Féile Liam O’Flynn to honour the great piper in his Kildare homepleace

The enduring legacy of the master piper, Liam O’Flynn, will be celebrated at the inaugural Féile Liam O’Flynn in his native Kildare with events scheduled for Naas and Kill on the weekend of October 7-9.

Through an extensive programme of concerts and sessions, some of Ireland’s leading musicians will assemble to remember the magic of Liam O’Flynn. The féile opens in St David’s Church in Naas on Friday October 7 with a concert featuring, appropriately Kildare pipers, including Brian Hughes, Joe Byrne, Cormac Mac Aodhagáin and Emmet O’Toole, along with the Kildare Youth Folk Orchestra. Saturday will see a céili in the Osprey Hotel in Naas with the outstanding Kilfenora Céili Band as well as a concert in Naas’s Moat Theatre featuring a spectacular line-up of Matt Molloy (flute), Seán Keane (fiddle), Mary Corcoran (piano), Gay McKeon (pipes) and Niamh Parsons (voice).

The féile concludes on Sunday with a gala concert in Kill Church Hall featuring Liam Ó Maonlaí (voice and piano), Donal Lunny (bouzouki), Paddy Glackin (fiddle), Laoise Kelly (harp), Mark Redmond (pipes) and Heidi Talbot (voice). The concert will feature a specially commissioned piece for the uilleann pipes composed by Sandie Purcell from Kill in Liam’s memory. Throughout the weekend, there will be sessions in local venues as well as workshops on Saturday and Sunday in the Moat Theatre.

Driven by Senator Vincent Martin, the festival was officially launched by actor, Seán McGinley, who recalled Liam’s collaboration with Nobel laureate, Séamus Heaney. Seán Keane spoke of his life-long friendship with Liam which began when they met as young boys, while Liam’s widow, Jane, explained that when she first met Liam through a mutual love of horses, she was unaware of his celebrated career as a musician.

Dónal Lunny and Paddy Glackin
Matt Molloy
Niamh Parsons
Laoise Kelly

Benefit concert to support restoration of Begley family home

Just days before the remarkable documentary, The Man with the Moving House – outlining musician, Breanndán Begley’s fight for the right to build a house on his own land in the Dingle peninsula – was broadcast on RTÉ 1 television, the Begley family’s ‘ancestral home’ – occupied by his sister, Eibhlín, was destroyed by fire.

While fortunately no-one came to any physical harm, the devastation to the property has been substantial. To support Eibhlín with current living expenses and future rebuilding costs, a fundraising concert is being organised at St. Mary’s Church, Dingle, on Friday September 30.

While the line-up of performers will be confirmed shortly, tickets for the concert are now available through eventbrite.ie at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/fund-raising-concert-for-eibhlin-ni-bheaglaoich-tickets-413682624867?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

For people who cannot attend the concert but wish to support the fund-raising campaign, the family have set up a special email address – begleyconcert@gmail.com – where they will receive suggestions on how to help.

Eibhlín’s nephew, the concertina virtuoso, Cormac Begley, said that the family are “very grateful for all the messages of support to each of us over the past few weeks.”

The Man with the Moving House outlines Breanndán Begley’s fifteen-year campaign for the right to build a small traditional home in his ancestral village within the much broader context of the preservation of culture, music, heritage and language.

Begley argues that the unique character of local communities is being lost when local people can no longer afford to buy houses that are being snapped up for holiday homes, or to secure planning permission in their native place.

As the documentary develops, Begley looks beyond Dingle to engage with communities in Conamara, An Rinn and Donegal as well as Brittany and the Scottish highlands. After connecting through music, he discovers that the people of the Kerry Gaeltacht are not alone in having to face the adverse consequences of planning decisions on culture, language and place.

Breanndán Begley with this 'moving' house – constructed on a trailer – after Kerry County Council refused him permission to build a permanent dwelling. Eventually, after a fifteen-year campaign, his appeal to An Bord Pleanála was successful. (Photo: RTÉ)

Drawing from the Well on tour

The Drawing From the Well programme – developed by the Irish Traditional Music Archive – connects Ireland’s leading contemporary traditional performers with the great traditional collections housed in the archive in order to inspire new work. So the ITMA has assembled many of those artists for a series of concerts of traditional music, song and dance. (For more information on the Drawing from the Well Project, see https://www.itma.ie/drawingfromthewell).

