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Tulla tunes up for trad festival

THE Tulla Trad Festival will kick off on Friday, September 6 with a parade through the East Clare village by the Chapel Gate Wrenboys.

Dressed in traditional costumes, the wrenboys will lead the torch-lit procession at 8pm, which will ensure music resonates across the village signalling the start of the festival’s programme of events. The procession concludes at Tulla Courthouse, where the group will give a performance after the official opening by Eoin O’Neill of Clare FM.

According to organisers, the interest for this year’s festival workshops is coming from not alone the four provinces and the UK but across Europe.

“A group of musicians are boarding a train south of Paris for Cherbourg, then going by ferry to Rosslare and on by bus to Ennis, especially for Zoë Conway’s workshop. Zoë, who will be one of the tutors at the workshops, is among the most sought-after fiddle tutor worldwide.

“Her list of achievements belies her youthful age, as Zoë has performed across the globe, both as a solo artist and also playing with international acts such as Riverdance, Damien Rice, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Nick Cave and Lou Reed among others,” a spokesperson for the trad festival said.

A winner of the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Competition in 2001, Zoë was voted Best Traditional Female of the Year in Irish Music Magazine and also features on the current Leaving Certificate music syllabus.

She is increasingly in demand as a tutor, regularly giving workshops and lectures on the merits of classical and traditional music on the violin.

According to the festival committee, some of the workshops are almost full and pre-booking is advisable.

The workshops take place from 11am to 1pm and from 2pm to 3.30pm.

Also tutoring at the fiddle workshop is Oisín Mac Diarmada. Originally born in Clare but raised in Sligo, he is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin in music education and was the 1999 All-Ireland Fiddle Champion. He plays with Téada.

Tara Breen completes the line-up of fiddle tutors for the workshops. She started playing fiddle at the age of seven, achieving All-Ireland titles in every age category over the years, culminating with the senior fiddle title in 2012.

She is a member of the Awbeg Céilí Band, also known as the Five Counties, who won the senior céilí band competition in 2013.

Her band will perform at the céilí on Saturday night at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla. She has played all over the world, including America, China, India, Philippines and most European countries and is currently working on an album with Conor Moriarty and Stephen Rooney.

Workshops will also take place in concertina with Caitlin Nic Gabhann and Hugh Healy, flute with Harry Bradley, tin whistle with Carmel Gunning, accordion with Johnny Óg Connolly and sean-nós dancing with Edwina Guckian.

At the opening event, Ann Lynch Lyons will launch her debut CD, Silvery Light, at Minogue’s Bar at 10pm. “Ann Lynch-Lyons is a native of County Meath and grew up near Oldcastle in a family that was immersed in Irish traditional music and song. She has been singing from a very young age, learning songs from her late mother and uncles. Ann is regarded as one of the finest voices in traditional and folk singing circles,” the spokesperson said.

On Silvery Light, she is accompanied by Ennis-based guitarist Alph Duggan and her daughter, Aisling Lyons, also features on harp.

This year’s festival includes a celebrity concert on Saturday, September 7 at 8pm in the courthouse.
Singing sessions, music sessions, céilí and a CD launch by Edel Fox and Neill Byrne will take place on the Sunday.

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