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)

NPU publishes new book of pipe tunes

Launching NPU's lastest publication, Music for the Irish Pipes: Volume 3 was Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, flanked by NPU CEO Gay McKeon (left) and author Joe Doyle (Photo: NPU)
Na Píobairí Uilleann’s latest publication, Music for the Irish Pipes: Volume 3, compiled by Joe Doyle, was formally launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Caroline Conroy, at an event in the NPU’s headquarters in Henrietta Street, Dublin recently. The book is the third in a series of collections of transcriptions of classic recordings of pipers from the past – which aim to make the music of the pipes accessible to students in a practical way.
 
The book’s author, Joe Doyle, is a gifted piper and a talented teacher. Music for the Irish Pipes: Volume 3 is Joe’s fourth publication for NPU. With this new book, Joe has now published transcriptions of more than 1,000 tunes.
 
Priced €25, Music for the Irish Pipes: Volume 3 is available in the NPU’s online shop at http://pipers.ie/store.

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

The Leitrim Larks Project

Leitrim has a rich and varied tradition of song which has been passed down through generations. While some of these songs remain well known, many are no longer performed and survive in manuscripts and archives.

The Leitrim Larks Project is being led by renowned traditional singer Fionnuala Maxwell and aims to celebrate, rediscover, and revive traditional songs from Leitrim by engaging both established singers across the County and by engaging and facilitating individual members of the public from across the County to discover and sing these Leitrim songs.

This webpage will be updated as the project progresses throughout 2022. If you are interested in taking part in this traditional singing project please contact the Heritage Officer: Sarah Malone, Email: smalone@leitrimcoco.ie, Tel: 071 9620005 Ext. 516

A video on Traditional Singing in Leitrim with Fionnuala Maxwell can be viewed at Traditional Singing in Leitrim video

Peggy to celebrate birthday at Kilkenny gig

Peggy Seeger will celebrate her 87th birthday on June 17, during her Irish tour. On the day in question she is due to perform in Kilkenny with her son, Calum MacColl, as part of the tour to promote her recent album, First Farewell.

The tour, which begins on Thursday, June 2, will see the duo play fourteen dates in eighteen days. It continues an ongoing relationship with Ireland which began on her visit in 1956 – when the young Peggy Seeger met Sarah Makem, Paddy Tunney and the Clancy family.

The Tour Dates:

June 2: Hawks Well Theatre, Sligo
June 3: Townhall Theatre, Cavan
June 4: Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare
June 6: St John’s Arts Centre, Listowel, Co. Kerry (afternoon concert)
June 7: St John’s Arts Centre, Listowel (evening concert)
June 8: Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick
June 9: Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire
June 11: Róisín Dubh, Galway
June 12: Doolin Folk Festival, Doolin, Co. Clare
June 15: Séamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry
June 16: Black Box, Belfast
June 17: Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny
June 18: Source Arts Centre, Thurles
June 19: The White Horse, Ballincollig, Co. Cork

Peggy Seeger

(Photo: Vicki Sharp)

Muireann to host new show on RTE Radio 1

Muireann Nic Amhlaiobh

RTÉ has announced that musician and singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh will join the RTÉ Radio 1 schedule on Saturday nights at 10pm, for a new show dedicated to folk music, Folk on One.

“It’s a huge privilege for me to host the new show Folk on One on RTÉ Radio 1,” said Muireann. “Folk is a very broad church, one that I am proud to be a part of. Many years as a touring musician has exposed me to folk and traditional music from around the globe and I’m excited to share these artists with the listeners and also to platform new Irish folk music. Is cúis mortais dom chomh maith go mbeidh an clár seo dhá-theangach mar go bhfuil nasc láidir idir an dteanga agus an cheoil.”

“Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is well known to our listeners as a singer and musician. She now takes on a programme in her own right, bringing her knowledge and discernment to radio,” said RTÉ Radio 1 Head, Peter Woods. “This music is central to what we do.”