The first event takes place in the National Concert Hall in Dublin on September 11 – featuring an extensive line-up of 14 of the country’s top musicians, singers and dancers who have been inspired by the ITMA collections under the Drawing from the Well Programme. They are Laoise Kelly (harp), Cormac Begley (concertina), Conor Connolly (accordion), Aoife Ní Bhriain (fiddle), Jesse Smith (fiddle), Deirdre Hurley (flute), Mairéad Hurley (concertina), Aoife Granville (flute) and Steve Cooney (guitar) will perform along with renowned singers Daoirí Farrell, Radie Peat and Brían Mac Gloinn, and distinguished dancers Edwina Guckian and Caitlín Nic Gabhann who also is one of Ireland’s leading young concertina players. The NCH programme will also be interspersed with the spoken word by poets Vincent Woods and Moya Cannon who will present the performances.

Following the NCH performance, four artists – Laoise Kelly, Cormac Begley, Brian Mac Gloinn and Edwina Guckian will undertake a five-concert tour of:
  • September 12: Séamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry
  • September 13: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
  • September 14: Áras Éanna Ionad Ealaine Inis Oirr, Inisheer, Co. Galway
  • September 15: St. John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel, Co. Kerry
  • September 16: Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, Birr, Co. Offaly

Information on booking tickets is available from https://www.itma.ie/events.

Tradition Now series resumes at NCH

Created with a mission to explore current innovation in traditional music, the Tradition Now series returns to Dublin’s National Concert Hall for its tenth instalment from Wednesday October 26 to Sunday October 30.

This new edition will showcase:

  • the unique English folk band, The Unthanks (pictured above)
  • piping virtuoso and founding member of The Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan,
  • acclaimed singer-songwriter, Luka Bloom,
  • multi-award-winning piper and flute player, Louise Mulcahy.
  • contemporary vocalist and visual artist, Ceara Conway, and
  • Breton guitarist, Soïg Sibéril.

Now in its seventh year, the series has evolved into an increasingly popular bi-annual event celebrating innovation in traditional music while staying true to its roots.

Among the many highlights of this autumn’s Tradition Now are English folk outfit The Unthanks whose record Mount the Air was  BBC Radio 2 Folk Album of the Year in 2015. Since then, they have both scaled up to symphonic levels with Charles Hazelwood and the BBC Proms and stripped down to the unaccompanied singing they grew up with, for Diversions Vol 5.   

At the nucleus of this constantly evolving unit is the traditional upbringing of Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank and the arrangements and writing of composer, pianist, producer and Yorkshireman, Adrian McNally. Using the traditional music of the North-East of England as a starting point, the influence of Miles Davis, Steve Reich, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony and the Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can also be heard in the band’s unique sound.  

Their Tradition Now appearance, which follows two years off the road, sees them showcasing music from their forthcoming new album, Sorrows Away, alongside favourites such as Magpie, The King of Rome and Mount the Air.   

Joining them as guest on the night is recipient of the 2022 Liam O’Flynn Award, renowned uilleann piper and flute player Louise Mulcahy, who brings together an exciting collaboration from the uilleann piping, harping and singing traditions of Ireland. Louise will be joined by wire-strung harper Paul Dooley and neo-Irish harper and multi-instrumentalist Michelle Mulcahy. This special project takes inspiration from Liam O’Flynn’s incredible legacy and his mastery at evoking soul-stirring music.

Another great piper appearing during Tradition Now will be Paddy Keenan, winner of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil as Musician of the Year in 2002 who has enjoyed a remarkable career performing as a soloist and in duos and trios following his emergence into the limelight as a member of The Bothy Band in the mid 1970s. Dubbed “the Jimi Hendrix of the pipes” by Donal Lunny and by others as a “piping Paganini,” Paddy will be joined at the National Concert Hall by Clare-based uilleann piper and flute player Colleen Shanks and bouzouki player Cyril O’Donoghue along with Dubliner Éamonn de Barra on flute and tin-whistle, winner of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil as Young Musician of the Year in 2000.
 
