Plenty of people of Irish descent naturally connect with music from the motherland, but there are also a lot of Celtic fans with no genetic link. Derek Warfield, bringing his group the Young Wolfe Tones to the Dublin Pub in Dayton on Wednesday, Nov. 27, has been catering to both demographics for more than 50 years with a mix of ballads and rebel songs.
The singer from Dublin, Ireland, led the Wolfe Tones for four decades before the group folded in 2001. Four years later, he formed the Young Wolfe Tones and continued his mission of spreading Irish music to converts around the globe.
Warfield recently called to chat from San Francisco, where his band was performing that evening. It was the last West Coast date of this United States trek. The next day, the hard-touring group was heading east for shows in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
What is it about Irish music that resonates with people all over the world?
Irish music has been a very powerful part of our heritage for thousands of years. It has an intelligence and it’s the stories and the sentiment the music expresses. In many ways, music can be pleasing to the ear but it can also be informative, enlightening and inspirational. Irish music has those qualities. It tells the story of our people and has done so since the first recorded texts of history.
As soon as you wrap this tour of the United States, you’re immediately off on another tour of Ireland, England and Scotland in December. What drives you to keep the schedule so packed?
It’s the demand from people for shows. Being that we play ethnic Irish music, we’re not mainstream. We have popularity everywhere, really, but it’s not in the tens of thousands. Our audience is scattered all over the world, so when we’re in America or other countries, we try to embrace the people who have asked us to do shows in the past. Sometimes we can’t do them because of logistics — but we try to fit them in when we can.
Have you performed in Dayton before?
This is my first time to ever play in that city. It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and that’s always a very good show because people are home for the holiday and they make a point to go out to visit with friends and family. We’ve had good shows on that night over the years at different venues all over the country, so I’m looking forward to it very much.