Leahy bills itself as Canada’s “Celtic Powerhouse.” Although Canada by land mass is the world's second biggest country and has one of the world’s largest population of ethnic Celts, Leahy’s billing is no idle boast.
Ask any member of the small, but appreciative and enthusiastic audience that heard Leahy perform at the EKU Center for the Arts on Monday night, and I’ll guarantee that they'll agree.
Even if Leahy recruited from the global Celtic community, as other such groups do, assembling as much talent as Leahy puts on one stage wouldn’t be easy. But (now read this slowly), the members of Leahy are all siblings.
Only seven of the 11 Leahy siblings were on stage in Richmond, but any combination of them probably could overwhelm any audience. The Richmond audience, at least this audience member, was overwhelmed.
Last year, a group of young performers known as Celtic Crossroads delighted a Richmond audience with their music and dance. As good as they were, Leahy could still blow them off any stage.
Celtic music is known for it sweet melancholy ballads, but there also is fire in the Celtic soul, especially the Leahy soul. When Leahy plays and dances, that fire comes through their fingers and toes like blow torches.
Leahy’s toe-tapping, foot-stomping energy quickly passed to the audience which tried to keep up to their rapid rhythm.
All of the Leahys on stage Monday night danced and played at least one instrument very well. Some played two or three instruments. The three women also have beautiful voices. One, Erin, played one tune with her fiddle upside down.
When the women danced, they were so light on their rapidly moving feet, they seemed to defy gravity. So fleet of foot were they, their movement was almost a blur. Watching them made it easy to understand how the myth of elusive, floating Irish fairies known as leprechauns originated.
They did play and sing a couple of slow melodies and sat down a time or two. Even magical, hyper-kinetic Celts have to take an occasional break.
Nature may have been unfair in concentrating such talent genes in one set of parents. The father is of Irish and the mother of Scottish heritage. But, the elder Leahys can be thanked for giving the world 11 copies of what God gave them. One can only wish they could have had more children.
However, those Celtic music and dance genes have been passed successfully to a third generation. The Leahy grandchildren number 34, at least that was the count Monday night.
Three Leahy grandchildren came on stage just before intermission. At ages 4, 5 and 6, they can dance, and the two older ones did a credible job playing the fiddle.
The children charmed the audience, even more than their parents did. And that’s saying a lot.
The audience fell in love and couldn’t get enough of the Leahy family.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at