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A weekend of music and dancing in Kilfenora

Fuaim Chonamara with the Cunningham family will take centre stage at the Saturday afternoon concert at the Kilfenora Music Festival.FAMED for its Irish music, Kilfenora is certainly keeping in tune with its traditional roots.
The village, put on the international music map by the exploits of its highly acclaimed céilí band, will come alive to the sound of music when it hosts a music festival, kicking off this Thursday and running right through to Monday night.
Contributing to the village’s uniqueness are a web of local families who have played in groups and céilí bands for around 140 years, starting with a fife and drum band in the 1870s, a brass and reed band in the 1900s to Kilfenora’s most famous céilí band which celebrated its centenary last year.
The list of artists performing resembles ‘a who’s who’ in the world of traditional music but the honour of headlining the festival has fallen to the award-winning céilí band. On Saturday night , they play a céilí in the village hall, a community facility that past band members helped to build in 1954.
Further céilís with The Four Courts Céilí Band and starring various celebrated musicians will be held in Vaughan’s Barn over the weekend while there will be a series of singing and instrumental sessions in the village pubs throughout the weekend.
A concert, featuring some of the cream of local talent, will top the bill on Friday night and the artists include Tommy and Siobhán Peoples, Aidan McMahon, Colin nea, Michael Kelleher, Ann Marie McCormack, Mark Burke, Bríd and Catriona Killeen, Kathryn Nea along with the Moher and Kilfenora Youth Band.
Saturday afternoon, Fuaim Chonamara, the spectacular sean-nós show by the Cunningham family from Connemara, will take centre stage.
Fuaim Chonamara is a family show by a family for all the family. Including everything from the brush dance, the solo dance, barrel dancing, old music forms of lilting in the bag, the jaws harp and other sounds made only by mouth, there is something for everyone here.
One don’t have to be a lover of Irish dancing to get a thrill either as the raw energy and vibrancy of every performance with the dancers is enthralling. It also encapsulates song, tunes and story-telling in addition to dancing.
Undoubtedly, the star of the show is 24-year-old Brian Cunningham who regularly performs alongside De Danann, The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon and Altan.
Brian, has already performed to huge acclaim in Korea while accompanying President Mary McAleese on a State tour and is a three-time winner of the Irish Oireachtas and a World Fleadh Champion. He is joined for the performance by his siblings Irene, Ashline, Michael and Lorraine as well as Riverdance stars Siobhán Manson and Doireann Carney with guest appearances by singing favourites Dessie O’Halloran and Caitríona Ní Cheannabháin.
Champion musicians also in the line-up include Johnny O’Halloran, Tommy Doherty, Lisa Canny, Colm O’Neachtain, Yvonne Flynn and Jimmy Higgins.
Sean nós is now the number one passion of the Cunningham siblings having been handed down as tradition from their grandparents in the days of house-to-house dancing.
This is clear for all to see in the Fuaim Chonamara show which is spectacular not alone for the energy that goes into the dance but the whole enjoyment the crew get from performing on stage. Their genuine enthusiasm spreads out into the audience with the end result that most are compelled to kick off their shoes and dance the night away.
Sunday’s programme will feature a matinee céilí with the Star of Munster in the Kilfenora Hall and further information is available from John Morgan at 087 6896600.

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