned Leahy a total of three Juno Awards - as Best Instrumental Group and Best New Group in 1997, and an award for Best Country Group or Duo in 1998. It was on the 1998 Juno Award telecast when Leahy's live performance was seen by pop/country star Shania Twain, who invited the group to join her upcoming two-year worldwide tour. Leahy was instantaneously catapulted into an international spotlight, performing in stadiums and amphitheatres, where they were rewarded with standing ovations each and every night. Leahy played 175 tour dates with Twain and appeared on her two major U.S. television network specials.
Leahy's genuine love of a diverse range of music fuels their own uncompromising creativity. While many artists narrow their focus once they become popular, Leahy continues to expand theirs, while never losing the essence of their unique and irresistible style. By refusing to be bound to the conventions of any one genre, they have forged a sound that can honestly be called unique and have proven that a musical style defying easy definition can still find a large and wide audience.
"It is liberating to see that there are no boundaries," stresses Donnell. "Over the course of a year, we perform at jazz, bluegrass, country and Celtic festivals. We play for classical audiences, we've played with heavy metal bands, and it works every time."
In November 2004, Leahy wowed President Bush, Prime Minister Paul Martin and the rest of the dignitaries at a U.S./Canada State Dinner at the Canadian Museum Of Civilization. After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, the group ended with a special encore request from President Bush, a rousing version of the Texas-inspired Orange Blossom Special.
Leahy will perform at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center, Wednesday and Thursday, February 2 and 3 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $28/adult and $23/senior citizen/student. Box Office phone is 717-231-ROSE (7673). Advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Visit RLAC online at the Website below.