Masters of Tradition Festival opens in Bantry on August 24

Curated by fiddle virtuoso, Martin Hayes, the Masters of Tradition Festival in Bantry, West Cork, will run from Wednesday August 24 to Sunday August 28.

With a stellar line-up of leading traditional musicians, there will be concerts in the Maritime Hotel, St Brendan’s Church and the intimate library of Bantry House as well as a programme of secret concerts in unique venues in the Bantry area and talks in Ma Murphy’s Bar – including a discussion entitled Remembering Dennis Cahill: The Man and his Music, led by his long-time partner in music, Martin Hayes.

The Programme:

Wednesday 24 August, 7.30 pm, The Maritime Hotel
Concert with Martin Hayes (fiddle), Cormac McCarthy (piano), Brian Donnellan (bouzouki, concertina), Saileog Ní Cheannabháin (sean-nós song, piano, viola) and Stephanie Keane (dance)

Thursday 25 August 2022, 3.30 pm, Ma Murphy’s
Talk on Pádraig O’Keeffe with Andrea Palandri and Martin Hayes

Thursday 25 August 2022, 7.30 pm, St. Brendan’s Church
Concert with Lorcan MacMathúna (sean-nós song), Andrea Palandrini (fiddle), Martin Hayes (fiddle), Kathryn Tickell Trio

Friday 26 August 2022, 3.30 pm, Ma Murphy’s
Talk on Ancient Irish Poetry and Metre by Lorcán Mac Mathúna and Daire Bracken with Martin Hayes

Friday 26 August 2022, 7.30 pm, Bantry House
Concert with Saileog Ní Cheannabháin (sean-nós song, piano, viola), Lorcan MacMathúna (sean-nós song), Sorcha Costello (fiddle), Daire Bracken (fiddle) and
Catherine McHugh (piano)

Friday 26 August 2022, 10.30 pm, Bantry House
Concert with David Power (uilleann pipes), Marja Gaynor (fiddle) and John Walsh (guitar)

Saturday 27 August 2022, 3.30 pm, Ma Murphy’s
Talk by Steve Cooney on the development of his notation system with Martin Hayes

Saturday 27 August 2022, 7.30 pm, Bantry House
Concert with Saileog Ní Cheannabháin (sean-nós song, piano, viola), Caitlín Nic Gabhann (concertina, dance), Ciarán Ó Maonaigh (fiddle), Derek Hickey (accordion) and Steve Cooney (guitar)

Saturday 27 August 2022, 10.30 pm, Bantry House
Concert with Cormac McCarthy (piano), Nell Ní Chróinín (sean-nós song), Kate Ellis (cello) and Aoife Ní Bhriain (fiddle)

Sunday 28 August 2022, 3.30 pm, Bantry House
Remembering Dennis Cahill: The Man and his Music: A discussion led by Martin Hayes

Sunday 28 August 2022, 7.30 pm, Bantry House
Concert with Martin Hayes (fiddle), Derek Hickey (accordian), Cormac McCarthy (piano), Saileog Ní Cheannabháin (sean-nós song, piano, viola), Caitlín Nic Gabhann (concertina, dance), Ciarán Ó Maonaigh (fiddle) and Steve Cooney (guitar)


Pictured above (right to left) Kathryn Tickell (Northumbrian small pipes, fiddle, voice), Stef Conner (lyre, voice) and Amy Thatcher (accordion, voice, dance) (Photo: The Bigger Picture Agency).


  • Daire Bracken
  • Steve Cooney
  • Sorcha Costello
  • Brian Donnellan
  • Kate Ellis
  • Marja Gaynor
  • Martin Hayes
  • Derek Hickey
  • Stephanie Keane
  • Lorcán Mac Mathúna
  • Cormac McCarthy
  • Catherine McHugh
  • Aoife Ní Bhríain
  • Saileog Ní Cheannabháin
  • Nell Ní Chróinín
  • Caitlín Nic Gabhann
  • Ciarán Ó Maonaigh
  • Andrea Palandri
  • David Power
  • Kathryn Tickell Trio (pictured)
  • Martin Tourish and
  • John Walsh.

For Pete’s Sake

Folk icon, Pete Seeger, has received the stamp of approval from the United States Postal Service (USPS) in the form of a new postage stamp released on July 21.

The tenth stamp in the USPS’s Music Icons series features the remarkable champion of folk and traditional music who believed in its power to inspire social and environmental activism. Artists depicted in previous stamps in the series issued by the USPS include Marvin Gaye and John Lennon.

Born into a musical family in New York in 1919, Seeger travelled throughout America during the Great Depression collecting songs. On his travels, he met Woody Guthrie who became a close friend. In the 1940s the two became leading members of The Almanac Singers – who had a particular interest in labour songs. During this period he also performed as a solo artist on radio and in live events promoted by Alan Lomax.

A founder member of The Weavers in 1948, the band’s repertoire of folk and blues classics – included Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter’s Goodnight, Irene,  which, according to Billboard, was the No. 1 record of 1950. Leadbelly had been discovered by Alan Lomax’s father, John.

While Seeger was blacklisted during the MacCarthyite era during the 1950s, his career recovered in the 1960s as a result of the folk revival and the growing protest movement. His repertoire typically included songs about workers’ rights, environmental causes, and social justice.

Seeger’s promotion of the hymn, We Shall Overcome, led it becoming a civil rights anthem in the United States and many other parts of the world. Other popular songs popularised by Seeger include Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Turn Turn Turn! and If I Had a Hammer. 

