By Nicola Corless
MUSIC lovers from around the country will travel to Kinvara this weekend for the 21st Fleadh na gCuach.
Already, more than 40 sessions have been organised and will feature the cream of traditional musicians from across the country. Other events that will form part of the weekend are the Cuckoo Fun Run, puppet shows and musical activities for children, as well as a Café Trail with music, songs, singing sessions and a poets’ breakfast.
One of the highlights of the Cuckoo Fleadh is the return of Buttons and Bows for an intimate concert in Johnston’s Hall on the Saturday evening. Jackie Daly, Seamus and Manus McGuire and Garry O’Briain came together 30 years ago, playing many memorable sessions in Flatley’s and Tully’s pubs, the result of which was the formation of Buttons and Bows.
During the 1980s and ’90s their eclectic mix of music from Ireland to Shetland, as well as the fiddle and accordion traditions of Canada and further afield, resulted in the group being one of the dominant forces on the Irish traditional music scene, both in Ireland and internationally. The concert begins on Saturday at 8.30pm. Tickets are available from Connolly’s Pub, Green’s Pub and Kinvara Pharmacy, as well as online by messaging Fleadh na gCuach on Facebook.
The 21st Fleadh na gCuach will be officially opened by internationally-renowned accordion player Dermot Byrne. Originally from Burt near Buncrana, Dermot is now resident in Kinvara.
In 2013, Dermot was the recipient of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Musician of the Year award. A hugely influential accordion player, he has collaborated with many musicians from legendary Donegal fiddle players, John Doherty and Con Cassidy, to the renowned Jazz violinist, Stephane Grapelli. The opening takes place in the beautiful Murphy Store on the Quay at 7pm and will be followed by a free choral concert in Kinvara Community Centre at 8pm.
Forty-member Swedish choir, Aquarellen, on their first visit to Kinvara from Gothenburg, join forces with Kinvara’s The Quay Singers to provide an evening of song.
Sessions in the pubs begin from 9.30pm and continue right throughout the weekend until late Monday night.
The Café Trail, which was such a success last year, begins on this Friday evening at 5.30pm in the Gentian Café, with two of Kinvara’s leading young musicians and singers, Colm and Niamh Keady Tabal. Other performers on the trail include singer-songwriter, Paul Mullligan and the legendary Johnny Moynihan, as well as a mystery mix of Cajun, South American and Irish traditional music in the Tide Full Inn on Saturday evening.
Children are catered for in the program and on Saturday in Johnston’s Hall, from 3.30pm to 4.30pm, multi-instrumentalist, Jimmy Fitzgerald of the Máimín Cajun Band fame, will present a Cuckoo Musical Extravaganza for children aged from four to eight years. He will lead the children on a musical and singing journey.
On Sunday afternoon, at 3pm, also in Johnston’s Hall, Fleadh na gCuach presents Yer Man’s Puppets Variety Show, which will include lots of visual comedy and slapstick. Because demand is consistently high for the puppet show, a second performance will take place immediately after the first one.
The Cuckoo Fun Run and sponsored 10k walk also takes place on Sunday, with all funds raised going towards repairing the Christmas lights on the boat in the bay, which was damaged during the winter storms.
A new event, a 5k run, is added to this year’s program and registration for this event and for the children’s 2k run will take place at the community centre from 11am, with the children’s run starting at 12 and the Cuckoo Fun Run/Family 10k walk starting at 1pm.
On Sunday evening, at 6pm, Coole Music and Arts will present a Gala Family Concert in Kinvara Community Centre. The concert will feature a host of incredible musical talents including Coole Music Youth Orchestra, Sonic Strings and international artists Yukatope String Quartet, Robert Solyom and Peter Sebestyen. Doors open at 5.30pm and admission is free for children under six years.
Monday’s activities begin with the Poets’ Breakfast at 11am in The Pier Head, followed by a singers’ session and lots of musical sessions in the other pubs.
A full programme of the weekend’s events is available from the Fleadh na gCuach Facebook page.