"You can taste the Guinness in their music!"
BILL MISIUK, JOHN L. SULLIVAN and LEN WALLACE are The DIGGERS, a trio of singing and playing the best of Irish and Scottish folk music with tight performances, sweet harmonies and tunes that steal your breath away.
Based in the Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario areas, they've made a name for themselves in a nexus that stretches from southwestern Ontario to northern Michigan, Chicago, Illinois to Ohio and they have become favorites in many Irish and Scottish communities.
Their delivery is powerful and passionate. Bill is the steady and innovative bass guitar player providing the group's heartbeat and drive and can be seen on stage early devising new arrangements and revising old licks. John, on acoustic guitar, is the group's centre with clear, ringing vocal leads giving his all be it a raucous pub song or the softer ballad. Len the accordionist (and a national Canadian champion) gearing himself to rev up the audience while preparing a set of pyrotechnical reels to take your breath away.
The ten years have passed quickly they say. They've worked to bring their vast personal experiences together into a tight and powerful stage presence. Two recordings havde been produced - The DIGGERS and THE DIGGERS LIVE. They are currently in the process of putting together a third.
Len Wallace has three recordings of his own (Open The Doors, Winds of Change and Midnight Shift. He also appears on three compilation albums and his hot squeezebox stylings can be heard on the recordings of many other musicians. His fourth recording, CULTURE SHOCKed will be released in 2007.
A Diggers performance poster tells one that there is No nonsense. No gimmicks. No Compromise." John L. admits The closest we ever came to a gimmick was when Len painted his face blue a la Braveheart style for our mainstage appearance at Windsor, Ontario's Celtic Festival". Their performance was given a standing ovation.
It's very true. There are no tricks here to sell themselves with the latest fads. "We don't need to jump around the stage and scream out lyrics," says John L. "The music speaks for itself."
What makes The Diggers different from other groups?
"Harmonies," says John L. "It's not very often you find groups treating Irish songs in three way harmony. And we pay a lot of attention to that and maintaining the integrity of the music, the way it was meant to be played."
Bill adds, It's often been commented that we have a very broad repertoire. We perform a whole range of Celtic music from the traditional to the contemporary."
They have performed in a broad range of venues from Irish pubs to concert stages, folk clubs to Celtic music festivals - well known pub songs, songs of Irish rebellion and Irelandís historical struggles, Scottish Jacobite war songs, the Canadian east coast tradition, songs of the past century emigration, turn of the century Tin Pan Alley, ballads, and reels, jigs, hornpipes, set dances. They know the book and they know it well.
"Yes, we like the rebel tunes of Ireland and Scotland," says Bill. "They're a part of history, often an unwritten history about the fight for freedom you won't find in many textbooks. That's important to us."
Notes John L., "Today we tend to forget that even the pub songs are about real people's lives, about real events. The songs detail everyday occurences, people's hopes and dreams. It's a part of the collective consciousness of ordinary people."
Len states that musicians have a responsibility to the audience. "We're serious about the quality of the music we perform. It's too easy these days to appeal to the lowest common denominator with noise, hype and bravado. The art of Celtic music is the art of nuance."
He adds, "In a world where people no longer relate to live music we have the responsibility to raise the quality of performance and to inform as we entertain."
Ten years have passed and they are going strong.
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE DIGGERS:
"Powerful, passionate and high energy"
- Dan Armstrong, Pres., Detroit Gaelic League, Irish-American Club
"The Diggers? Definitely crowd pleasers!"
- Tommy Murray, Conor O'Neill's, Ann Arbor, Michigan
"The Diggers are simply the best...
They're great musicians and singers."
