Friday, 9 May 2014

Shannon’s Lovely Vale

English: Listowel Bridge, Co Kerry. Bridge of ...
English: Listowel Bridge, Co Kerry. Bridge of the River Feale in Listowel, Co. Kerry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Debut Album set for release by the All–Ireland Champions Shannon Vale Céilí Band

Following on from their St. Patrick’s Day performance at Áras an
Uachtaráin, Kerry’s award winning Shannon Vale Céilí Band are preparing
to launch their debut album in Listowel, Co. Kerry on June 7th.

Shannon’s Lovely Vale takes it’s title from a newly composed tune by
renowned musician and composer, Maurice Lennon, of Stockton’s Wing fame.
Having composed this piece in honour of the band, Lennon also features
as guest artist on the recording. The album includes music and song of
North Kerry, much of which previously has been unrecorded.

The band comprises an impressive line–up of musicians featuring Sheila
Garry and Colm Kissane (Fiddles), Marianne Browne (Flute/ Whistles), Joe
O’Sullivan (Flute/Vocals), Mike Collins (Banjo/Mandolin/Flute), John
Collins (Drums), and Patsy Broderick, formerly of Arcady, features on
Piano. Critically acclaimed accordionist Danny O’Mahony is the driving
force behind the band. The combined result is a powerful and dynamic
overall sound, enriched by the spectrum of individual styles and a
shared appreciation of the North Kerry tradition.

The original band was formed in Ballyduff in 1960 by Dr. Mick Sweeney.
Following the revival of the Shannon Vale by leader Danny O’Mahony in
2009, they have since achieved huge success including winning the
coveted title of All–Ireland Senior Céilí Band Champions at Fleadh
Cheoil na hÉireann 2011.

The album will be officially launched on Saturday June 7th at 8pm in
The Listowel Arms Hotel, Listowel, Co. Kerry. Among the special guest
artists who will appear in concert on the night include Maurice Lennon,
Cyril O’Donoghue, Johnny Ringo McDonagh, Sliabh Luachra Set Dancers, and
world champion dancers Niamh O’Brien & Tomás Ó Sé. “Enduring vigour
and elegance from the rich musical tapestry of North Kerry; music of
heart & soul; as good as it gets” Joanie Madden – Cherish the Ladies

Shannon’s Lovely Vale is now available to purchase/download exclusively from

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Music Network Presents The Iona Connection

English: Original photo of Alasdair Fraser by ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alasdair Fraser, Natalie Haas & Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Sunday, May 18th, 8pm

“The musical chemistry between Scottish fiddle legend Alasdair Fraser
and young cello ace Natalie Haas is a rare, felicitous thing.” - Boston

“Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh’s beautiful airs had us begging for more. Every
corner seemed to echo with her voice long after the music had stopped.”
- Dublin Evening Press

Music Network Presents The Iona Connection: Nasc Oileán Í, Featuring
Alasdair Fraser (fiddle), Natalie Haas (cello) and Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
(fiddle/voice) on Sunday 18 May 2014 at Riverbank Arts Centre, Main
Street, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Music Network is delighted to present Scotland’s Alasdair Fraser on
fiddle, Californian cellist Natalie Haas and Donegal singer and fiddler
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh in an exploration of connections between
traditional Scots, Irish and American Old Time music. Join them on
Sunday 18 May at Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare as they
follow in the musical footsteps of tunes that have emigrated and found
their way home once more.

The remote Hebridean isle of Iona is a unique place, sitting at the
crossroads of Irish and Scottish culture and at the same time a sending
place for monks and travellers sailing west to the New World. It’s the
inspiration for Scots fiddler Alasdair Fraser, Californian cellist
Natalie Haas and Donegal native Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh as they explore the
connections between traditional Irish, Scottish and Old Time American
music, following in the musical footsteps of tunes that have emigrated
and found their way home once more.

The result: all the raw beauty and energy you’d expect from a
community on the edge of the known world, as Haas returns the cello to
its historical role at the rhythmic heart of Scottish dance music. It’s a
dream collaboration for Fraser, long regarded as one of Scotland’s
premier fiddlers and a proud ambassador for Gaelic culture and
traditions. He and Haas have been creating a buzz at festivals and
concert halls across Europe and America, and for this tour they are
performing for the first time with the inestimable Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.
One of the foremost singers in the Irish language and co-founder of
trad legends Altan, Mairéad will revisit the themes of ‘Edge’ and
‘Threshold’ explored on her first solo album  ‘Imeall’, together with
Haas and Fraser.

