When it comes to Irish music and dance, most people's perceptions are shaped by a handful of touring companies, some of which are more concerned with catering to the audience than honoring the art forms' traditions.
That was the conclusion Kevin Crosby, his brother, Eamon, and a mutual friend, fiddler Michael McClintock, came to after living abroad in the early 2000s.
"It had a very tacky kind of feel compared to what Irish music is at home," Kevin Crosby said.
When they returned to Ireland, they decided to produce their own street show to provide audiences with a more accurate view of their native music and dance.
They christened their group Music at the Crossroads and began performing in Galway City in 2005, featuring a cast of young, energetic musicians' performances of rearranged traditional and world tunes. After local businesses complained about their audiences clogging city streets, the city council offered a rent-free deal to perform at a local arts center, where they sold out six nights a week, Crosby said.
IF YOU GO
What: Celtic Crossroads.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Where: Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, 2211 Dug Gap Battle Road, Dalton, Ga.
Venue website: www.daltontradecenter.com.
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Rebranded as Celtic Crossroads, the group made its international debut in New Hampshire in 2007. Leading up to that first performance, Crosby said, he was concerned the lavish praise promoters had heaped on them might inflate expectations too much, but his concerns proved groundless.
"The response was phenomenal," he said. "After the first number of the show got a standing ovation, I thought they were just being nice to us [but] throughout the show, they were just absolutely going berserk."
Now, Celtic Crossroads tours for months on end, featuring two-hour shows led by seven multi-instrumentalists playing a set list split evenly between traditional Irish tunes, world music and dancing. Monday, the group will perform at Dalton's Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center.
To those who have only experienced Irish music through companies such as Riverdance, Celtic Crossroads will provide a dynamic, highly energetic and thoroughly traditional representation of the genre.
"The show is always changing," Crosby said. "You'll go from where everyone is stomping their feet and clapping along to where people are taken away by heart-wrenching vocals."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205.