- Heath Chandler, The Kildare House, Windsor, Ontario
CONTACT THE DIGGERS:
John L. Sullivan
Tel: 519 848-6377
24539 W. Warren, Dearborn Heights Michigan 48127 USA
Tel: 313 277-1886
346 Randolph Street Windsor Ontario N9B 2T6 Canada
Tel: 519 973-3981
The DIGGERS' RECORDINGS:
In 2001 The DIGGERS came out with their first CD, simply titled The DIGGERS
The recordings features 14 cuts which include: 1. Johnny Brown 2. Morning Glory
3. Dublin Jack of All Trades 4. From Clare to Here 5. Town of Ballybay
6. When I Was a Lad 7. Carrickfergus 8. The Crack was Ninety in the Isle of Man
9. Reels: New England Reel/Drowsy Maggie/Swallows Tail
10. The Ould Triangle 11. Look at the Coffin 12. Whiskey in the Jar 13. The Parting Glass
14. Levellers & Diggers / The World Turned Upside Down
It's a great collection of songs and instrumentals. Buy one for yourself. Buy one for a friend.
Better yet - Buy one for an enemy! Not only is it good music, the CD cases make great coasters for
your pint of HARP or GUINNESS!
U.S. orders send $15.00 + $2.00 postage and handling to Bill Misiuk (address above)
make check payable to Bill Misiuk
Canadian orders send $20 (postage included) to Len Wallace (address above).
The DIGGERS LIVE! -
Recorded live for a packed house at The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Hall in Warren, Michigan
Includes: 1. On The One Road 2. The Merry Ploughboy 3. Come Out Ye Black and Tans 4. Boys of Wexford 5. Streets of New York 6. I'll Tell My Ma 7. The Mermaid 8. Sergeant William Bailey 9. Old King Cole 10. Spancil Hill 11. Reels: Tam Lin/Jackson's/The Four Stroke Reel/Martin O'Connor's Flying Cog 12. Connaught Rangers 13. Boys of the Old Brigade 14. The Broad Black Brimmer 15. Celtic Symphony
DIGGERS PERFORMANCE DATESFor The DIGGERS performance dates, CLICK HERE
Visit the web pages of Diggers Accordionist/Singer LEN WALLACE by clicking HERE
And Len Wallace's Recordings HERE
For a great web site to find Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh song lyrics visit:
Irish Song Search
Celtic Music on the Internet
"We are out for Ireland for the Irish. But who are the Irish? Not the rack-renting, slum-owning landlord; not the sweating, profit-grinding capitalist; not the sleek and oily lawyer; not the prostitute pressman - the hired liars of the enemy. Not these are the Irish upon whom the future depends. Not these, but the Irish working class . . . The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland,
the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour."
- James Connolly, Workers' Republic, 8 April 1916
JAMES CONNOLLY, Union organizer, socialist, rebel leader
"And I say to my people's masters: Beware,
Beware of the thing that is coming,
beware of the risen people,
Who shall take what ye would not give.
Did ye think to conquer the people,
Or that Law is stronger than life
and than men's desire to be free?
We will try it out with you,
ye that have harried and held,
Ye that have bullied and bribed,
....... tyrants, hypocrites, liars!"
-- From "The Rebel" by PADRAIC PEARSE
leader of the 1916 Easter Uprising
"Then let us pray that come it may
As come it will for a' that
That sense o' worth owre a' the earth
May bear the gree for a' that.
For a' that and a' that
It's comin' yet for a' that
That man to man the world o'er
Shall brothers be for a' that"
- Scottish songwriter, poet, democrat ROBERT BURNS
WHO WERE THE DIGGERS?
During the period of the English Revolution there arose a group of men and women who believed that the revolution should not just overthrow the aristocracy in order to bring a new ruling class to power. They held that the land, all things, should be owned in common, that work should be shared, that Masters should no longer rule. They called themselves Diggers or Levellers.
In 1649 they took over the lands of St. George's commons and settled in to build a new society based on their beliefs. They were deemed subversives and the new government of Oliver Cromwell sent in troopers to put an end to the experiment by burning their homes, crops and killing its members.
They could not erase the memory and the vision of a better world still lingers on.
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