It’s just after midnight in the Emerald Isle and a charming and very sincere Michael Londra meets me for a brief chat. The temperatures in Minnesota are frigid compared to beautiful Ireland this time of year. Londra is in Ireland working on an upcoming production and will be headed to London tomorrow before returning to the states early next week. He apologizes if his voice is a bit hoarse as the hour is quite late. Our discussion begins with the power of music and Londra says that he didn’t realize how powerful music was especially in the beginning and how it has the power to heal and really help people.
Londra says that his earlier profession helped him with the perception of people that he has today having been a behavioral therapist working with people with learning disabilities and mental health disorders and working directly with music therapists. He had to learn to separate the two and when he moved into the music he says that it was easy to get caught up in the show biz side of things and really miss the emotional connection with how his music would impact people. Creating that emotional musical connection has the utmost importance to him as it is now front and center in his live show.
Londra says that while performing he is able to have that unique individual connection with people in his show that is very personal for the fans, where he says he catches their eye and for one second he’s singing to them, and only them; and that he says, is a magical moment.
He mentions that the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s independence as a country plays a pivotal role as a lot of the songs are connected to Ireland’s history and tells the story, and defines them, he goes on to say that it is impossible to have an Irish show without referring to it one time or another. He believes that it helps to bring perspective to people and connects to Irish people’s identity. He continues that he doesn’t like to be misrepresented as he feels that there is a big disconnect with the US and Ireland and attempts to bring clarity through the show.
Londra says that Irish people don’t take things too seriously and that he wants people to have a good time at the show, but he wants people to understand what he is singing about. He also teaches them Gaelic in the show, and engages the audience and gets them to sing along as it’s a rule in an Irish show; because it engages their emotions at a very deep level and Celtic music has the connection to the soul. He goes on to say one minute they will be dancing to a jig or a piece from the band and the next minute they have to be quiet because he’s singing a song that will grab hold of their heart.
Londra says that people are often surprised when they come out to the show, he says that quite often woman tend to drag their husbands off the couch from watching football forcing them to put on a jacket and come to the show, he chuckles. Londra says he brings the very best Irish musicians in the world and that the show is very electric. He says the band is independent from him, and each member has their own spotlight. He says God knows people don’t want to hear him all night and bore them! He says the band itself is fantastic in their own right with thier fiddles, flutes and pipes. He says because he was the lead in Riverdance that platform continues to give him access to the best musicians in the world. Londra says he’s the MC of the show, but it’s also his responsibility to bring the best musicians which is also something that he takes very seriously. He wants people to have a fantastic night as that is what it’s all about, because he and his crew certainly do on stage.
Londra says that he has several things in the works producing a new musical in Ireland that he plans to take to Broadway to the US in 2017. A lot of of his life will be flying back and forth working on this production for the reminder of the year; but he says it’s a nice job to have to be able to come home and spend time with his family and still work on something that he loves.
In closing Londra was asked if someone was to portray him in a movie with his life story who would it be and why. he was blown away by the question as he had never been asked anything of the sort before. After a few moments, he said he would want an Irish actor to portray him and mentions Liam Neeson. He also says that he wishes that he was as tough as Neeson and eventually settles on Colin Farrell, because people say that he and Farrell have that same look in their eye except he quips, Farrell is a whole lot better looking! Londra says he likes Farrell because he’s a very modern Irishmen who has a lot of respect for his country and believes in causes and speaks out on it; and he personally knows what a good guy he is too.
Londra says the movie’s focus would have to be on how he harnesses music to highlight conditions around the world such as poverty. He works with the charity, Concerns Worldwide, to which he is an ambassador for and that is what he would want his fans to know that is what he leads with.
Londra says that Irish people by nature are very social and politically active and like to get involved with the world; so he believes that trait and passion is already within him. Londra says to make sure to come backstage after the show and share a pint, as he always likes to see a face not just a voice to people he’s talked to; and also meet the band. Who could resist such an offer?
Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire will be live and in person at Sanford Center, Bemidji, Minnesota,7 PM, April 28. Tickets can still be purchased by contacting Ticketmaster.