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Willie Clancy Sumerschool director Harry Hughes at the piper's grave in Ballard cemetery. Photograph by John Kelly.

Swedish filmmaker revisits Willie Clancy 57 years on

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A SWEDISH filmmaker, whose work features the legendary piper, Willie Clancy, will return to Miltown Malbay next month for the first time since 1965. 

Lennart Malmer travelled to Ireland in the mid-‘60s in search of music. His visit took him into traditional music circles in Dublin, Scariff and on to Miltown, where he filmed in the home of Willie Clancy on the Flag Road.

The result of the young Swede’s musical journey is a film called ‘Porter och Pipa’ (Porter and Pipe), described as “a fascinating snapshot of the lives and music of some of the finest musicians in the history of Irish traditional music”. 

The short film will be screened on Wednesday, July 6 at 6pm in the Community Centre, with Mr Malmer present. 

The highly-regarded filmmaker was traced by Alan Woods of the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA), who set the ball rolling for the filmmaker’s return visit to West Clare, after an interval of 57 years. Harry Hughes of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, which gets underway on Friday, July 1, said Mr Malmer’s visit is among the highlights of this year’s festival.

“I’m fascinated and looking forward to meeting him,” he said. 

Mr Malmer is a documentary filmmaker and has worked as a director, producer, photographer, editor, sound engineer and music composer. His work, from the 1970s on, is highly politically engaged and deals with themes including the Vietnam War, the displacement of the indigenous Sami people, poverty, nuclear energy and global development.

The ITMA has a long association with Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. It  archives performances, hosts pop up archives, and presents lectures. As well as the screening of ‘Porter och Pipa’, the ITMA will deliver the Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture. This will be presented by Nicholas Carolan, co-founder and first Director of the ITMA, on Saturday, July 2 at the Community Centre at 8.30pm. 

A new ITMA documentary, entitled ‘Portrait of an Artist: Seán Keane’, and featuring the life and music of renowned Dublin fiddle player  will be screened on Monday, July 4 at 7pm, at the Community Centre

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