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New series explores music of the islands


WORLD-famous musician Sharon Shannon’s love for her home county of Clare is well known, with the accordionist this week being honoured by Clare County Council for her musical achievements.
However, next month she will be showing her appreciation for another part of the country when she takes part in a new television series exploring the music of Ireland’s islands. Sharon will be contributing to the TG4 series Ceol na Oileán, where she describes the attraction Inisbofin holds for her. “I always get this great feeling going to Bofin, it’s like going home,” she says.
Sharon Shannon is taking part in the series that looks at the the various musical traditions of the islands.  The programme featuring Sharon will be on October 18 at 8pm, repeated again on October 23. Other participants on the show will include Mary Staunton, Dessie and Vincent O’Halloran, Reg Hall, the Inisbofin Céilí Band, Geraldine, Peadar and Liam King.
The series of six programmes explores the particular musical culture of Ireland’s islands including The Aran Islands, Inishbofin and Ceantar na nOileán in Galway, The Great Blasket in Kerry, Achill in Mayo and Tory Island in Donegal.
Each programme gives an insight into the musical history of the various islands, how it has evolved over the years and the strength of that tradition at present. Images of the islands’ environment enhance the sentiment of the music and songs, with the unique physical landscape providing an effective and attractive context.
As well as contributions from musicians, singers and dancers native to the various islands, the programmes feature people with particular interest in and knowledge of the musical tradition of the islands. Archive material of various kinds features strongly in each programme.
The programme has already begun broadcasting on Sunday nights at 8pm. The second programme in the series will focus on the Great Blasket Island and will be broadcast on September 27 at 8pm and October 2 at 9.50pm.
Fiddle player Fergal Mac Amhlaoibh will be speaking about the island’s musical heritage saying, “Music was an integral part of island life. It was like eating, like sleeping.” Other participants include Dr Ríonach Uí Ógáin, Maidhc Dainín Ó Sé, Áine Uí Laoithe, Eilín Ní Chearna and Aoife Granville.

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