Friday, 10 February 2012

Gaelic music, song and dance weekend in Isle of Man

Bilingual welcome road sign in Douglas, Isle o...Image via WikipediaTHE Manx Heritage Foundation’s annual traditional music, song and dance workshop weekend is back in 2012, and while the timetable is yet to be finalised, the dates, venue and guests of honour have been revealed.

The workshops are confirmed for the weekend of March 10 and 11, to be held at Manx Heritage Foundation headquarters in the stable building and chapel at The Nunnery in Douglas and will be led by Donegal singer Noeleen Ni Cholla and Belfast-based dancer and instrumentalist Tim Flaherty.

Both visitors are experienced tutors as well as performers.

Noeleen is well-known in the Gaelic world and has performed around the world with some of the scene’s biggest names. She will be teaching Irish solo and choral singing to the adults, as well as a traditional music session with youngsters.

Tim dances will Belfast’s All Set, and will teach set dancing as well as sean nos – a very social, fast moving dance style – to more experienced dancers. He will also lead sessions on the whistle and teach Irish tunes to all instruments.

Manx Heritage Foundation’s Breesha Maddrell is pleased to welcome both on what will be their first visits to the island.

She said: ‘Noeleen is a fantastic Irish Gaelic singer, I saw her perform at Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany in France. She brings an opportunity to learn solo and harmony vocals in Irish Gaelic.’

Breesha went on to explain: ‘We like to do these weekends once a year, and try to vary where our guests come from, and the instruments they specialise in, as it brings in new ideas and techniques.’

Noeleen and Tim needed no convincing to come over, as people heavily involved in the Celtic identity of Ireland they were both intrigued by parallels to the Isle of Man. They both speak Irish, and Noeleen is from the Donegal Gaeltacht (an area where Irish is the predominant first language) and also speaks Scottish Gaelic, so she in particular is looking forward to getting her ears around the Manx language.

Breesha added: ‘It’s very important for the island- it contextualises Manx culture and arts in the wider Gaelic context, which is why each year we try to get guests from Scotland and Ireland in particular because of the Gaelic link.’

The setting lends itself well to the workshop weekends. Aside from the inspiring landscape of The Nunnery grounds, and good parking, the converted chapel is a good sized hall for singing and dancing, and the smaller seminar rooms around the building are used for instrument workshops.

Previous weekends have culminated in concert performances, and Breesha says this year there will again likely be an opportunity for the tutors to showcase what they do.

Breesha can be contacted at for more details.

Gaelic music, song and dance weekend - Manx Entertainment News - iomtoday

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