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After forming in New Orleans in 1993, members of the Poor Clares established themselves as one of the premiere Celtic bands to come out of the South. They made a distinct mark from the moment of the group's first public performance that same year during the Crescent City's Jazz and Heritage Festival, and proceeded to snag a recording deal with a major distributor. Future concert gigs included a performance in the National Geographic Society's acclaimed series. Change of Habit, a 1997 album released by Centaur Records, marked the first time that the label ever deviated from its classical music repertoire to put out an album of world music.
The Poor Clares, whose name derives from a religious order of Franciscans, formed while its members were performing individually at O'Flaherty's Irish Pub, located in the city's French Quarter. They blended their own folk compositions with traditional Celtic folk music, throwing in some New Orleans jazz and Cajun influences, as well as a taste of gospel and Latin flavors. Members included Betsy McGovern on guitar and vocals; Beth Patterson on bouzouki, oboe, percussion, keyboards, bass, and vocals; Justin Murphy on bodhran, whistle, and flute; and Patrick O'Flaherty on mandolin, button accordion, and vocals. When Patterson dropped out in favor of a solo career, the remaining members of the group re-formed and called themselves Re Mor. In Gaelic, Re Mor means "Big Easy."
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