'It’s all about enjoyment' – Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill, Máirtín O’Connor and Séamie O’Dowd on Tour
Traditional singer Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and accordion virtuoso Máirtín O’Connor will be reunited next week for a 10-date tour of Ireland. The pair have previously toured Africa and Japan together. Joining them on the trio tour organised by Music Network is the fiddle-player, guitarist and singer Séamie O’Dowd, who regularly plays with O’Connor in his band.
Ní Dhomhnaill spoke to The Journal of Music about her plans for the tour. Because she normally sings with her sister Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill – and they have had a ‘very busy year’ and are planning to make a new album soon – she is excited by the new types of arrangements and repertoire with O’Dowd and O’Connor. Among the songs they’ll feature is one by the late singer-songwriter Thom Moore.
We all sat down at one point and realised we all knew the late Thom Moore in some way or another… so we are going to do one of Thom’s songs – ‘The Train to Sligo’. I remember when Thom wrote that.
Based on the melody of the traditional reel ‘The Scholar’, ‘The Train to Sligo’ is about Moore’s daughter’s school days and her visiting him in Sligo after a marital separation – ‘The train to Sligo moves too slow / As it takes her from the school below.’
Ní Dhomhnaill and O’Dowd will sing the Moore song together and also collaborate on others from their repertoire, and she will sing at least one unaccompanied at each concert. Máirtín O’Connor – whose compositions often reflect a classical music influence – is also planning an arrangement of an instrumental Bach suite.
Places to go
Ní Dhomhnaill has previously performed on Music Network tours, including one shortly after her brother, the late Mícheál Ó Domhnaill (a member with Tríona of the Bothy Band), died in 2006. It was a tour ‘we should never done’, Ní Dhomhnaill recalls, as they were ‘not in a good place at all’. Ní Dhomhnaill often sang unaccompanied when Tríona and Mícheál were living in the United States, but that all changed when they returned and they regularly sang together, including reforming their renowned group Skara Brae for a couple of concerts.
As with the collaborations with O’Dowd and O’Connor, however, she is also looking forward on this tour to performing in the range of different venues around the country – ‘Some lovely venues have popped up all over the country’. She’s particularly excited about the first night in the Jerome Hynes Theatre at the National Opera House on 11 September. For Maighread, music and singing now is ‘all about enjoyment’.
The Music Network tour begins in Wexford on 11 September at 8pm, then visits Whelan’s in Dublin (12th), Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar (13th), Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny (14th), Station House Theatre, Clifden (16th), Glór, Ennis (18th), St. John’s Theatre & Arts Centre, Listowel (19th), Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire (20th), Roscommon Arts Centre (22nd) and St. Peter’s Church of Ireland, Portlaoise (23rd).
For booking and further information, visit www.musicnetwork.ie.
Published on 4 September 2018