Spotlight Artists: Girsa

Our next spotlight artists are Girsa, a talented ensemble from Pearl River, NY, comprised of eight young ladies that grew up playing Irish music together. Band member Margaret Dudasik (vocalist /fiddle player) answers our questions below. Special thanks to Mary Dudasik for the introduction and previous spotlight artists Jameson’s Revenge for suggesting Girsa to us.

Photo credit: Christine DeSavino

Band Line-up:
Deirdre Brennan–fiddle, vocals, mandolin
Margaret Dudasik–fiddle, vocals, whistle
Bernadette Flanagan–piano, bodhran
Maeve Flanagan–fiddle, whistle
Pamela Geraghty–guitar, vocals, accordion
Blaithin Loughran–accordion
Emily McShane–piano, vocals, bodhran
Kristen McShane–fiddle

How long have you been performing together?
Going on almost 7 years now.

How did the band’s name come about?
Peter McShane (father to Kristen and Emily) suggested the name. Girsa is a slang term from County Armagh that means “young girls.”

Musical influences:
Where do I begin? Cherish the Ladies, Beoga, Solas, our producer Gabriel Donohue, Lunasa, Téada, Dervish, Brian Conway…the list is never-ending, really!

Favorite venues to play:
We still can’t get over the fact that we got to play at the Dublin Irish Fest (Ohio), Kansas City Irish Fest, and Milwaukee Irish Fest all in one summer. Seeing Girsa included in lineups consisting of our favorite Irish acts was wild! As for NYC, playing for the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, at the Irish Consulate last summer was an incredible honor. And Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers is venue very close to our hearts–some of Girsa’s earliest gigs were played there, and Rory has been so kind to the Irish music community, always offering the pub as a venue for various fundraisers and events.

Blatant self-promotion: What would you like to plug?
Our gigs:

Saturday, February 26, 2011
Ulysses’ Saturday Evening Music Series
Tickets $10
Live music starts at 10pm

95 Pearl St./58 Stone St.
(Hanover Square)
New York, NY
(212) 482-0400
Other upcoming shows:
Saturday, March 12
The Strand Theatre
Lakewood, NJ

Sunday, March 13
13th Annual Irish Festival
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY

Thursday, March 18
Towne Crier Cafe
Tickets $20 advance – $25 at the door
Pawling, NY

facebook: Girsa
twitter: @girsamusic
Youtube: girsamusic

Where can we buy your music?
Our CD is available on our website, And our second album, “A Sweeter Place,” is due within the next two months.

Tell us a story or anecdote about performing live.
A favorite moment of our summer tour was our last performance at the Milwaukee Irish Fest. The sun was setting and the girls were squinting like mad on stage…we couldn’t even see the audience! One of us joked about needing sunglasses, and suddenly about 25 people came rushing to the stage offering their sunglasses! We kept them on for the rest of the set. We always love to joke around on stage, like having the audience guess how old our moms are or promising people kisses if they buy CDs (although some people take that one a bit too seriously! Haha).

Any advice to someone just starting out?
Practice, practice, practice. I, for one, would be nowhere if it weren’t for my parents nagging me to practice when I was little! Play your instrument as much as you can…with friends, with the radio, with CDs, whatever! And have fun, of course.

Can you recommend any other act we should feature on MurphGuide?
Sean McNally is a guitarist/singer I gig with a lot in NYC. He plays at a variety of great pubs.

What are your plans for the future?
Our second album will be released soon, and we have a busy tour schedule booked for this summer. Because Girsa is a band of eight girls at seven different colleges, it’s hard to predict where we’ll even be in the next few months! It has been an incredible ride since our first CD was released in 2009, and we’re so excited to see where the next album will take us. It’s no secret that we’d love to do a tour of Ireland, though.

Below is a music video for Girsa’s “Immigrant Eyes”, filmed on Ellis Island July 4th 2009.

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