Muireann joins a weekend line-up on RTÉ Radio 1 which includes Céilí House with Kieran Hanrahan, The Rolling Wave with Aoife Nic Cormaic and South Wind Blows with Philip King.

The Megaphone Project

There is a certain irony in the idea of traditional singer, Macdara Yeates, curating a series of performances under the title of the Megaphone Project – since of all the singers who frequent the many singing sessions in the Greater Dublin area, Dara is least in need of a megaphone or even a microphone – such is the power of his vocal projection.

The Megaphone Project is a series of pop-up performances exploring Irish traditional song in the modern cityscape as part of the MusicTown festival. The pop-up performances will be facilitated in May by placing a megaphone and soap box at various outdoor markets for short 30-minute sets featuring a selection of Dublin’s finest traditional singers.

MacDara Yeates

The project has been inspired by the archival recordings of John Martin, the charismatic street singer who travelled the fairs of Ireland in the 1950s using a large megaphone in order to amplify his voice so that it could be heard above the noise of the ever-increasing traffic volumes on the streets of towns throughout Ireland.

The venues, dates and performers involved in the project will be announced in due course.

In the meantime, more information on the Musictown Festival is available on https://www.musictown.ie.aomplify

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is new Artist in Residence in Gaeltacht facility

Renowned fiddler and singer with Altan, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, has been inaugurated as Artist in Residence in gteic@Gaoth Dobhair. This is the first time there has been an Artist in Residence in the innovation and digital hub or indeed anywhere in Údaras na Gaeltachta’s gteic network. This will be a unique opportunity to hear inspiring Irish traditional music in the gteic@Gaoth Dobhair enterprise environment on the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park and although the arts have been promoted for many years, this will be a novel approach, linking both culture and enterprise on a new footing.

The Gaoth Dobhair facility is part of the gteic digital hub network – an innovative and creative concept that is being developed in over 30 different locations throughout the Gaeltacht. The role of Artist in Residence in gteic@Gaoth Dobhair will be central to supporting and creating links to the economy, the culture and the community. Mairéad’s approach to the appointment will inspire gteic visitors in terms of Gaeltacht culture, language and heritage.

The recipient of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil as Musician of the Year in 2017, Máiréad Ní Mhaonaigh’s life is anchored in music and the culture of Donegal. She was born and raised in Gaoth Dobhair and learned songs and music from her family and neighbours. Mairéad will run a range of activities in gteic@Gaoth Dobhair for the gteic community, the Business Park community, the gteic network community and the wider community. Mairéad already works with local youngsters in the Crannóg and the county’s young fiddlers through the annual Cairdeas na bhFidléirí workshop. As well as singing sessions, Mairéad will deliver lectures based on the music and tradition of the area – the first on the musical culture of the Gaoth Dobhair area on March 11. She will also hold conversational events with the companies based in gteic@Gaoth Dobhair.

Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh said: “I am honoured to be inaugurated as Artist in Residence here in the gteic in my place of birth in the Donegal Gaeltacht.  It will be a great opportunity to showcase Irish traditional music culture to all communities that come through the doors here and to share it with the next generation. This is a positive appointment to the arts community in the Gaeltacht areas and I am delighted to be the first gteic Artist in Residence.”

Chief Executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh welcomed the appointment: “We are honoured that a musician such as Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh is the first Artist in Residence in gteic@Gaoth Dobhair.  She will give the Irish music tradition a new platform through gteic members, the entire network and the public and will ensure that the economy, the community and culture, language and the arts are linked which is central to the work of Údarás na Gaeltachta.”

Sillertides: songs across the ocean

Among all the suffering and heartache caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has been one unexpected cultural consequence: namely, the widespread proliferation of online song sessions as many singing clubs have tried to continue some kind of interaction. albeit in rather restricted circumstances.

As well as providing a focal point for local club members, the new online sessions have also attracted additional contributors from around the world.

