Saturday, 9 January 2010

A “Living Tradition” of Irish Music Plays On

“It will blow the cobwebs off what peoples’s impressions of Irish music is,” says Aidan Connolly, Executive Director of New York City’s Irish Arts Center, about the showcase of Irish Traditional Music this weekend produced there by Culture Ireland.

Culture Ireland, an arm of the Irish government dedicated to promoting Irish culture worldwide, hopes to demonstrate that Irish music explores musical boundaries and engages with other genres. “It’s a living tradition,” says Eugene Downes, Culture Ireland’s Chief Executive.

The five acts in the showcase include “sean nos” (old style, unaccompanied) singer Iarla O Lionaird, whose evocative tenor fronted the fusion group Afro Celt Sound System; young fiddler Caoimhin O Raghailaigh, whose take on traditional music looks back earlier than the 70s revival to the beginning of this century; contemporary singer-songwriter and poet John Spillane; young upbeat group Caladh Nua, hailing from three regions in Ireland; and The Unwanted, a band which combines Appalachian and Irish music through two members of the popular group Dervish, Cathy Jordan and Seamus O’Dowd, and American musician Rick Epping.

“You have to break things up in order to remake them,” says singer O Lionaird, who describes what he does as “fission” as much as “fusion.” His influences include Brian Eno and David Bowie. He sings in Irish, his first language, but says “The meaning is in the ears of the beholder.”

In addition to the Traditional Music Showcase this Saturday and Sunday, Culture Ireland has also brought Daniel Figgis tonight to perform at Symphony Space his avant-garde electronica extravaganza “Snakes and Ladders,” which blends original, traditional and rock music with video.

The Traditional Music Showcase is free, presented as part of the APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Conference, but reservations are required.


Anonymous said...


Darragh Ó Héiligh said...


Sorry, this comment isn't specifically related to this post however, I hope you don't mind.

I am in the process of setting up a basic online broadcast of Irish Music every week on Saturday at 7PM GMT.

I would really appreciate it if you would consider posting about something about it as I'd like to get a few people interested.

I'm not making any profit from the show and it is fully licensed by IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organization.

There are currently no decent radio shows in Ireland at the moment with IRish traditional music only. I hope this broadcast fills this void.

Again, I am sorry that I'm posting this in a public comment however I was unable to find a contact facillity on your site.


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