44th Cork Folk Festival to Feature Martin Carthy, Karan Casey's 'The Women, We Will Rise',  and Ron Block and Damien O'Kane

Banjo players Ron Block and Damien O'Kane will perform at the Cork Folk Festival on Friday 29 September.

44th Cork Folk Festival to Feature Martin Carthy, Karan Casey's 'The Women, We Will Rise', and Ron Block and Damien O'Kane

Five-day festival also features Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Daoirí Farrell, Jason Turk, Cormac Ó Caoimh, Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, Máire Ní Chéileachair, John Spillane and Cónal Creedon, Steph Geremia, Frances Black, Sharon Shannon and Mary Coughlan.

The 44th Cork Folk Festival, one of Ireland’s longest-running folk festivals, begins on Wednesday 27 September and runs until Sunday 1 October.

Among the highlights this year are singer Karan Casey’s new theatrical song cycle The Women, We Will Rise at the Everyman; a series of five concerts at Triskel that includes Martin Carthy, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Damien O’Kane with bluegrass banjo player Ron Block, and a night of Múscraí songs in honour of Diarmuidín Ó Súilleabháin; and flute, fiddle, accordion and concertina concerts at the Spailpín Fánach venue.

Day by day
The festival opens on Wednesday with the premiere of Casey’s The Women, We Will Rise at 8pm, a song cycle focusing on women in Ireland, past, present and future. Directed by Tom Creed, the show features new songs written by Casey about her great-grandmother and Cumann na mBan member Agnes Ryan and other figures from the era such as Kathleen Clarke from Limerick and Countess Markievicz. The show also explores contemporary issues facing women. There will be additional performances on Thursday at 8pm and Saturday at 2.30pm.

On Thursday, the festival line-up features Greenshine at MTU Bishopstown (1pm), singer/songwriters John Neville and Martin Leahy at Coughlan’s (7.30pm), the Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh Trio plus Tionól at Triskel (8pm), and Daoirí Farrell at the Spailpín Fánach (9.30pm).

Friday begins with a concert by Jason Turk at the Civic Trust House (1pm), performing traditional music on the Seaboard Rise 2, an innovative electronic keyboard. 

At 3pm on Friday 29 September, folk singer Linn Phipps will perform at the Cork City Music Library; Cork singer/songwriter Cormac Ó Caoimh will give a concert with Martin Leahy at Coughlan’s Bar (7.30pm), and at Triskel at 8pm, Damien O’Kane on banjo with Alison Krauss and Union Station banjo star Ron Block will perform with bass player Duncan Lyall and Stevie Byrnes on guitars and stomp. Also performing on the night are Sara Corkery (vocals and guitar) and Brendan Butler (vocals and mandolin). The Céilí Allstars plus Paul Walker from the UK, Karan Pfeiffer from Germany and folk singer Seb Stone will perform at the Spailpín at 9.30pm.

Workshops and more
There will be music and song workshops at MTU Cork School of Music on Saturday morning with Matt Cranitch, Jackie Daly and Máire Ní Chéileachair, and a walking/singing tour of Cork with John Murphy at 11am. 

At 1pm, John Spillane and Cónal Creedon will be at Triskel for a combination of songs and stories, and at 2pm, there will be a flute and whistle concert at the Spailpín with Hammy Hamilton, Conal Ó Gráda, Aoife Granville and Caoimhin Ó Fearghail.

Singer/songwriters Mary Greene, Brigid O’Neill, Molly O’Mahony and Siobhán O’Brien and Cork-based South African poet Neo Gilson will be at the Spailpín at 5pm, and, at 8pm at Triskel, English folk legend Martin Carthy will be joined by Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch. At the Spailpín, Steph Geremia with John Mccusker, Dermot Byrne, Aaron Jones and Ian Carr, plus the Boruma Trio, will perform at 9pm.

The Diarmuidín Songbook
The final day includes a fiddle concert at 1pm at the Spailpín with Bernadette Nic Gabhann, Garry Cronin, Judy Murphy, Eileen O’Brien, Alan Finn and Seamus Sands; a singing session at the same venue at 5pm; and, in Triskel at 8pm, ‘The Diarmuidín Songbook’, celebration of Múscraí songs sung by the late sean nós-singer and broadcast journalist from Cúil Aodha, Diarmuidín Ó Súilleabháin. Singers in the concert include Diarmuidín’s two brothers, Danny Maidhcí and Eoiní Ó Súilleabháin, Seán (Johnny) Ó Liatháin, Máire Ní Chéileachair and Nell Ní Chróinín. The MC for the night is broadcaster and uilleann piper Peter Browne.

There will also be an accordion and concertina concert on Sunday at the Spailpín at 8.30pm featuring Ruby Falvey, Diarmuid Ó Meachair, Tommie Cunniffe, Paul Clesham, Conor Atkins, Cliona Halley, Aoife Dullea and Aoibheann Queally. Frances Black, Sharon Shannon and Mary Coughlan will perform at the Cork Opera House at 8pm and the festival ends with cajun and roots band Two Time Polka led by Ray Barron on mandolin and Geraldine Barron on accordion at the Crane Lane at 11.30pm

There will also be an open traditional music session for all levels led by Jessy Cawley on Saturday at 2pm at Cork City Library, a performance by Australian cellist William Jack in the same venue at 4pm, the Lee Valley String Band on Sunday at 6pm at the Corner House, and a Céilí Mór at Douglas GAA on Friday night.

For further details download the brochure below, or visit www.corkfolkfestival.com.

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Published on 26 September 2023

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