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Tag Archives: music

Wexford Opera Festival features three little known operas every year.

A night at the opera

The Wexford Opera Festival is a bit of an unusual proposition but it works and has done for years. Take three obscure operas, some of which haven’t seen the light of day since their début performance, and stage them again over the course of a few weeks. Of course, some operas are obscure for a reason and maybe they should be left mouldering but for every duffer there are several gems. This year was promising, with all three operas sung in Italian. It’s a general rule of mine not to go near German language opera. I find it dark and depressing. Surprisingly, opera in English is often woefully bad. There’s the advantage of being able to fully understand what’s going on without resorting to subtitles but there’s just something wrong about English language opera. You’re generally safer sticking with Italian or at a pinch, French. We travelled down in the aftermath of Ophelia and just before storm Brian made itself …

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Ennis Fleadh breaks attendance record

The largest crowd ever thronged the streets of Ennis for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017. Over 450,000 people attended over nine days of the largest traditional Irish music festival in the world. Numbers peaked at 100,000 on Saturday when crowds exceeded anything ever experienced in the town. All operational plans including a detailed Pedestrian Management plan operated effectively throughout the entire event. Nine hundred students participated in masterclasses at Scoil Éigse. Concert audiences broke all records, Fleadh TV broadcast nine hours of exhilarating TV, while Legacy, Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann’s flagship orchestral performance, premiered to the packed 2,000 seater Shannon Aerodome. In tribute to Ennis, Fleadh goers were enthusiastic in their appreciation of the scale and professionalism of the event organisation. Businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors indicated a significant increase in footfall and the success of the Fleadh can also be attributed to the efficient and friendly welcome extended by their teams. “We hope that Ennis, Clare and the …

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Ennis hits high note for Minnesota mothers

AMONG the throng of overseas visitors to the Fleadh in Ennis this week were Laura Coleman and Alisa Mee from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Eleven of the group are staying in a house in Spanish Point for the duration of the Fleadh, while their children are among 18 musicians representing the Centre for Irish Music in the Mid-West US city. Laura’s son Finn plays the harp, much to the bemusement of his mother. She has yet to work out why but is going with the flow. “Our kids have been involved at the Centre for Irish Music for about three and a half years. It all started because our youngest son Finn woke up one day and decided that he had to play the harp. We don’t know why. The harp? It’s not our national instrument. There’s nothing iconic about the harp in Minnesota,” Laura explained. “It’s not a scene,” confirmed Alisa, whose son Cathal plays the button accordion. “We signed …

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Clare’s twin assault in ‘Ireland’s Traddest Family’

Three families with a passion for trad will go head-to-head for the title of Ireland’s Traddest Family this Saturday night live on the Ray Darcy Show on RTÉ One. The Doohan family from Lissycasey and the Ó’Dálaigh family from Ardnacrusha will compete in a showdown for the title of Ireland’s Traddest Family this Saturday night live on the Ray Darcy Show on RTÉ One along with the Durcan Family from Co. Meath. The Doohin Family are three generations that play music, sing and dance together. Included in the family are mother Margaret, her daughters Christina, Claire, Carmel, Caroline and Clodagh, her sons Derek and Dermot, and her grandson Stephen, all of whom have All Ireland titles in solo competitions, duets, trios, céile bands and grúpa ceoils. Family of seven, the Ó’Dálaighs are parents Tomás Ó’Dálaigh and Suzanne Uí’Dhálaigh, and their children Fionn, Cillian, Óisín, Seán, and Tara. The family have been playing for many years, entertaining tourists and locals in …

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Socks in the Frying Pan sizzling hot

SOCKS in the Frying Pan must be the most distinctive band name in Irish music today but the group are keeping its origin quiet. When asked, guitar player and vocalist Aodán Coyne was giving nothing away. “If I told you that, I’d get in a lot of trouble. The lads would kill me,” he said. The lads in question are the Hayes brothers, Shane (button accordion) and Fiachra (fiddle, banjo and bodhrán), who make up the trio with Aodán. All three are from Ennis and they will launch their next album, Without A Paddle, when they play at Glór on October 20. The three first began playing together in a popular Ennis venue. “We started about eight years ago in Cruise’s Bar, doing a session. We were there for about five or six years playing sessions and getting a bit tighter. We got that first CD out. We got a manager and an agent and we went over to the …

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Council spent more that €500,000 on the Fleadh

CLARE County Council spent more than half a million euro on the hosting of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, it has been confirmed. The local authority spent €560,000 on the Fleadh, in addition to the council’s direct financial contribution of €75,000 to the event. The estimated spend by Comhaltas on the Fleadh was in excess of €1.1 million. According to Ger Dollard, interim chief executive of Clare County Council, the local authority’s contribution was used to pay for promotional activities, improvements to infrastructure and enhancements to the town. Outlining a report on the aftermath of the festival to members of the Ennis Municipal District this week, Mr Dollard stated that the benefit to the county from the Fleadh was “overwhelmingly positive”. He said, “The overall perspective is that Ennis was presented very well and performed very well.” A number of debriefs are currently underway among the various agencies involved with the Fleadh. However, Mr Dollard said that, overall, it …

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A feast of music at Fleadh

A huge number of people  are descending on Ennis  today (Thursday), ahead of the main competitive events that will determine who will take All-Ireland titles across 180 categories. The Fleadh Cheoil organising committee estimate in the region of 30,000 to 35,000 people attended the opening day events on Sunday, including 12,000 at the opening ceremony, the Boffin to Burren concert at Glór, the Tulla Céilí Band at Cois na hAbhna, the luminarium, aifreann traidisiúnta, the Gig Rig and evening pub sessions, as well as performers, volunteers, stage crews, security, TV crews and other service providers. This figure is expected to increase exponentially from today, with the influx of 6,000 competitors, their families and friends, as well as visitors and music and dancing enthusiasts. With this surge, gardaí are anticipating that opportunistic crime such as pickpocketing will occur and are advising the public to be mindful of this, particularly in large gatherings of people. Clare’s Garda Chief Superintendent John Kerin warned, “The real type …

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Christy McNamara Captures a Sense of Place

AN exhibition by Crusheen musician, photographer and raconteur has gone on display in Glór for the duration of the Fleadh and will give visitors a snapshot of the many great musicians and characters to have come out of the county. The photography exhibit, entitled Where the Heart Lies, features more than 40 original photographs, many unseen, as well as others which don the walls in the homes of household names such as Brad Pitt. He has taken the title, as well as some of the photographs, from a book of the same name which he produced with Peter Woods 20 years ago. Christy explains that he relied on this idea, Where the Heart Lies, because it was something that was emotive for him. “When you think about where your heart lies it’s home and it’s place”, and he said this idea of home is where the heart lies is what he wanted to convey in this exhibit. Having been invited …

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