Visitors from Britain, North America, Europe and Australasia – sometimes as special guests – but more usually as participants from “the floor,” have become a common and welcome feature at most of the online singing sessions in Ireland.

The SIllertides: Linn Phipps and Doug Huggins

This international virtual environment has given rise to a special transatlantic collaboration between two singers – Linn Phipps, a Scot who divides her time beteen the Isle of Lewis and Yorkshire, and Doug Huggins based in Colorado. They have been regular performers on many online singing sessions hosted in Ireland over the last two years.

At one such session, hosted by An Góilín Traditional Singers, Linn and Doug experimented with sharing a song in real time – though separated by over 5,000 miles. Violet Reid’s Norland Wind was an ideal choice since it takes the form of a conversation between two people. So Linn and Doug were able to sing couplets consecutively (thereby avoiding the problem of the small time delays that makes singing in unison online virtually impossible).

This creative approach was so well received that Linn and Doug decided to pursue it further – gradually extending their repertoire and performing regularly at Zoom sessions, virtual folk festivals, céilidhe and workshops in Britain, Ireland and the USA under the name they adopted for their partnership: The Sillertides, suggested in the first verse of Norland Wind.

As well as song videos on their Youtube channel, https://bit.ly/3hzmYNC, Linn and Doug have released a debut album, Silk and Leather (Conversation Songs from the Folk Tradition), which is available on Bandcamp at http://sillertides.bandcamp.com.

Famine Art Exhibition at Clare Museum

Their latest project is a multi-media initiative with Clare-based artist Lionel Coates, whom Linn describes as “an old friend.” Lionel’s major exhibition of paintings entitled Famine, Fields and Fishing on the theme of The Great Famine of 1845-1850, opened in the Clare Museum in Ennis on March 14.  The Sillertides have been working on a number of songs to match individual paintings. As each song is recorded, it is being posted on the Sillertides YouTube channel.
 
So far eleven songs have been posted:
  1. A chuisle grá mo chroí, is at https://youtu.be/i0zH1LrayLI.
  2. The Fields of Athenry, is at https://youtu.be/OErR959RBQc
  3. The Shores of Lough Bran, is at https://youtu.be/rx7AnabLtIY
  4. Verdant Braes of Screen is at https://youtu.be/y2FvOqz9YyQ
  5. The Month of January is at https://youtu.be/q1M8JAVO4bM .
  6. Galway Shawl is at https://youtu.be/pYDkhl3-Wf4
  7. The May Morning Dew is at https://youtu.be/UjypEShPDQc
  8. Spancil Hill is at https://youtu.be/2Ux38YDZvS8
  9. The Quiet Land of Erin is at https://youtu.be/6rChOz6bQQ4
  10. Báidín Fheilimí at https://youtu.be/f2Wut9vilco
  11. Three Fishers at https://youtu.be/XXGOr9Va-ug
Linn and Doug aim to produce up to 20 songs altogether in this series. So even if you cannot get to Ennis to see the exhibition, you can experience it remotely through the Sillertides’ silken singing.

.

The Fields of Athenry by Lionel Coates

Féile Nasc confirms line-up for May festival in Dublin

Féile Nasc, the one-day festival of traditional and folk music held in Dublin’s Marlay Park, has confirmed the line-up for its event on May 21. The bill for the festival is nominally topped by Paul Brady. But such is the quality of this year’s line-up that any of All-Ireland champions and multiple award-winners appearing could  headline.

These include Daorí Farrell, Cáitlín (Ni Gabháinn) and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh), The Bonny Men, Cathal Croke and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O’Brien.  From Scotland comes the award-winning young virtuoso of the small pipes, Brìghde Chambeul, accompanied by Jamie Murchadh.

Also on the bill are The LoCal (comprising Ciarán Tourish on fiddle and James Delaney on keyboards, The Dublin Lasses, Rónán Ó Snodaigh from Kíla, singer-songwriter Steo Wall, Núadan from the Déise, local fiddler, Aidan Connolly, and the Hennesy sisters, otherwise known as Sisterix.

