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Tag Archives: traditional music

Arts community get creative in the face of Covid-19 restrictions

CLARE’S vibrant arts sector is the envy of many counties. Renowned globally for its traditional music, the Banner county not only produces some of the finest creative talents, it also attracts musicians, dancers and artists who come here for inspiration and in the hope that a thriving artistic scene will support them in making a living on the path less travelled. Now, in the context of ongoing pandemic restrictions, access to audiences at venues like galleries, concert venues and pubs, and to collaborators, is shut down, for now. So too are vital income streams. While some government support is available in the form of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, as well as a COVID-19 Crisis Response Award from the Arts Council, many are facing serious set-backs financially and creatively. Renowned Newmarket-based visual artist Philip Brennan faced the extraordinary experience recently of having a freshly-installed exhibition hanging in empty halls behind the doors of a locked building. After more than two decades …

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Pat Costello: A Man For All Seasons

BY Bríd Costello THE world of traditional music lost one of its staunchest champions with the passing of Patrick Joseph Costello earlier this month. A well-known broadcaster and musician, Pat went by almost as many names as he had passions. Known as Patrick, Paddy, Packie, P, Daddy or Grandad, depending on who he was speaking to at the time, he was a polymath whose breadth of knowledge touched a vast number of subjects ranging from mechanics and information technology to art, poetry and philosophy. And what he didn’t know, he was eager to learn. Born in 1947, in the parish of Moycarkey, County Tipperary, Pat was the firstborn child of Molly and Jerry Costello. He developed a love for music at a very early age and often reminisced about his first instrument – an upturned biscuit tin and a pair of knives. “There was always rhythm. It was never noise,” says his sister Peggy, adding their mother Molly bought Pat …

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Tulla Comhaltas Members Stay In Tune Despite Crisis

TULLA Comhaltas are making sure younger members stay in tune, while their regular music lessons and band practice sessions remain suspended as the Covid-19 crisis continues. The organisation, which has up to 100 members in the under-18 age category, has been inviting its junior musicians to record performances in their homes and share them on the Tulla Comhaltas Facebook page. The activity has proven hugely popular with audiences worldwide and has been instrumental in keeping young musicians busy and learning while the lock-down continues. The initiative is the brain-child of Youth Officer Aisling Hunt, who, up to the advent of the crisis, had been busy training junior members for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the All-Ireland Fleadh. “At the moment, there are no individual lessons going on, no group practices and no sessions,” she explained. “We don’t know if or when the Fleadh will take place. That was scheduled for August in Mullingar, but it’s now postponed. Our young members had …

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Michael Flatley Opens Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann

  The crowds came out in force again this year as Michael Flatley opened Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis for 2017. Ahead of playing a tune on flute, accompanied by his friend Ger Fahy, Michael Flatley told of his love for music and dance and commended the organisers for putting on another wonderful festival this year. He paid tribute to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann for all the work they do and for bringing music into his life. “Labhras Ó Murchú who was dear friends with my father, God rest his soul, brought music to Chicago when I was a young man and I can never say thank you enough. Thank you to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann because they brought that little ray of sunshine into our lives, they are the ones who got me started playing music. I’m sure most of you here would have benefitted in some way from that wonderful organisation,” he said.  Reflecting on his family, who encouraged …

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Giving people a little more Moxie

TWO members of Moxie, who will play at Glór on August 20, were ironically once kicked out of the Fleadh Cheoil. Ted Kelly and his brother Jos got the red card when they showed more innovation than was welcome. Despite this, he is still broadly positive about the whole extravaganza. “We’ve (members of Moxie) been many times. We’ve qualified for fleadhs, some of us have won fleadhs. It’s gas craic. It’s a great thing, it really pushes kids to become better at music. “The only thing is there should be a little more leeway for freedom in things like duets. You’re not allowed do certain ornamentations, you’re not allowed play harmonies, it doesn’t give kids the freedom to arrange music. Then they go and hear people like Seamie O’Dowd, Mairtín O’Connor and Cathal Hayden, those three lads playing together. For me and my brother Jos, those three were a huge influence and we wanted to learn to play like them. …

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Youth singing workshops at Fleadh

Clare County Council is to host two free traditional singing workshops during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis next week. The workshops, which offer young singers the opportunity to experience County Clare’s rich singing tradition, take place at the De Valera Public Library in Ennis from 10.30am to midday on Tuesday and Wednesday. The sessions will also feature demonstrations of traditional songs and style by John Flanagan and Elle Marie O’Dwyer. Tuesday’s workshop will be facilitated by Corofin native John Flanagan, who is nephew of the renowned singers Sarah and Rita Keane in Galway. Elle Marie O’Dwyer, a primary school teacher from Cork, who is currently pursuing a Masters in Irish Traditional Music Performance, will host the Wednesday session. Siobhán Mulcahy, Clare Arts Officer, said “We believe these workshops will complement the existing traditional singing classes provided at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann by Comhaltas, with the intention of attracting more young people to traditional singing either as singers or listeners.”

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Clare Champion car sticker celebrates Fleadh

With Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016 in Ennis only a matter of weeks away, The Clare Champion has produced a car sticker to highlight the county’s rich traditional music heritage. “The Banner – home of traditional music”, is the catchphrase on the must-have car sticker, available free with this week’s Clare Champion on Thursday. Displaying this car stick will be an endorsement of your pride in the Fleadh returning to Clare after a long wait.

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Young folk doing old stuff

ST Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla were this week treated to a lunchtime concert by a young group of visiting traditional musicians from Vermont in the United States. The Young Tradition Touring Group, made up of 19 musicians aged between 12 and 19, are currently touring the West of Ireland and have stopped in Clare for performances in The Powerhouse in Tulla, Pepper’s and Shortt’s in Feakle. The group play North American traditional tunes, as well as Appalachian music, Cajun and some bluegrass. They also dance during their performances. The musicians are being hosted in Clare by Mary MacNamara and her group of young East Clare musicians. As part of this, they performed a lunchtime concert in the secondary school in Tulla on Wednesday for students and teachers. Students at St Joseph’s also played music, sang and danced for the visiting group. Most of the visiting group members are from Vermont, although a few hail from as far as Maine, …

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