Renowned singer-songwriter Luka Bloom will perform music from his latest album, Out of the Blue – which features RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Award-winner Susan O’Neill and multi-instrumentalist Jon O’Connell (The Walls/Ultan Conlon) – and well-known gems from over the years. Created during lockdown, he says of his latest creation: ‘The tunes are uncomplicated, the only way I know. Each one resonates with me deeply, because of the time that was…. An invitation to play these tunes in NCH is just a huge honour.’  

Exploring the voice is integral to autumn’s iteration of Tradition Now and the voice is central to the artistic expression of another featured artist, Ceara Conway. Known for her unique use of traditional song and lament in contemporary art, Ceara collaborates with musicians Kevin Murphy (cello), Ultan O’Brien (viola, fiddle) and Sean Mac Erlaine (clarinet, electronics, piano) for this performance.

The second strand of autumn’s Tradition Now – instrumental innovations – is to the fore for a special performance by Breton guitarist Soïg Sibéril. Soïg is known for his rich, dense, colourful style of playing.He is joined by fellow Breton, bass player Alain Genty.  

Tradition Now is an initiative of the Arts Council and National Concert Hall and is supported by The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.      
 
Tradition Now Concerts

  • Caoin by Ceara Conway – Wednesday October 26 at 8.30pm, Tickets €15
  • Paddy Keenan – Thursday October 27 at 8.30pm, Tickets €15
  • Luka Bloom – Saturday October 29 at 8pm, Tickets €22, €27.50
  • Soïg Sibéril – Sunday October 30 at 6pm Tickets €15
  • The Unthanks and Louise Mulcahy – Sunday, October 30 at 8.00pm, Tickets €25, €30
Paddy Keenan
Lousie Mulcahy
Luka Bloom
Ceara Conway

Aly and Phil to honour Séamus Grant’s memory in Inishowen

The Séamus Grant Weekend Festival in Inishowen on the second weekend in October will honour the memory of one of Donegal’s finest fiddlers with a performance by the acclaimed fiddle master from the Shetlands, Aly Bain, accompanied by outstanding accordionist, Phil Cunningham.
 
For many years Aly Bain has been considered to be Scotland’s supreme traditional style fiddler. His playing is unique – driving, impassioned and pure – with vibrant, unmistakable tone that has earned him a following of ardent fans throughout the world. Born in Lerwick, Shetland in 1946, Aly began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. In his early twenties, Aly headed to mainland Scotland. His dramatic playing, with great tone and technical ability brought early recognition as one of the outstanding musicians of the folk music revival, and almost overnight, raised the level of expectation for music lovers throughout the country. Aly embarked on a life of intensive playing, recording and travel that continues to this day. A founder member of The Boys of the Lough, he toured and recorded with the band for many years. while simultaneously performing as a soloist in a variety of other projects – both live and recorded.
 
Aly’s extensive travels have fostered an appreciation and openness to many musical genres. He has applied this knowledge to the production of several networked television series bringing traditional music to a constantly widening audience. He is particularly celebrated as the co-director along with Jerry Douglas of the acclaimed Transatlantic Sessions series – a unique collaboration between folk and traditional musicians from the USA, Britain and Ireland. His partnership with the outstanding accordionist and composer, Phil Cunningham, has added another dimension to Aly’s extensive journey in music. They have toured and recorded together since 1988. To date they have recorded six albums, released on Aly’s own label, Whirlie Records. In 2005 Aly and Phil were awarded Best Duo in the annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards..
 
Widely regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative accordion players in Scotland, Phil Cunningham’s early work with leading Scots band Silly Wizard (1976-1986) reclaimed a place for the accordion in the traditional music world and his astonishing dexterity and musicality has delighted audiences across the world. The accordion is only one of the strings to his bow. As a multi-instrumentalist he works extensively in television and film as a composer, musical director and presenter. He is much sought after as a record producer and he manages to juggle all of these diverse commitments enabling him to continue touring and recording with long-time musical partner and friend, Aly Bain.
 
