About Celtic Crossings

Cecilia McDonnell

Executive Producer, Celtic Crossings
Cecilia McDonnell

Celtic Crossings began in San Francisco in 1995. Cecilia started Irish step dancing when she was barely four years old and has been promoting Irish culture ever since. Dragged along with her many siblings to perform at local hospitals, churches, schools, cultural centers and parades, they were ‘Irish eyes smiling’ and singing songs about ‘Mary, the Rose of Tralee’ before she even knew what a vale was.

During a short tour with Michael Flatley and the Chieftains, she began to truly understand the immeasurable joy that traditional music creates. Celtic Crossings reflects the journeys and intersections between Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton families with a special emphasis and commitment to their rich cultural heritage.

In 1995, Cecilia used her background in finance and community relations to create one of the first ever artist-owned independent Irish recording labels. In addition to bringing her expertise as a former Executive Director of The Charles Schwab Corporation Foundation, Cecilia capitalized on the exploding internet boom of the Bay Area to extend artist performances and distribution to a hungry international audience.  Above all, she is known as an artists’ advocate.

In addition to Irish artists, Cecilia represents select international performers including Vladimir Popean, former Principal Conductor and Chorus Master of the National Opera Company, Cluj, Romania.  She also helps fundraise for Montréal based l’Ensemble Performance du Canada and their 2016 International Tour of China.

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráinGearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, PhD

Advisor, Celtic Crossings

Author, Flowing Tides:  History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape (Oxford University Press, New York, 2016)

Gearóid has loved Irish history since he was barely 11 years old. He grew up surrounded by men, women and ordinary families who personally helped secure Irish independence from the colonial grip of England.

As a child in 1966, he felt the pride of his young country during its 50th anniversary celebrations. He learned Ireland’s language, music, regional history and philosophy in the kitchens, pubs and rural roads of his beloved Clare.

As Ireland embraces her 100th birthday, he finds himself passing those stories on to his own young son.  A highly respected academic and musician, Gearóid has famously been appointed to both of the only University Chairs of Irish Studies endowed in North America in over 15 years:

The Johnson Chair in Québec and Canadian Irish StudiesConcordia University, Montréal (2009- present)

The Jefferson Smurfit Endowed Professor of Irish StudiesUniversity Missouri, St Louis (2000-09)

Gearóid credits Clare Champion editor Frank O’Dea for putting on him on the right path and for publishing a young nineteen year old’s perspective of the funeral of legendary Irish accordion master Joe Cooley.  O’Dea encouraged him throughout the early years with strong advice:

“Keep doing what you are doing. 

Get your facts right.  

Tell the story.

Witness history!”

Ó hAllmhuráin holds five All-Ireland Championships as a concertina player, uilleann piper and former member of the Kilfenora Céilí BandHe has presented over 1,000 concerts on four continents during the past thirty years.

He is also the author of A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music (Dublin: O’Brien Press, 1998/ 2003/2008/2013/Kindle edition)

Coming soon: