John C. Falstaff's Background

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John C. Falstaff is one of the great connoisseurs of Celtic music today, with a following that over the years has expanded to include listeners all over the world for his radio program, "The Celtic Show" broadcast every Sunday from Atlanta, Georgia. With a lively ear for cutting edge work, John also has a keen appreciation for the sources of traditional music in deeply rooted communities. He not only knows the music but the musicians who keep that music alive. Because of their respect for him, John is the first port of call for traditional musicians who wish to reach discriminating audiences with their new releases. – Prof James W. Flannery, Irish tenor and Founder/Director of the WB Yeats Foundation, Emory University

John grew up in Dublin, and saw plenty of live music in the 1970s, including fiddler Paddy Glackin (at Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann HQ in Monkstown), legendary Scottish revivalist Ewan MacColl (with wife Peggy Seeger, at the Universal Folk Club), and the Bothy Band (in the Phoenix, Cork), as well as Celtic Rock pioneers Horslips and Breton harper Alan Stivell (at the Stadium).

He made his radio debut on Sunday 13 Dec 1981, co-hosting an all Irish music show on WICB FM (Ithaca College), in upstate New York. In the late 1980s, in Atlanta, he became a volunteer at WRFG, and was soon co-hosting The Good Earth, an alternative rock show which went out late on Monday nights, with Eric Price. During his tenure on this show, there was always a live band, such as Swimming Pool Qs, Tombstones, Flap, Homemade Sister (later to find fame as Magnapop), Kevin Dunn, and the late lamented Vic Chesnutt.

For fifteen years, starting in the late 1980s, John also wrote extensively about music, most notably for Dirty Linen and Atlanta's Creative Loafing. His first published piece was an obit of Ewan MacColl for the former, in 1989.

To celebrate St. Patrick's Day 1995, WRFG devoted an entire day to Irish music. Since the then hosts of The Celtic Show (John Maschinot of the Buddy O'Reilly Band, and John Adcox) had the trad angle covered, John C. Falstaff's contribution was three hours of "Irish classic music," from the piano nocturnes of John Field and some neo-classical work by Sean O Riada, to Shaun Davey's "The Brendan Voyage" (essentially a concerto for uilleann pipes and orchestra) from 1977, and Bill Whelan's Irish/Spanish hybrid "The Seville Sweet" from 1992 (in hindsight, a kind of dry run for the multicultural music at the core of "Riverdance" a few years later).

Within a year John found himself hosting The Celtic Show, and apart from some time off in 2001-2005–during which he lived in Spain for a while–he's been at it ever since.

In 1996, John lead a team of three from WRFG to Ireland–thanks to Delta for throwing in plane tickets–where they hooked up with Dublin's Radio Anna Livia, then located in Grafton Street. There were simultanous live broadcasts to both Dublin and Atlanta from the city's St. Patrick's Day parade. John interviewed a government minister named Enda Kenny who survived the experience and went on to become taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland.

Over the years, many of the biggest wigs in Celtic music have been interviewed live on The Celtic Show on WRFG, from piper Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, Altan, singer Susan McKeown, fiddler Kevin Burke and Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, to Scottish singer Andy M. Stewart, Battlefield Band and Welsh bard Dafydd Iwan.

In May 2011, while on a trip home to Dublin, John had the good fortune to see Paddy Glackin once more, with Donal Lunny, as part of an amazing charity show at the Button Factory in Dublin's Temple Bar. Also on the bill were Kila, T With the Maggies, Liam O Maonlai, Dervish, MacDara and Altan. Video footage of this may be found at the Livetrad site.

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