In the meantime, some of the features expected to included in this year’s event are outlined here: https://fonn.online/events/feile-nasc/.

Paul Brady
Brìghde Chambeul
Daoirí Farrell
Rónán Ó Snodaigh
The Dublin Lasses
Caitlín and Ciarán
The Bonny Men
Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin and Ultan O'Brien

Christy is new photographer in residence at ITMA

Christy MacNamara (Photo: Peter Laban)

Clare musician, photographer, artist and story-teller, Christy Mc Namara has been named as the Irish Traditional Music Archive’s Photographer-in-Residence for 2022.

Christy grew up in a family steeped in Irish music and traditions in County
Clare. His father, Joe, played with the Tulla Ceili Band with his uncles
Paddy and P.J. Hayes. His mother Biddy was a renowned set dancer.

He
has lived and worked in London, Sydney and New York. His perspective on
Irish music and home place has been a central pillar in his work as an
artist. His black and white photography is an intimate portrayal of
Irish rural life. His photographs tell a personal story of home, family, community and traditions. Christy has exhibited extensively both at home and abroad, and his book, The Living Note, produced with the writer Peter Woods, was published by O’Brien Press in1996 to critical acclaim.

Work by Christy will be shared online by the ITMA during the period of his residency.

This image of Christy was taken by Peter Laban, who was the ITMA’s Photographer-in-Residence for 2021.

New album imminent from Navá

Above: Navá (from left) Shayan Coohe, Niall Hughes, Shahab Coohe and Paddy Kiernan

The Irish-Persian quartet, Navá, whose music draws on two venerable musical traditions, have availed of the pandemic-induced dearth of live engagements to work on their third album, Toranj, which is due for release in the coming weeks.

Following the critical acclaim that greeted their debut album, Tapestry, in 2017 and their subsequent release, Sojourns, in 2019, as well as their nomination in the Best Folk Group category at the 2020 RTE Radio Folk Awards, the new album is eagerly awaited.

 

Arts Council Bursary for Traditional Arts

The closing date for applications for the Arts Council’s Traditional Arts Bursary is Thursday, February 3. The award – which is worth up to €20,000 – is designed to support professional artists to develop their art practice. It provides artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect and critically engage with their art.

The award is intended to enable practising artists to do one or more of the following:

  • Spend focused time working at their practice
  • Spend time researching/thinking about/developing a new idea for future dissemination
  • Spend time developing their technical skills in a particular area
  • Spend time developing/learning new skills related to their practice or area of interest
  • Spend time working with a mentor, or collaborator(s) to develop an idea, or to assist in developing or upskilling within a particular area of their practice, or an area related to their practice
  • Spend time developing an idea in collaboration with a potential production partner(s)
  • Undertake a short period of training by way of master classes or other professional training opportunities (whether national or international)
  • Purchase a limited amount of equipment and materials to assist with the development of their practice (Note: this can be no more than 15% of the value of the overall request for support)
  • Spend time undertaking a combination of the above activities.

The award emphasises the value and benefit to an artist’s development derived from an extended process of engagement with their practice. The award, therefore, provides artists with the time and resources to think, research, reflect and engage with their art practice. Potential proposals could be those that support the applicant to:

  • Compose a piece of work in the tradition or in collaboration with musicians in other genres
  • Choreograph a piece of dance within the tradition or in collaboration with dance artists in other genres
  • Explore traditional style and repertoire in the fields of music, song, dance or storytelling, including informal mentorship programmes with established individuals or masters in these areas
  • Develop a body of work from the tradition and/or in collaboration with other artforms.
  • All awards are informed by the Arts Council’s ten-year strategy (201625), Making Great Art Work: Leading the Development of the Arts in Ireland.