Music Network tours provide a wonderful opportunity to see some of
the world’s foremost musicians at affordable prices in venues around
Ireland, and are presented in association with RTÉ lyric fm.  Music
Network is funded by the Arts Council.

For more information, visit
To book tickets, visit box office or call 045 448327.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Fleadh Nua, Ennis - 18-26 May 2014

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fleadh Nua, Ennis: This year, 2014, marks the 40th anniversary of the first Fleadh Nua in Ennis and since 1974 it has developed from a 3 day event to a festival spanning 8 days, with more than 120 separate events, where there is a welcome for everyone. There are many Irish traditional festivals organised throughout the summer months but there are few people who will dispute that Fleadh Nua which started in Dublin in 1970, is the forerunner of them all. The concept of bringing together concerts, céilithe, music, song and dancing workshops, street entertainment, and much more was innovative in its time. However, it's still a winning formula today as evidenced by the thousands of visitors who flock to the festival every May for a week of unsurpassed traditional entertainment. Contact 00353 65 6824276 &

Friday, 2 May 2014

The Irish Music School of Chicago Announces 4th Annual Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week Kids Day Camp

Chicago Police Chief Francis O'Neill 1901–1905
Chicago Police Chief Francis O'Neill 1901–1905 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Irish Music School of Chicago proudly announces its fourth annual Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week Kids Day Camp from July 21-26, 2014. The week provides a unique learning opportunity by bringing master traditional Irish musicians to Chicago to teach the many facets of traditional Irish arts to children ages 6-14. The Kids Day Camp teaches a wide range of subjects including traditional Irish music, singing, dancing, language and Celtic arts and crafts to children with no experience necessary. The camp takes place at Chief O'Neill's at 3471 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago Monday, July 21 through Friday, July 25, 9am-3pm with a finale recital for friends and family on Saturday, July 26. Buffet lunch including many traditional Irish dishes is provided Monday-Friday for the campers and is included in the cost of camp ($300 early registration through May 15, $350 late registration begins May 16).
Chicago has a long history with traditional Irish music and the events of Francis O’Neill Irish Arts Week serve to continue that rich heritage. The Francis O’Neill Irish Arts Week further serves to cement Chicago’s historic place as a bastion of Irish music. The week pays fitting homage to former Chicago Police Chief, Captain Francis O’Neill, who preserved traditional Irish music for future generations. The week continues that legacy by passing the beauty of traditional Irish arts to the next generation during the Kids Day Camp and also offers evening and weekend programming for adults.
The faculty for the 2014 Francis O'Neill Irish Arts Week includes some of the best traditional Irish music and dance teachers in the world including members of one of Ireland's leading traditional bands, Téada. The faculty and their specialties are Seán Cleland (fiddle), Danny Collins (piano accordion, tenor banjo, bodhrán, céilí dancing), Róisín Comer (concertina, tin whistle, Irish flute, Irish language), Pauline Conneely (tin whistle, tenor banjo), Kathy Cowan (singing in Irish and English), Seán Gavin (tin whistle, Irish flute), Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Seán Mc Elwain (guitar), Robert McLeod (fiddle, tin whistle), Dierdre Millane (piano, Irish language), Rosemary O'Malley (fiddle, tin whistle), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán, Irish language and poetry), and Damien Stenson (Irish flute).
  •     Early registration for camp runs through May 15 at $300 which includes daily lunch Monday-Friday provided by Chief O'Neill's.
  •     Late registration begins May 16 at the rate of $350.
  •     Registration and additional information are available at
  •     Additional questions can be directed to info(at)irishmusicschool(dot)org or (773) 412-5082.
About the Irish Music School of Chicago
The Irish Music School of Chicago is a leader in teaching traditional Irish music to students of all ages by utilizing the traditional methods of teaching by ear and telling the stories behind the tunes, and the significance of being part of a living musical community. As a not-for-profit organization, the Irish Music School is committed to maintaining the strong tradition of Irish music, song and dance, to involve more people in the community of Irish music, and ensure that this type of music does not disappear in Chicago and the United States.

