THE London Lasses are preparing to celebrate their 25th anniversary with the release of a special album.
On Friday, December 2, the highly acclaimed traditional Irish band will launch their new album LL25 at Conway House in London.
This marks the sixth album released by the internationally renowned band, which, over the past quarter of a century, has delivered a wealth of traditional material from all over Ireland, including songs in Irish and English, plus the full gamut of Irish dance tunes, from the venerably ancient to the newly composed.
Over the last 25 years The London Lasses have brought their music to some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls, including Cambridge Folk Festival, the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Glastonbury, Dublin City Hall, Philadelphia Irish Festival, the Mayor of London’s St Patrick’s Festival and the Royal Albert Hall, where they performed the first ever BBC Proms céilí as part of the 2008 season and supported The Chieftains on their 50th Anniversary tour in 2012.
They have been included on the 3CD compilation Beginners Guide to Ireland (2005) and the Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk (2014).
TV and radio appearances include TG4’s Hup and Geantraí, BBC One´s EastEnders, BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and more.
It all began in 1997, when fiddle players Karen Ryan and Elaine Conwell, together with banjo player Pauline Conneely, took a trip to the US where they played a number of concerts from New York to San Francisco, by way of Chicago and other stops.
Intended as a one-off musical holiday and with accompaniment provided by guests in each city, the trio had such a great experience and were so warmly received that they decided to continue performing together under the title The London Lasses on their return to London, inviting flute player Sharon Whelton to join them.
In 1999, the band, now with Bernie Conneely on banjo, recorded their eponymously titled debut CD with Liverpool pianist Pete Quinn, along with vocalist Sue Cullen and whistle player Grace Kelly.
Over the following two decades the band performed extensively and recorded a further four albums. Line-ups changed over time and included band members Dee Havlin (flute, whistle), Maureen Linane Hankins (accordion), Kathleen O´Sullivan (vocal), Elma McElligott (flute, whistle, sax), Bróna McVittie (vocal), Brogan McAuliffe (concertina) and Chris O´Malley (piano). The band has also enjoyed working with other guests down the years, some of whom feature on this and other Lasses CDs.
As 2023 marks their 25th anniversary the band are “proud” to release their 6th album LL25 in celebration, they confirmed this week, which includes band members past and present.
“The Lasses are delighted to include a number of past and present band members on this celebratory recording, and to feature members of the next generation of traditional Irish musicians in London,” they confirmed.
“Karen Ryan (fiddle, banjo, whistles, mandola), Elaine Conwell (fiddle), Elma McElligott (flute, saxophone, whistle), Brogan McAuliffe (concertina), Bróna McVittie (vocal, harp), Pete Quinn (keys), Dee Havlin (flute), Maureen Linane Hankins (accordion), Bernie Conneely (banjo), Chris O´Malley (keys), Teresa Connolly (fiddle), Annie Quinn (uilleann pipes, banjo), Katie Quinn (accordion, fiddle), Rachel Isherwood (fiddle), James and Orla Earnshaw (fiddles).”
The London Lasses will be launching their anniversary album at a number of events across the UK throughout 2023, starting with this special evening in London this December.
The London Lasses - LL25 - 25th Anniversary Album Launch takes place at 7.30pm on Friday, December 2 at Conway Hall, London WC1R 4RL. Adult tickets cost £15 here and include a copy of the album.