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Tag Archives: Harry Hughes

‘Don’t settle for the skim milk when the cream is at hand’

The interview conducted by Harry Hughes and Muiris Ó Rocháin with Willie Clancy for the first volume of Dal gCais was hugely important and is now a priceless piece of folk history as the great exponent of the art of piping talked about his music, great pipers of the past and the state of Irish music in the early 1970s. Q: Willie Clancy, you are considered one of the greatest living exponents of the art of piping. Can you give us some idea of the background to your music? A: I come from a very musical family, our family was part of the musical tradition of West Clare and that tradition included Garret Barry the blind paper from Inagh. Garret was a personal friend of my father and he influenced him to a certain degree. My father in time passed this knowledge and appreciation on to me. Apart from this, I came under the direct influence of the Travelling piper …

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Building the legend and legacy of the great Willie Clancy

Fifty years after his death, this week in 1973, Willie Clancy’s legacy and name has never been stronger, writes Joe O Muircheartaigh, who spoke to the driving force behind the festival in the great piper’s name, Harry Hughes WHEN Harry Hughes saw Willie Clancy for the first time it was in his carpenter’s overalls when he walked around Miltown Malbay, with the rule that was one of the tools of his trade in the breast pocket of the dungarees he wore — he was going from one job to the next, or else up to his house on the Flag Road. There he was — the renowned musician, that Harry saw before he ever heard him on the uilleann pipes, or before he spoke to the man who 50 years after his death is revered as one of the professors emirati in the sky when it comes to the pipes. Because you can trace a line from Willie through to …

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West Clare counts the cost of Summer School cancellation

MILTOWN Malbay and the wider West Clare community continue to count the cost of the cancellation of an event whose economic value has been set at between €5 and €10 million annually. The Willie Clancy Summer School, whose cultural value is probably impossible to estimate, is among the casualties of the coronavirus restrictions. Its absence, on what would have been its 48th birthday, will be felt well beyond the Banner county. This year’s event had been expected to attract 1500 students  between July 4 and 12, with many thousands more attending for sessions, talks, seminars, dancing, concerts and the general festival atmosphere. Administrative Director Harry Hughes described the cancellation of this year’s Scoil Samhradh as “disappointing but inevitable” in the context of Covid-19. “We had been hoping things might improve in terms of the virus, but that wasn’t to be,” he remarked. “We are very disappointed for all of our students and tutors who attend year after year and the cancellation …

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Germans celebrate at Willie Clancy

A group of Germans took a break from the music in Miltown Malbay on Tuesday to celebrate their country’s 7-1 win over Brazil in the World Cup.  They are among a large contingent from all over the world at this year’s Willie Clancy Summer School. Festival administrator, Harry Hughes, has reported steady participation in most of the classes on offer in Miltown, while the town has been generally busy, day and night. “We seem to have an enrollment that would certainly match last year. We have an increase in the banjo, fiddle and concertina classes. The piping and other classes would be rather stationery but we are returning the same figures as last year,” he explained. “The picture seems to be pretty busy. The pubs are busy at night-time, as are the hotels. I think the town has the same numbers back again as they would in previous years. I’ve just come up the town now and the streets are pretty …

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