by Sally Cohen
“Irish Christmas in America” returns to the Commodore Barry/Irish Center at Carpenter Lane and Emlen Street in West Mt. Airy on Sunday Dec. 12, 7.30 p.m., with an evening of holiday celebration through traditional Irish music, dance and storytelling. Produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada of the award-winning lrish musical group, Téada, the atmospheric “Irish Christmas in America” features Irish singer and accordion-player Séamus Begley in the 2010 touring line-up. Begley, who hails from West Kerry in Ireland, rejoins a host of top musicians and dancers on stage for a performance rich in history, humor and energy. There will be music from the Irish harp and uilleann pipes, played by leading exponents Gráinne Hambly and Tommy Martin, as well as Brian Cunningham’s old-style Irish dance, The cast also includes Téada band members Damien Stenson on flute, Sean Ernest on guitar and Tristan Rosenstock on bodhrán (Irish drum) and narration.

This family-friendly performance features Irish ballads and holiday carols, lively fiddle tunes and Irish dancing. Narration brings to life ancient customs and stories.

The holiday show was conceived in 2005 by Oisin Mac Diarmada of Téada, a renowned fiddle-player from County Sligo. Past tours have featured guest vocalists Karan Casey, Cara Dillon, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Cathie Ryan and Michael Londra. Mac Diarmada enthuses about the program as a way to bring traditional and often unknown Irish customs to the U.S. “One of the most heartfelt themes of Irish Christmas is emigration,” he said. “Music was a way that people stayed close to home.”

Tickets are $25, $23 for advance tickets. For more information, visit www.irishchristmasinamerica.com Advance tickets are available at the Commodore Barry/Irish Center: http://www.theirishcenter.com, 215-510 4825, or ceiliconcerts@gmail.com