FOLK music fans have a treat in store over the coming weeks, with the launch of a news series of online folk club sessions hosted by broadcaster Paula Carroll in collaboration with Glór, Ennis. The acclaimed presenter of The West Wind on Clare FM will host both emerging and established artists who will chat and perform as part of the Folk Nights at Glór series.
“Glór’s auditorium is mostly empty these days,” said Paula, “but it’s still an atmospheric place, maybe even more so. I wanted to fill that auditorium with music – even if the only audience were the crew, and then present that music to the world. It felt absolutely magical to have these great musicians perform for us. We hope you’ll feel the magic too. After the performance we took to the armchairs to chat about how music-making has changed in today’s world and what it might now mean for musicians and for us the audiences. I know we’re all confined to our couches for entertainment these days, but through the wonders of technology, you can still join the conversation, we can still have a collective experience.”
The new series begins on Thursday, April 8 with Maria Ryan and Ger O’Donnell. Maria is a violinist, fiddle player and singer from Pallasgreen in Limerick. Maria is an alumnus of Cork School of Music (CIT), where she co-founded the highly acclaimed music ensemble Strung. In recent times she has also toured internationally with Galician piper Carlos Nuñez, played with Crash Ensemble and the Irish National Opera. She comes into her own in this folk collaboration with singer and multi-instrumentalist Ger O’ Donnell,
Ger is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, music educator, arranger, was born in Limerick. His musical journey has led him through fife and drum bands to classical flute to rock bands to his current focus on strings and voice in folk arrangements. Long before lockdowns, his online collaborations with singers and instrumentalists, have garnered him a huge and loyal following.
Clare’s own Dermot Sheedy takes to the stage for the April 22 show, when he will be joined by Aisling and Seán Lyons. Dermot first came to prominence as the percussionist with ‘Ciorras’, a new band formed by Donal Lunny as part of the TG4 series Lorg Lunny. Since then he’s gone on to bigger things and an international touring career with Hermitage Green. Back home again now in lockdown, he proves himself a sensitive and imaginative collaborator in the folk world.
Aisling Lyons is one of the rising stars of the Irish harp world – rooted in tradition and beautifully inventive. She is also an accomplished concertina player and trails a string of accolades on both instruments. She comes from a musical family, her parents and brother being multi-genre singers and instrumentalists.
From the same musical family as Aisling Seán Lyons, is a piper, whistle player and singer. With his striking lyrics and imaginative melody-making, he has also proven himself a fine song-writer in folk and other idioms.
On Thursday May 6, Paula’s guests are Dermot Bryne and Steve Cooney. Dermot Byrne shot to fame as a child prodigy on the accordion in his native Donegal, and is still considered one of the finest accordion players in the tradition. He toured for many years with Donegal trad band Altan. He has lived in and around Clare for many years. As well as the Irish folk tradition, he also dips into European and global accordion repertoires.
Steve Cooney is best known for his development of an influential style of guitar accompaniment to Irish dance music which he developed in West Kerry in his legendary collaboration with Séamus Begley.
Despite participating in the making of over 250 albums, he only recently released his first ever solo CD – to huge critical acclaim. In 2020 he was given the RTÉ Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement’ Award.
More details of all of the online performances are available on Glor.ie.