Phil is musical director for the BBC’s annual Hogmanay Live. His compositions are covered by musicians the world over, and he continues to write and add to his prolific repertoire. The depth and beauty of his slow airs have been recognised by audiences and performers alike. His orchestral suites for symphony orchestra and Celtic instruments have received international acclaim. His most recent suite, Ceilidh, was written for acclaimed percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. He teaches regularly, and is currently working to establish a traditional youth orchestra in the Highlands of Scotland. In 2003 Phil was voted Best Instrumentalist in the inaugural Scottish Traditional Music Awards.
 
Tickets for the concert at the Ballyliffin Hotel on Saturday October 15 are available at a cost of €20 each from https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/aly-bain-phil-cunningham-at-seamus-grant-weekend-tickets-400373316367?.

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   

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).

THE LINE-UP

  • 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.

Preparations under way for Cork Folk Festival

Seán Keane and Matt Molloy
Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and Caitlín Nic Gabhann
Mark Redmond

The forty-third edition of the Cork Folk Festival returns full live and in-person this autumn from September 29 to October 2 with a comprehensive programme of over thirty events. This year’s headliners will be Mary Black (pictured above) and her band at the Cork Opera House on October 2. The line-up will also feature Danú with lead vocalist Nell Ní Chróinín from Muscraí  as well as former Chieftains, Seán Keane and Matt Molloy.

Three more duos will perform at the festival: uilleann piper, Leonard Barry, and guitarist, Seamie O’Dowd; Máire Ní Chathasaigh on harp and Chris Newman on guitar; and another husband-and-wife partnership of fiddle and concertina/dance combination of Ciarán Ó Maonaigh and Caitlín Nic Gabhann. Ciarán’s aunt, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh will also play in a Music Network sponsored trio with uilleann piper, Mark Redmond, and harpist and vocalist, Cormac De Barra,

At the St Luke’s Venue, the festival will showcase the Baltimore Fiddle Fair, currently celebrating its thirtieth year. An Spailpin Fanach will host concerts by Thomas McCarthy, Gerry Harrington, Peter Browne, Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich, Charlie Piggott, Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, Brendan Mulvihill and the inimitable Jimmy Crowley with Eve Telford.

Among the other performers confirmed so far are Emma Langford, Mary Greene, Niamh Twomey, Alannah Thornburgh, Aileen Mythen and Padraig Jack. The heritage of Sliabh Luachra will be celebrated in a special concert involving Eoin Stan O’Sullivan, Emma O’Leary, Pat Fleming, Maura O’Connor and Bryan O’Leary, while the Cork-based cajun band, Two Time Polka, will close the festival.

During the four days of the festival, there will also be music workshops, sessions and open-air events, a Céilí Mór, Storytime for Children, as well as launches of a tune book by Jackie Daly and albums by Paddy Egan and Clare Sands.

More acts are expected to be announced by September.

Inistioge to host new trad festival

Keep Her Lit is a new folk and traditional music festival set to take place in the village of Inistioge in Co. Kilkenny on August 13-14 in memory of two local figures – musician, Dave Donohoe, and publican, Johnny O’Donnell. The festival programme will include traditional music sessions and intimate concerts, along with music workshops and commemorative forest walks, a food and craft market and more.

Festival organiser, Kasia Kaminska, points out that the inaugural event will feature two all-female evening concerts with Lisa O’Neill (pictured) and Clare Sands at St Mary’s Church of Ireland on Saturday, August 13, and Brigid Mae Power and Niamh Regan at the Cois Abhann Community Centre on Sunday, August 14. Sunday afternoon will also see a free concert in the Millennium Garden with Frankie Lane and friends.

For more information, tickets and a full programme of events please visit www.keepherlitfestival.ie.

William Kennedy Festival promises exciting new piping collaboration

The William Kennedy Piping Festival returns to Armagh City in November with a full programme of concerts, sessions, workshops, and lectures. Hosted by the Armagh Pipers’ Club, the twenty-eighth edition of the festival will take place over the weekend of November 17-20.

