Dennis Cahill to be Remembered at 20th Masters of Tradition Festival

Cormac McCarthy, Martin Hayes and Brian Donnellan.

Dennis Cahill to be Remembered at 20th Masters of Tradition Festival

Performers at this year's event include Martin Hayes, Kathryn Tickell, Lorcán MacMathúna, Daire Bracken, Cormac McCarthy, Aoife Ní Bhriain and Nell Ní Chróinín.

Traditional music festival Masters of Tradition takes place this month in Bantry, Co. Cork, from 24 to 28 August. This is the 20th anniversary of the festival, which is run by West Cork Music, and it will present a series of concerts and talks over five days. 

This year will include a discussion on 28 August titled ‘Remembering Dennis Cahill: The Man and his Music’, led by  Cahill’s musical partner and Artistic Director of the festival Martin Hayes. The influential Chicago guitarist, who made three duet albums with Hayes, was a member of The Gloaming and the Martin Hayes Quartet, and a regular performer at the festival over two decades, died in June aged 68.

The festival will open at the Maritime Hotel on 24 August with a concert by Hayes. He will be joined by pianist Cormac McCarthy, concertina player Brian Donnellan, dancer Stephanie Keane and sean-nós singer Saileog Ní Cheannabháin.

Northumberland piper Kathryn Tickell will perform with her trio at St Brendan’s Church on 25 August, and will be joined by sean-nós singer Lorcán MacMathúna and Italian-born Irish-based fiddler Andrea Palandri. Friday evening’s concert will see a performance by fiddler Sorcha Costello (TG4 Young Musician of the Year) and pianist Catherine McHugh joined by MacMathúna, fiddler Daire Bracken and accordionist Martin Tourish (26 August); and on 27 August, concertina player and dancer Caitlín Nic Gabhann and fiddler Ciarán Ó Maonaigh will perform alongside accordionist Derek Hickey and guitarist Steve Cooney.

The Masters of Tradition programme also includes two concerts as part of its late-night series ‘Níos Deanaí’. Beginning at 10:30pm at Bantry House on the 26th, the trio of uilleann piper David Power, violinist Marja Gaynor and guitarist John Walsh will perform a concert of works blending traditional music with flamenco and baroque influences. The series will also feature the jazz fusion group including Cormac McCarthy, Aoife Ní Bhriain, cellist Kate Ellis and singer Nell Ní Chronín performing a new work by McCarthy, Macalla an Amhráin. The piece is a long-form work based on four sean-nós melodies, also containing significant sections of instrumental music.

The festival will also present a number of talks including Mac Mathúna and Bracken discussing ancient Irish poetry and music (26 August); and Steve Cooney will chat about the development of his notation system (27 August).

Hayes will close the festival with a concert at Bantry House on 28 August featuring Cooney, Hickey, McCarthy, Ní Cheannabháin, Nic Gabhann and Ó Maonaigh. 

Commenting on this year’s Masters of Tradition, Hayes said:

Inside traditional music is a significant mastery. This is something you might not notice at a big outdoor event or in a corner of a noisy bar. In this environment, it is possible to bring people inside a very intimate and detailed experience of the music. This was an experience I had growing up myself and I want to share that with people.

For more information and tickets, visit:

Published on 3 August 2022

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