Rosheen at the Celtic Cafe

Lynn, we need to pull this together. Is there a review of your CD that we could get permission to run here? I need to integrate the following copy and paste of what I wrote in the Cafe Buzz with a focus on your music.



Rosheen is one of those amazing "discoveries" -- a Celtic band out of Quebec that is not yet known internationally, but after hearing their sound, you wonder, why not?! We were knocked out first by the music clips on their site and then when RadioCelt started playing their CD "Musique Celtique," it only confirmed that they should be a household name among fans of Celtic music! Click here to go directly to the music clips page at, and to hear full tracks, tune in to Rosheen's founder, Lynn Vallières, has a crystalline voice to equal the best in your Celtic CDs collection, and it's a treat to hear lyrics in French as well as English. Along with traditional tunes on Musique Celtique, a real standout is "The Crossing," an original composition by Grégoire Painchaud, the band's pianist/violinist/mandolinist/director. It's about the crossing from Ireland to Grosse Île in Quebec during the great famine. If you listen carefully you can feel the waves!

It's very fitting that Rosheen were invited to perform at the closing of the weekend of activities and tributes related to the coming of the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of the Irish Emigrant Ship, on Sunday, September 28 at 3 p.m. The 90 minutes of music they are performing includes guests the Shannon Irish Dancers, and the concert takes place at Bassin Louise (Old Port) wharf #5. This is a special highlight of the North American Voyage, as the original Jeanie Johnston was built in Quebec in 1847, so this is a "homecoming." The ship will be open for tours from Friday, September 26 to Sunday, September 28.

This is the only tall ship that had no deaths reported. The crowning stone of the Celtic Cross that was given to Quebecers by Ireland to thank them for welcoming Irish emigrants is on board. It will be placed where it belongs on Sunday.

Some historical information from the Jeanie Johnston website: The story of the Jeanie Johnston is the story of one of the most momentous periods in Irish history – the era of the Great Famine that swept the country in the middle of the 19th century. It is also a tale of great humanity, remarkable courage and pioneering spirit on the part of Irish people fleeing the dreaded famine, which decimated the population of Ireland in a few short years.

In 1847, the year of the ‘coffin ships’, Gross Isle saw the worst of the tragedy. By mid-May, every ship arriving had lost passengers at sea through typhus, dysentery or ‘ship-fever’, and many more were landed in a state of distress. Over 12,000 people were in quarantine and the tiny island, and its chief medical officer, Dr. George Douglas, did not have the resources to deal with the crisis. The authorities in Quebec tried desperately to cope but conditions deteriorated as more stricken ships arrived throughout the summer.

Over 5,000 people perished at sea and 5,424 were buried on Grosse Isle. Thousands more, who had survived Grosse Isle, died in fever hospitals in Quebec City, Montreal, Kingston, and Toronto. When those that died at the quarantine station of Partridge Island in New Brunswick, and on the U.S. route (both at sea and on arrival) are taken into account, it is likely that the combined death toll amongst Irish emigrants to North America in 1847 was in the region of 50,000 people.

It can be truly said that the Jeanie Johnston – and the many similar emigrant ships of the 19th century which it eloquently represents – paved the way for Irish people to play a leading and distinguished role all over the world in the intervening years.

Click here for information updated daily on the Jeanie Johnston and the recreation of those voyages of long ago.

Jeanie Johnston official site: Rosheen official site:


We asked Lynn Vallières to tell us about Rosheen's exciting experience with the Jeanie Johnston --

Well, she's finally here - the long-awaited Jeanie Johnston, the beauty of the sea, replica of the immigrant ship that transported hundreds of Irish immigrants to my country, Canada. For a while there, we weren't sure she was going to make it. It was a homecoming of sorts for the Jeanie, as she was built right here in Québec City.

We, Rosheen, had the privilege of playing at the event organised in honour of the ship. My heart felt heavy as the time drew near when we would be allowed to climb aboard and be taken back in time to the mid-1800's. We were excited but at the same time fearful of the misery that would be slapped in our faces by the sheer strength of history.

But we had a show to give, and give it we did. We had a great time - the audience was smiling and clapping and those who could find the space were dancing. When the euphoria of having played to our satisfaction subsided, we headed towards the ship. We were ready…or at least we thought.

The magnificence of the Jeanie Johnston is breathtaking, with the high masts and crow's nest, just like in the old pirate movies I used to love as a kid. The beautiful carved lady at the front of the ship I imagined looking out for the promised land or singing its precious cargo to sleep while on rough seas.

Then we went below deck, welcomed by the sounds of creaking wood and stretching ropes. A little further down, crying children, hungry, thirsty and probably most bored. Sleeping arrangements made to maximise constricted space, head to feet to head . . . I can't imagine six weeks of having someone's stinky feet under my nose, or worse, mine under theirs, but when push comes to shove . . .

A fiddler playing tunes from the homeland, imprinting them deep in their souls so as to never forget their dear Ireland. Next, a scene from what made the Jeanie famous for not losing one single life onboard: the doctor tending to the ill was quite moving.

I could almost feel the hardship and courage of those people who chose to leave their home to make mine, theirs. Welcome. I thank them for the mark genetically imposed on my heart, for my love of their music is what keeps me vibrantly alive.

Feature: Bernadette Price
Editing: Louise Owen
Original Web Design: Alexander Servas

Jeanie Johnston
© 2004 by