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Tag Archives: traditional music

County Fleadh on track for Kilrush

FIFTY-five years ago this month, the West Clare Railway was trundling towards Moyasta from Shragh when the driver started pumping the breaks. The train was packed and en route to the County Fleadh in Kilrush, which will be held in the town again later this month. Among those on board were the U-14 Shragh Flagellate and Accordion Band. The Whelan brothers, Frank and Joe Joe, were seated on the train when it ground to a sudden halt. “We heard the hooter blowing and we just pulled up,” Frank recounted. “I stuck my head out the window. There was a cow on the track with the calf sucking the cow. We sat there until the cow walked away when the calf was finished.” Their adventurous journey to Kilrush wasn’t over. The train pulled into Moyasta Station and was next due in Kilkee. However, a technical issue in Kilkee meant the West Clare Railway couldn’t turn there. “The roundabout in Kilkee wasn’t …

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Ennis awaits €60m Fleadh

THE economic spin-off for Ennis, as the host town for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016, could be worth up to €60 million. The figure has been arrived at based on independent assessments conducted after recent Fleadh events. Hundreds of Clare businesses are already tuning up to receive a windfall ranging from €40m to €60m, when Ennis stages the Fleadh in August 2016, according to the findings of economic evaluations compiled by Fáilte Ireland and independent consultants. While Ennis will be the main economic beneficiary, most towns and villages around the county will also benefit from Fleadh dividends, as Irish musical events are held in traditional strongholds, such as Tulla, Kilfenora, Feakle, Corofin, Ennistymon, Doolin, Miltown Malbay and Kilrush, as well as Shannon and Sixmilebridge. Ennis hosted the festival in 1956 and 1977 and hopes are high that it will secure it for a second successive year, following another presentation to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Ard Comhairle in March 2016, when a decision …

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Tulla prepares for Cnoc na Gaoithe

The third annual  Féile Cnoc na Gaoithe gets underway in Tulla on the last weekend of this month. Celebrating fiddle music, with fiddle workshops, competitions and recitals, the cast is headed up by the legendary fiddle-player, Maurice Lennon, with Liam O’Connor, Anton MacGabhann, Bernadette Nic Gabhann and local legendary fiddle-player, Vincent Griffin. The festival highlights include a performance by Maurice Lennon. His father, Ben Lennon, is well-known as a master of the Leitrim style of traditional fiddle and his uncle, Charlie Lennon, is renowned as a composer, piano accompanist and fiddler. At 19, Maurice became the youngest person to win the Senior Fiddle Championship at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil, held in Ennis in 1977. Shortly after this, he joined with three other All-Ireland champions to form Stockton’s Wing, with local Clare musicians, Kieran Hanrahan, Paul Roche and Tommy Hayes, with whom he composed, recorded and performed for the next 27 years. More recently, he has been composing and travelling the …

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Approved courses for teachers at Willie Clancy

Peter O’Connell The programmes on offer at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy, July 5 to 13, are now recognised by the Department of Education and Skills as approved summer courses for teachers. Among the courses on offer are Dúchas an Cheoil, the Heritage of Irish Music programme which examines the historical, cultural and social backgrounds to the evolution of the Irish traditional music heritage, and the traditional singing workshops which explore the different genres of song in the Irish and English language traditions. These courses are suitable for those wishing to develop a critical overview of the key personalities, events, publications, organisations and influences that have shaped the development of Irish traditional music, song and dance over the past two cenruries. One does not have to be a musician, singer or dancer to participate in these programmes. For those determined to improve their practical skills there is a full programme of instrumental tuition as well as classes on old-style step dancing, …

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A Noble Profession

By Róisín O’Sullivan St Joseph’s Secondary School, Spanish Point Highly commended, senior Clare Champion Short Story Competition EVERY year, a boisterous gaggle of grandchildren gather in one place in order to prove their dedication to their grandmother. Many are young, too young to understand that what they will be doing is something that will be forever engraved in their memories. They will learn skills only taught to those worthy of such high regard. Some will falter and give up, yet the majority, goaded on by their proud parents, will master their skills and become true and noble glass collectors. Each year in July, for the Willie Clancy Week festival, every bar, restaurant and street corner in Miltown Malbay transforms into a bustling atmospheric cauldron of instruments, musicians and nameless voices singing songs of old. The week brings thousands of people of every age to the normally quiet town. It is this week that my grandmother’s pub renews its youth and …

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Concertina convention comes to town

by Peter O’Connell THE first staging of the National Concertina Convention (Consairtín) will be held in Ennis this weekend.  The festival directors are concertina player and teacher Tim Collins along with Áine Hensey, who is also very involved in the traditional arts in Clare. “It’s a new music festival on the music landscape of Clare,” Tim said. “It’s about capturing the colossal interest in the instrument, not just in Clare anymore. In the last 20 or 30 years the concertina has become a very popular instrument right across the country and beyond. “Áine Hensey and I felt that the time was right to bring an international festival to Ennis that would capture the interest in the instrument. We have a broad weekend planned including a mixture of teaching and a lot of performances,” he added. The festival will be officially opened by Jurgen Suttner on Friday at 7.30pm in the Old Ground Hotel. “There are lectures as well each day …

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