Among the highlights of a packed programme is ‘inB’ – an exciting new collaboration which brings together Scottish pipers, Brìghde Chaimbeul (pictured above) and Fin Moore, with uilleann pipers Louise Mulcahy and Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn.

A celebrated piper-maker with his father, Hamish, Fin Moore plays the Highland pipes, Border pipes and Scottish Small Pipes. He is also a piping teacher. One of his most acclaimed students is Brìghde Chaimbeul, whose first set of small pipes was made by Hamish Moore. She won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2016, and the Horizon Award in the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards. Limerick woman, Louise Mulcahy is enjoying a burgeoning reputation as an uilleann piper – in addition to being a highly accomplished flute player. Among the many accolades, she has received recently are the stewardship of the late Liam O’Flynn’s pipes at the behest of Na Píobairí Uilleann, and appropriately, the Liam O’Flynn Award, the bursary and performance opportunity jointly  by the National Concert Hall and Arts Council in the Republic. Tiarnán Ó Duinnchin from Monaghan is an alumnus of the Armagh Pipers’ Club (APC). With multiple All-Ireland and Oireachtas titles as well as the Seán O Riada Bonn Oir to his name, he has played as a soloist and in a variety of collaborations – most notable in duos with harpist, Laoise Kelly, and with vocalist, Máire Ní Bhraonáin. His latest collaboration in this new quartet of pipers promises to be the highlight of this edition of the William Kennedy. 

Jarlath Henderson
Tiarnán Ó Duinnchin

Two more APC alumni will return for the festival: Jarlath Henderson and Cillian Vallely. Jarlath who has been based in Scotland working as a hospital doctor in the National Health Service throughout the pandemic has been performing recently as a member of Dónal Lunny’s Atlantic Arc project. Cillian Vallely spends a good deal of his time performing with Lúnasa in the US. The son of the Club’s co-founders Brian and Eithne Vallely, Cillian  will perform a specially commissioned new work with the internationally acclaimed Fidelio Trio.

The William Kennedy Festival has developed a reputation for showcasing piping traditions from many parts of the world. This year the festival will welcome the twelve-piece Portuguese band Orquestra de Foles, a gaita-de-foles and percussion ensemble created by the Bagpipe Society of Portugal; and the Trio Lampetròn from Italy, consisting of müsa (Italian pipes), accordion and piffero (shawm). The international visitors will also include uilleann piper, Joey Abarta from the USA, and Scottish pipers, Rory Campbell from Galashiels and Alana MacInnes from South Uist.

Surpisingly perhaps, piper Declan Masterson will make his first appearance at the festival. One half of Moving Hearts’ two-piper arrangement for The Storm – in tandem with Davy Spillane – Declan also featured in Andy Irvine’s band, Mosaic, Patrick Street and the Riverdance Orchestra, where he also undertook guitar and bouzouki duties in addition to uilleann pipes and whistles. Declan has collaborated with an array of other artists on record, including Clannad, Zoë Conway, Anúna, Brian Kennedy, Townes Van Zandt, Ronnie Drew, Van Morrison and the Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipeband.

Trio Lampetròn: Daniele Bicego, Stefano Faravelli and Matteo Burrone
Niamh Dunne

The Dunne family from Limerick will make a relatively rare public appearance together. Fiddler and voalist, Niamh, tends to divide her time between the band, Beóga, and playing with the Karan Casey Band with Niall Vallely and Niamh’s partner, Seán Óg Graham from Belfast. For the festival Niamh and Seán will be joined by Niamh’s sister, Bríd on fiddle, and her father, Mickey, a celebrated uilleann piper.

Among the other acts confirmed for the festival are Paddi Benson, Grace Lemon and James Patrick Gavin from London; Aaron O’Hagan and Luke Ward from Belfast; and local highland piper Brendan Murphy.

The musicians will play at six major recitals over the four days of the festival. Admission to each concert is a modest £10. However, the APC also offers a festival pass offering sccess to all six concerts for £40. Tickets for these events are available from https://armaghpipers.com/wkpf/programme/.