Winner of four Grammy Awards, Seeger was inducted into both the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, and was awarded the National Medal of the Arts in the US. He also collaborated with Tommy Sands on a number of song projects. A lifelong activist, he marched through New York, aged 92, in support of an Occupy Movement protest in 2011.

Pete’s final appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall with Arlo Guthrie and the Guthrie family took place in November, 2013. He died in New York City on January 27, 2014, at the age of 94.

A special ceremony to mark the release of the stamp took place at the Newport Folk Festival, where Seeger was a frequent performer and a long-time board member – in which capacity, he was responsible for inviting the young Bob Dylan to play.

The artwork for the stamp features a colour-tinted black-and-white photograph of Seeger singing and playing his banjo in the early 1960s, by Dan Seeger, the performer’s son.

Digital artist Kristen Monthei retouched and colorised the image, while art director, Antonio Alcalá executed the design.

As a ‘Forever’ stamp, it will always be equal in value to the current first class mail price. The stamp is on sale in post offices and online in the United States.

The USPS, together with the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC), approve about 20 new designs for  commemorative postage stamps each year.

The Postmaster General appoints up to 15 members of the CSAC, who serve on a voluntary basis. Each year, they consider all the submissions – routinely tens of thousands – from the general public for potential stamp designs.

Somewhat ironically the current Postmaster General is Trump-appointee Louis DeJoy.

Music Network’s autumn tour brings together three traditional virtuosi

From left: Mark Redmond, Mairéad Ní Mhaonnaigh and Cormac De Barra
Music Network brings together three leading lights of Irish traditional music for a unique autumnal tour showcasing the sounds of fiddle, harp, uilleann pipes and whistle, and voices intertwined in song. The three acclaimed virtuosi engaging in this unique nine-date collaboration are Donegal’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh  on fiddle and vocals , Dubliner Cormac De Barra on harp and vocals and Wexford’s Mark Redmond on uilleann pipes, flute and whistles.
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Cormac De Barra and Mark Redmond have graced stages and screens around Ireland and the world for several decades, and they are each undisputed masters of their respective instruments, rooted in tradition and with an ear for exploration. Whether onstage at home or abroad, in the recording studio, or the broadcasting studio, tradition and innovation are beautifully aligned with these three artists.
Their considerable talents have been the core of long-standing concert collaborations and recordings with supergroups that include Altan, The Chieftains, Alison Krauss, Enya, Clannad, Riverdance, The Brendan Voyage with the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Daoirí Farrell Trio.
While Music Network has, to its credit, facilitated many memorable collaborations in the recent past, these particular project promises to be one of the most distinguished.

Tour Itinerary

Wednesday 14 September: 7.30pm   The Sugar Club, Dublin 2
Thursday 15 September: 8pm    Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire
Friday 16 September: 8pm    Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely
Saturday 17 September: 8pm    Ionad Cultúrtha, Baile Mhúirne
Sunday 18 September: 8pm    Irish Cultural Centre, Hammersmith, London
Wednesday 21 September: 9pm    Station House Theatre, Clifden   
Thursday 22 September: 8pm    Áras Inis Gluaire, Bellmullet   
Saturday 1 October: 8pm    Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge   
Sunday 2 October: 8pm    Triskel Arts Centre, Cork   

Damien and Ron enter folk album chart

Banjophonics, the new album by Coleraine-born, Damien O’Kane (pictured above right) and Ron Block from California, has entered the Official UK Folk Album charts at No. 10.

This marks a second success for Damien in the current top ten: he is also a member of the backing band of his wife, Kate Rusby, whose album, 30 Happy Returns, is now at No. 3 – having entered the chart at No. 1 in June.

Before joining Kate’s band, Damien was a member of Flook when they won the Best Group accolade at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006.

The UK Folk Album chart is calculated each month on the basis of sales of downloads, CDs, vinyl and other formats, plus streams. The definition of what constitutes ‘folk’ is determined by the Official Charts Company in partnership with English Folk Expo.

The other Irish albums featuring in this month’s chart include Nine Waves by Ye Vagabonds at No. 21 (down from a peak of No. 4) and Flying into Mystery by Christy Moore at No. 22 (down from a peak of No. 3) while Dawn by CCÉ Britain alumni, Talisk, is at No. 30.

Flying into Mystery by Christy Moore

Andy reunited with missing instruments

Andy Irvine (Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg)

Folk music master, Andy Irvine, has finally been reunited with his two missing instruments – a guitar-bodied bouzouki and a mandola, both made by Stefan Sobell and valued ay €14,000.

The two instruments went missing on June 29 in the course of flights Andy made between Dublin and Copenhagen via Frankfurt on Lufthansa and SAS. The instruments were checked in at Dublin but failed to appear in Copenhagen.

Despite strenuous efforts made by friends and union acquaintances to search the baggage warehouses in Dublin as well as visits by family members and friends to inspect similar facilities at Frankfurt and Copenhagen, no trace of the instruments could be found. To add to his frustration, Andy found the airlines, themselves, to be distinctly unresponsive to his efforts to engage with them by phone or email.

However, the silence was finally broken on August 1 when Andy was contacted by SAS to advise that the missing instruments had finally been located and would be delivered the following day. So after almost five weeks, the musician and his precious equipment were re-united.

Where had they been for that time? What adventures might they have gone on? How far had they travelled? There might be the makings of a song in that!


The bouzouki (left) and the mandola