Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Kilfenora Ceili Band big draw at forthcoming O'Carolan Fest

The annual O'Carolan Harp, Cultural and Heritage Festival will takes place in Nobber from Thursday 1st October until Sunday 4th October and will feature a wide range of events, including the legendary Kilfenora Ceili Band and Sileas, the renowned Scottish harpers.
On the opening night of the festival, archaeologist Matthew Seaver will give a talk on Nobber and the Barony of Morgallion in Nobber Community Hall at 8pm, under the auspices of Meath Archaeological and Historical Society.
Sileas will play in O'Carolan College on Friday 2nd October, with support from harpists Dearbhail Finnegan and Cormac De Barra. This is the first time that Sileas has played at the O'Carolan Festival, and their playing will add to the centuries-old relationship between Irish and Scottish harpers.
On Saturday 3rd October at 11am in O'Carolan College, Kathleen Loughnane from Nenagh will give a talk on 'The Harpers Connellan'.
The brothers Thomas and William Connellan were born in Co. Sligo in the 1640s; both brothers were harpers and are famous for the words and music of 'Molly MacAlpin'.
Turlough O'Carolan is said to have loved this piece so much that he is quoted as saying that he would have traded all his own tunes in order to have been its composer.
Kathleen Loughnane has being researching these two fascinating brothers and will present her findings at the O'Carolan festival.
Harp competitions for the O'Carolan Commemoration Perpetual Cups and Crystal begin at 11am on Saturday in O'Carolan College in several sections: under-10 where competitors must play two contrasting tunes. Ages 10-12 must also play two contrasting tunes. In the senior section, competitors must play one O'Carolan and three contrasting traditional tunes.
In the ages 12-15 section, they must perform one O'Carolan and one traditional tune and in the 15-18 section one O'Carolan and two contrasting traditional tunes must be played.
Competitions will conclude at 4.30pm.
Instrumental workshops will be held in O'Carolan College from 10am till 1pm for tin whistle, conducted by Liam Stapleton; button accordion, Paddy Howell; fiddle, Jeremy Spencer; guitar accompaniment for Irish music, Sean Leahy. Enrolments for workshops is at 9.30am.
Harp workshops will be held by Kathleen Loughnane in the school at 12 noon following a presentation by her at 11am.
A tour of the O'Carolan Country will be held on Saturday 3rd October.
The Kilfenora Ceili Band will play in O'Carolan College on Saturday 3rd October at 8.30pm. Support will be by the Meath Harp Ensemble.
2009 is the centenary celebration of the formation of the Kilfenora band. Not only is this an historic milestone for the band itself, but a reminder that Irish culture and traditions are thriving and have survived the test of time.
The 10-piece band features three fiddles (Anne Rynne, Pat Lynch and Annemarie McCormack), two flutes (Anthony Quigney and Garry Shannon), two sqeezeboxes (Tim Collins and his wife, Claire Griffin), banjo and leader (John Lynch), drums (Sean Griffin) and piano (Fintan McMahon).
The current lineup has been together by and large for 17 years under the leadership of John Lynch. With the previous generation advancing in age, the band was going through something of a hiatus in the early 1990s and then John Lynch emerged. He proved quite conservative to begin with and they confined their activity to rehearsal and competition. However they took on some gigs and the bug took hold. They have now been invited to Britain, France, America and elsewhere.
They often play for dancers but in recent years have moved further towards concert performances and this has proved successful. Their forte is instrumental music with some harmony and a driving rhyth.
On Sunday 4th October, the Aifreann Tradisiunta will be held in St John the Baptist Church, Nobber, at 11am, followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the O'Carolan monument near the fire station in the village. The 2009 recipients of the Tony Finnegan Memorial Award - Michael O'Neill and Grace Crilly - will provide music at the monument. Refreshments will then be served in Nobber Community Hall.
Later on Sunday, Davey Joe Fallon will play at a ceili in Nobber Community Hall at 3pm till 6pm.
Music sessions will be held in Dee Local on Friday at 10pm and in Keogan's Lounge on Saturday at 10pm.

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