Another feature of the festival is the intensive Piping Academy – named in honour of the late Mark Donnelly, former piper with Craobh Rua – which takes place over two mornings with many of the pipers performing at the festival offering expert tuition to students.

The festival was originally established as a one-off event in 1994 in memory of the blind piper and pipe-maker, William Kennedy, who was originally from Banbridge but lived for many years in Tandragee in the early years of the nineteenth century. The festival proved to be so popular that it quickly became an annual event – with an emphasis on pipes of various kinds but also including virtuoso performers on a range of other traditional instruments.

Singers join dons to reflect on songs

A major weekend conference on traditional songs and singers will take place in June at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick (pictured above).

Jointly organised by two major interest groups – the British-based Traditional Song Forum and the Traditional Song as Cultural Heritage Research Cluster – under the all-encompassing title, As I Roved Out: Traditional Songs, Singers and Collections of Britain, Ireland and Beyond, the conference aims to celebrate shared song traditions and highlight those that make each culture unique. 

The singing traditions of Britain and Ireland are richly intertwined. Songs, singers and collectors have travelled throughout the islands and beyond, uncovering a tapestry of tradition all the more rich and complex for their cultural interconnections.

The conference will open on the evening of Friday June 3, with a reception followed by dinner and a singing session. The business end of the conference begins on Saturday June 4 with a full day of papers – each followed by a question-and-answer session. The day will conclude with an after-dinner concert. Sunday June 5 will see another day of papers with a singing session in the evening. For those staying in Limerick on Monday, June 6, there will be a free singing tour in the morning, with the possibility of a lunchtime singing session afterwards.

Throughout the event, staff of the Irish Traditional Music Archive will also be on hand to present a pop-up exhibit.

For would-be participants who cannot attend the event in person, the main conference sessions will be available as live streams at a reduced cost. Recordings of the formal proceedings of the conference will be available after the event for all registered participants.

The conference fees are:

  • In-Person: Full Conference plus Lunch and Tea €59
  • In-Person: Concession Admission (for students and over 65s): €52
  • Online Only: €17
  • Add-Ons:  Conference Dinners: €23 each for Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings

Registration is possible online at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/as-i-roved-out-songs-singers-and-collectors-of-britain-ireland-beyond-tickets-300847170987?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb

Bursaries

The Traditional Song Forum (TSF) is offering bursaries for students and others under the age of thirty to attend the conference. There will be two bursaries of £130 for attendance in person at Limerick University, and another two bursaries of £15 each for online attendance. Applications for these bursaries should be made to Martin Graebe, Secretary of the TSF at martin.graebe@btinternet.com, with details of the applicant’s study interests and specific reasons for his/her attendance at the event.

Accommodation Information

Bed-and-breakfast accommodation will be available on the University of Limerick campus for those who wish to avoid the commute. Details of the facilities are available from conference@ul.ie – at a rate of €59 a night for a single room. Double rooms are also available.

The Traditional Song Forum is a national organisation based in the UK that brings together those interested in the research, collecting and performance of traditional song.

The Traditional Song as Cultural Heritage Research Cluster is a group of song scholars/ performers at the Irish World Academy, focused on performance, preservation and transmission of traditional song in Ireland.

South Sligo Summer School set for July

The South Sligo Summer School is scheduled to run from July 10 to July 16 this year with a packed programme of formal and informal events for the week, including masterclasses, céilís, workshops, talks, concerts, sessions and more.

Based in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, the school places a particular emphasis on the Sligo style of fiddle and flute playing and this, alongside an extended range of workshops and new innovative elements each year, attracts people of all ages and abilities from near and far to attend and spend a week of total immersion in the local culture.

Dartry CéilI Band

Full Programme

Workshops

Daily workshops for all ages across a wide range of traditional instruments, singing and dancing.

