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Nuala Kennedy and Tara Breen

Musicians reunite for Culture Night

TWO contemporary Clare musicians are set to collaborate with their musical heroes from times past as part of an innovative new project which will premiere on Culture Night this September.
The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) and the Arts Office of Clare County Council have announced that the second Duala: Creator-in-Residence Scheme has been awarded to joint applicants Tara Breen and Nuala Kennedy.
The pair have been working on Ag Lorg Ár Líne – Clare Women: Listening and Performing will premiere online on Friday, September 17, as part of Culture Night 2021.
They have been listening deeply to archival recordings of their female predecessors, and are attempting to ‘collaborate remotely’ across time and space with some of their County Clare musical foremothers: Kitty Hayes, song/concertina; Nell Galvin, fiddle; Mary Haren, concertina; and singer Nora Cleary. 
Through creative use of digital archival recordings, Nuala and Tara will explore and reimagine the details and subtleties of the music of these influential women performers through contemporary duet performance.
Siobhán Mulcahy, Clare County Arts Office, stated, “We are delighted to support this project in which the artists, Nuala and Tara, seized on the challenging times we live in to ‘collaborate remotely’, highlighting the contemporary nature of their traditional music practices.
“This resonated with us and the proposal shone brightly amongst a strong calibre of proposals, highlighting, once again, artists’ enthusiasm to work in County Clare.”
Liam O’Connor, Director of ITMA, stated, “The creativity expressed in the applications for the second Duala Residency, and that of the selected project from Tara Breen and Nuala Kennedy, is a testimony to the continuing value of archival collections to inspire new and innovative artistic work.
“We are delighted to work with Tara, Nuala and Clare County Arts Office, and particularly appreciate the opportunity to focus on collections and materials relating to women in County Clare that are held in ITMA.”
The open call for this initiative between Clare Arts Office and ITMA attracted a large number of applicants excited by an opportunity to reflect/respond creatively to collections and materials that are of relevance or reference County Clare held in ITMA.
Along with traditional musicians and dancers, applications were received from a multitude of art forms and there was a large amount of proposals from artists outside Ireland. The Duala residency is valued at €8,000.
Nuala Kennedy is an acclaimed and award-winning touring and recording solo and ensemble artist.
A traditional singer and flute player, she grew up playing Irish music in Dundalk, County Louth, and now currently resides in Ennis, County Clare with her Appalachian singer husband A.J. Roach and their two young children.
Tara Breen is an acclaimed and award-winning fiddle, flute and saxophone player.
She has recorded and toured extensively with a number of bands including The Chieftains and Stockton’s Wing, and is the recipient of multiple All-Ireland Fleadh titles as a solo and ensemble player.
Tara studied music and Irish in University College Cork, and has been teaching fiddle for over a decade. She is now employed by Music Generation.

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