SCOIL Chríost Rí will represent Ireland in the International Pan Celtic Song contest.
Thirteen pupils from the school in Cloughleigh will compete in Derry on April 26 following their outstanding success at the national final at the weekend in Carlow.
Their entry, the only one by a national school to make it to the finals, triumphed over such talents as John Spillane, The Begleys, Áine Durcan, Na Taosaigh.
Chairman of the judging panel, Aonghus Mac Nally was loud in his praise for the group saying, “This was not a token gesture for these young children rather a total applaud for their energy, enthusiasm and deep rooted musical ability representing a new Ireland playing traditional Irish music with an innovative reggae, ska – rock twist.”
The school received a cheque for €1,000, which will help the fundraising efforts of the school as they now go forward to represent Ireland in the Guildhall Theatre in Derry where they will be up against national entries from the other participating Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, Brittany,
Cornwall and The Isle of Man.
The Scoil Chríost Rí entry features 11 year-old Roy Jones-Mbou as the lead singer and banjo player for the song Seán Bán Abú. He is joined by fellow rang a sé students Abdul Saidi (drums), Emmanuel Ikieby (banjo), Zarena Boladale and Emma Ikieby (concertinas), Glodia Luyinduladio, Axelle Hakizimana, Lauren Chiosóig, Leah Fawl, Deborah Babajide, Chelsea Mba Ileozor and Rebecca Sobamiwa (fi ddles).
Derick Sholarin from rang a cúig makes up the troupe on lead electric guitar.
The song, go léir as Gaeilge, was written by rang a sé teacher, Jó Maig Fhearaghaigh, with music composed by resource teacher Caren Ní Mhocháin. The song tells of the exploits of a young tearaway “Seán Bán” and his penchant for trouble.
Oide rang a trí, Pól Ó Críocháin has added a catchy chorus to the number.
According to a spokesperson for the school, “Music plays a major part in the school in Cloughleigh. The school community fosters a self belief of the profound effect that music can have in a child’s life and their overall holistic development.
The school firmly believes that playing music increases a child’s concentration skills, self confidence and gives them self discipline, rewarding them with a powerful “feel good factor” when playing music in a group.”
There are 187 children playing Irish traditional music from rang a h-aon to rang a sé. There is a junior band from first and second classes of 67 pupils and a senior band from third to sixth of 120 pupils.
There is also a rock band “Rockleigh”.
Every child begins on the tin whistle and chooses their own traditional Irish instrument
in second and third class.
The young musicians can be viewed performing on www.ceolcriostri.weebly.com.