The award is open to professional artists working in all genres and at all stages in their professional careers. To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Be resident in the Republic of Ireland. There are certain exceptions where the Arts Council may deem eligible applications made by those based outside the Republic of Ireland. However, before admitting as eligible any such application, the applicant would need to explicitly outline within the application how the outcomes of any such proposal would benefit the arts in the Republic of Ireland, and the Arts Council must be satisfied with same.
  • Be professional practising artists. Although they might not earn income continuously or exclusively from their arts practice, applicants must identify themselves, and be recognised by their peers, as professional practising artists.

https://www.artscouncil.ie/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/Content/Funds/2022%20Traditional%20Arts%20Bursary%20Guidelines%20Rd1.pdf

Howth Burns Nicht goes online again

Howth Singing Circle has again moved its annual Burns Nicht celebration online this year in light of the continuing public health crisis caused by Covid-19. As was the case last year, the Howth Singing Circle are co-ordinating their efforts with two renowned Edinburgh institutions – the Edinburgh Folk Club and The World’s Room singers’ club..

The event on Saturday January 22 will be run over Zoom from 8pm featuring a combination of live and pre-recorded performances. The concert will also be simultaneously streamed on the HSC’s Facebook page.

 

Among the performers already lined up for the event are: (from Ireland) Méabh Meir (pictured above), Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Francy Devine, John Kelly, Larry Egan and Mick Mullen; (from Scotland) Steve Byrne, George Duff, David Francis, Margaret Bennett and Billy Jolly, (and from both): An Corráiste (The Luck Penny: featuring Jaff Mac Seafraidh and Jackie Jeffries).

The concert will be followed on Sunday afternoon (January 23) by an open singing session from 3pm-6pm on Zoom – which is expected to feature contributions from Ireland and Scotland as well as three songs each from Niamh Parsons and Scott Gardiner.

Niamh Parsons
Steve Byrne

Applications for €15,000 Liam O’Flynn Award close on January 20

Applications for the lucrative Liam O’Flynn Award will close on January 20. The purpose of the Liam O’Flynn Award is to provide a traditional artist with a period of artistic reflection, inspiration and creation in residence in the National Concert Hall and to enhance appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the traditional arts across the rich milieu of the National Concert Hall.

In memory of the piper Liam O’Flynn, the award is a joint initiative of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the National Concert Hall/An Ceoláras Náisiúnta as part of their partnership for the promotion, appreciation and enjoyment of traditional arts, which also includes the Tradition Now festival of traditional music. It celebrates the role of the individual creative traditional artist in the creation of new works, the inception of unique artistic collaborations and innovations, and in the transmission of traditional arts for future generations to enjoy and practice.

The objectives of the award are:

  • To provide an artistically supportive, stimulating and challenging environment for the selected traditional artist
  • To provide physical work space for their individual reflective and creative artistic work.
  • To support artistic collaboration.
  • To enable a working relationship with the National Concert Hall’s Learning and Participation team.
  • To engage audiences with the traditional arts.

The Liam O’Flynn Award comprises;

  • €10,000 towards fees and living expenses during the period, enabling the artist to spend time focusing on practice-based research and creative work in the National Concert Hall.
  • €5,000 for fees and other expenses relating to collaboration with other artists and the presentation of work.
  • Work space in the National Concert Hall.
  • Professional support and career advice.
Liam O'Flynn

The Liam O’Flynn Award is open to application from traditional artists working in any of the following genres; instrumental music; singing; dance; oral arts such as storytelling, agallamh beirte or lúibíní.

The Liam O’Flynn Award scheme welcomes applications from senior artists, established artists in mid-career, and young and emerging artists.

Previous recipients of the award include Úna Monaghan, Barry Kerr and Jack Talty.

One award will be made in 2022.

More information (including details of the application process) is available from the Arts Council at https://www.artscouncil.ie/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/Content/Funds/2022%20Guidelines_LiamOFlynnAward(1).pdf