ITMA wins 2014 IAML excellence award for music libraries

The home of the Irish Traditional Music Archiv...
The home of the Irish Traditional Music Archive - Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann at 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Irish Traditional Music Archive is delighted to have been chosen by the International Association of Music Libraries (UK & Ireland) as one of the 2014 winners of its prestigious Excellence Award for Music Libraries, recently presented at a ceremony in Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

The Award celebrates institutional and individual excellence, and acknowledges ‘activity in music libraries which demonstrates sustained good work and good practice with the potential to be adopted and adapted by others’. It is presented every two years. The nominations for this year’s awards were judged by a panel of experts from both the music and library worlds, chaired by Professor Jan Smaczny of Queen’s University, Belfast.

ITMA is the only Irish institutional award winner of the year, and it was joined on the day by British libraries which included the British Library Music Collections, the Library of Cardiff University, the Library of the Royal Northern College of Music, and the Library of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

In its observations on ITMA, the judging panel said that its service was ‘particularly commended for the very wide–ranging collection which is of national and international significance, its contribution to Europeana, the sizeable staff with broad and appropriate skills, the collection’s open accessibility which is clearly widely regarded as a model for such repositories, and the strong and attractive website’.

For further information, see and , or contact ITMA at +353-(0)1-6619699.

Féile Chois Cuain this weekend

Approaching Louisburgh from Leenane
Approaching Louisburgh from Leenane (Photo credit: Diego Sideburns)
THE twentieth annual Féile Chois Cuain takes place over this May Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday May 2 to Monday, May 5, and will once again host many of the most notable traditional artists from home and abroad.
From its inception in 1995, Féile Chois Cuain, has put its emphasis on quality and the festival continues to attract the cream of traditional artists, gaining it an enviable reputation at home and abroad. The committee has again invited outstanding traditional arts exponents to teach classes and play in concerts and sessions over the May Bank Holiday weekend, as has been the case since the first one in 1995.
 Anyone with even a passing interest in traditional arts will recognise the artists listed in the programme. The list abounds with All-Ireland and Oireachtas champions and fourteen teachers will be involved in passing on their expertise in music (seven instruments), song (sean-nós and ballads) and set-dancing. It is a wonderful opportunity to have such renowned tutors give master-classes and perform in concerts and sessions. The tutors are on a par with those teaching at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheóil Scoil Éigse and at the Willie Clancy Festival.
 Apart from those listed on the programme, the committee has engaged numerous other artists. For many, recognising the quality of the festival, Féile Chois Cuain, has become an annual pilgrimage. Musicians and trad enthusiasts alike flock to one of the country’s most scenic areas to enjoy this celebration of Irish culture. Féile Chois Cuain has gone from strength to strength over the years and Louisburgh is the place to be for the best of music, song and dance, ceol, craic, cairdeas agus cuideachta from 2nd to 5th May - undoubtedly  a weekend not to be missed.
 Féile Chois Cuain provides a significant boost to the commercial life of the area and attracts visitors from far and wide – home and abroad. This is due to the reputation Féile has gained for the quality of its artists, but also for its unique atmosphere. Performers and visitors have remarked on the friendliness of the people and the respect shown to the performers. The absence of competitions adds to the relaxed atmosphere and the mix of concerts, classes, céilí and sessions have proved a popular format.
 The Festivities get under way with a Youth Concert commencing at 7.30pm on Friday which features local and visiting young musicians, many who have gained honours at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. All are welcome to the official opening at 9.30pm in ‘An Bhun Abhainn’ and informal sessions will be the order of the evening in all local pubs.
Saturday has a very full programme of events, commencing with classes in music, singing and set dance, from 10.30am to 4pm. This year sees the addition of a harp class. The tutors are all outstanding exponents of the traditional arts.
 At 4.15pm a sean-nós singing session, featuring some of the most decorated sean-nós singers of our time, takes place in the Parochial Hall.
The Grand concert at 8.45pm is one of the highlights of the weekend.  The concert features music, song and dance with Laoise Kelly, Colm O’Donnell, Maire Ní Choilm, John Regan, Angela Deane, Tara Breen, Jillian O’Malley, Muireann Banks and Edwina Guckian among a host of artists taking part.
 The Sunday afternoon concert “Macallaí thar Farraige” / “Echoes from Abroad” features artists who were born or are living abroad. Among those taking part will be Patsy Moloney, John Blake, Catherine and John McEvoy, Ciarán O’Grady, Theresa O’Grady, Joe O’Connor, Frank Baynes, John Burke, Carmel Commins, Coventry Comhaltas and many more.
Neill O’Neill

MUSIC Féile Chois Cuain celebrates 20 years


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