July 11-16 10am-1pm (10am-12pm on 16):
St. Attracta’s Community School: Fiddle, Flute, Whistle, Button Accordion, Banjo, Guitar, Mixed Instruments for Adults 
North Connaught College: Uilleann Pipes, Bodhrán
Teach Laighne: Traditional Singing and Lilting, Sean-Nós Singing
Kennedy Picture Framing: Harp
St. Brigid’s Hall: Set Dancing,
 
July 11-15: 2.30pm-5.15pm
St. Brigid’s Hall: Sean-Nós Dance
 
Tutors:
  • Leonard Barry (Uilleann Pipes – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Aileen Bourke (Concertina – Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Jarlath Brennan (Banjo – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Junior Davey (Bodhrán – Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Fiona Doherty (Mixed Instruments for Adults)
  • Stephen Doherty (Flute – Advanced)
  • Tommy Doherty (Button Accordion – Improver/Intermediate)
  • David Doocey (Fiddle – Improver)
  • John Dwyer (Whistle – Advanced)
  • Marian Egan (Whistle – Intermediate)
  • Declan Foran (Fiddle – Advanced – Sligo Style)
  • Bernie Geraghty (Concertina – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Holly Geraghty (Harp – Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Daithí Gormley (Button Accordion – Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Fiachra Guihen (Harp – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Séamus Hernon (Flute – Improver)
  • Kerrie Herrity (Banjo – Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Michael Hurley (Flute – Intermediate)
  • Caoimhe Kearins (Fiddle – Intermediate)
  • Fionnuala Kerins (Whistle – Improver)
  • Oisín Mac Diarmada (Fiddle – Advanced – Sligo Style)
  • Shane McGowan (Guitar – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Conal McCormack (Bodhrán – Improver/Intermediate)
  • Caitríona Ní Cheannabháin (Sean-Nós Singing)
  • Eiméar Mulvey (Sean-Nós Dance – All Levels)
  • Pat Murphy (Set Dancing – All Levels)
  • Siobhán O’Donnell (Traditional Singing and Lilting)
  • Séamie O’Dowd (Guitar – Intermediate/Advanced)
Leonard Barry
Kerrie Herrity
Caoimhe Kearins
Oisín Mac Diarmada
Caitríona Ní Cheannabháin
Séamie O'Dowd
Daily lectures from 2.30pm-3.30pm in St. Brigid’s Hall
  • July 11: The World of Francis O’Neill, Collector and Cop, presented by Michael O’Malley 
  • July 12: In Nearly Every House – Irish Traditional Musicians of North Connacht, presented by Gregory Daly
  • July 13: Great Duets of the Sligo Tradition, presented by Daithí Gormley
  • July 14: The Making of a Traditional Irish Album, presented by Brian Hughes and Dave Sheridan
  • July 15: Musicians and Entertainers from Killavil and Surrounding Area, presented by John Joe Brennan
Daily céilithe in St. Brigid’s Hall from 8.30pm-11.30pm 
  • July 10: Swallow’s Tail
  • July 11: Matt Cunningham Céilí Band
  • July 12: Dartry Céilí Band
  • July 13: Salamanca Céilí Band
  • July 14: Swallow’s Tail
  • July 15: Salamanca Céilí Band
  • July 16: Glenside Céilí Band

 

Concerts

  • July 11: Tribute to Declan Folan (St. Attracta’s Community School) 8pm-11pm
  • July 12: Fiddle, Flute and Whistle Recital (The May Queen) 8pm-10pm
  • July 13: Button Accordion, Concertina, Banjo and Guitar Recital (The May Queen) 8pm-10pm
  • July 14: Bodhrán, Harp, Uilleann Pipes, Sean Nós and Traditional Singing Recital (The May Queen) 8pm-10pm
  • July 15: Grand Traditional Concert (Venue TBC) 8pm-10pm

Doolin Folk Festival returns in June

The eighth annual Doolin Folk Festival will take place on June 10-12 on three stages featuring leading Irish and international artists.

The festival takes the broadest definition of folk with the result that over the years, the Doolin weekend has featured everything from Limerick rappers to Saharan Blues, and from Clannad to King Kong Company.

Taking inspiration from the great festivals of the 1970s and 1980s in Lisdoonvarna, Doolin has become a highlight of the summer festival season in its magical location between the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran islands.

Ye Vagabonds

Confirmed so far for this year’s line-up are:

  • Ye Vagabonds
  • Mary Black
  • John Spillane
  • Damien Dempsey
  • Matt Molloy and Seán Keane
  • Cormac Begley and Liam O’Connor
  • Peggy Seeger and Calum MacColl
  • This Is How We Fly
  • The Olllam
  • Skippers Alley
  • Tara Breen, Pádraig Rynne and Jim Murray
  • The Goodman Trio
  • Fidil
  • Aoife Scott
  • Wyvern Lingo
  • Elikya
  • Niamh Farrell Band
  • Big Love
  • Rua Rí
  • DJ Will Softly
Mary Black
Seán Keane (left) and Matt Molloy

Festival organiser and Hotel Doolin Managing Director, Dónal Minihane explains: “The festival is relatively new on the scene but it feels like it has been going on forever. When I tell people it is only in its eighth year they can’t believe there wasn’t a festival here before. Doolin is synonymous with folk music in Ireland and so many musicians and music lovers have a connection with the area, the festival just feels so natural. The weekend is a celebration of Doolin and the music that has drawn and continues to draw people here from all corners of the world.”

The size of the festival means that tickets are limited with the each year selling out. Dónal Minihane says “We’re not interested in being a big festival. That’s the beauty about The Doolin Folk Festival, our size allows us to create a unique atmosphere, presenting powerful music in an intimate setting and ensuring that audiences and musicians can feel at one and just enjoy the communal spirit of such festivals.

The festival kicks off on Friday June 10 at 5pm in the Barn at the Hotel Doolin. Weekend tickets – each costing €119 plus €3 fees – are available from https://www.ticketweb.ie/event/the-doolin-folk-festival-10-the-barn-at-hotel-doolin-tickets/11452665.

Tara Breen
Calum MacColl (left) and Peggy Seeger
Nick Gareiss of This is How We Fly

Kilfenora prepares for twelfth annual trad festival

The 2022 edition of the Kilfenora Traditional Music Festival will be held on the weekend of April 22-25.

The festival is noted for great concerts, céilidhe and album launches as well as pub sessions from Friday to Monday – with many free events.

The headliners for the main concert this year will be 4 Men and a Dog, supported by the award-winning young fiddler Simon Crehan. The festival will also feature the usual open-air entertainment on Sunday in the Square, led of course by the Kilfenora Céilí Band, whose centenary in 2009 was the starting point for the annual festival.

4 Men and a Dog: (from left) Dónal Murphy, Gerry O'Connor,

Gino Lupari, Kevin Doherty and Cathal Hayden

The Programme for the Weekend

Friday April 22

  • Singers’ night in Linnane’s Pub (from 9pm), hosted by Nóirín Lynch, with singers and storytellers from the floor
  • Traditional music sessions in Nagle’s and Vaughan’s Bars

Saturday April 23

  • Breathtaking: album launch by Anthony Quigney in Linnane’s Pub (1.30pm)
  • Riches of Clare Concert with Nuala Hehir (accordion), Pauline Brody (banjo), Aine O’Donoghue (concertina), Áine Griffey (fiddle), Deirdre Scanlan (vocals, guitar) and Carol Cullinan (piano) in Kilfenora Cathedral (3.30pm)
  • Ceolaire: album launch by Hugh Healy in Nagle’s Bar (5.00pm)
  • 4 Men and a Dog in concert with Simon Crehan, Kilfenora Hall – Admission €20 (8.00pm)
  • The Star of Munster Céilí Band – céilí in Vaughan’s Barn – Admission €10 (9.30pm)
  • and trad sessions in the local pubs

Sunday April 24

  • Launch of Paula O’Regan‘s Music Tutor Book in Vaughan’s Barn (11.30am)
  • Trad 4 Teens Workshop with Josephine Marsh and Paula O’Regan in Vaughan’s Barn (12.00pm)
  • The Clare Céilí Band in Kilfenora Square (2.30pm)
  • The Kilfenora Céilí Band in Kilfenora Square (3.00pm)
  • and trad sessions in the local pubs

Monday April 25

  • Session in Linnane’s Pub (7.00pm)
  • Session in Nagle’s Pub (9.30pm)
The Kilfenora Ceili Band