'Talk, Tunes and Song': What's on at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019

Zoë Conway and John McIntyre who are performing at this year’s Fleadh.

'Talk, Tunes and Song': What's on at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019

Damien Dempsey, Róisín Elsafty, Frankie Gavin, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Kris Drever, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre all to feature at the Fleadh.

This year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann takes place on 11–18 August in Drogheda, for the second year running. The week-long festival of Irish traditional music will feature competitions for musicians of all ages and a variety of instruments, either solo or as part of a group, as well as an extensive programme of concerts, symposia, street performances and singing recitals. 

Concerts at the fleadh
On 10 August, Damien Dempsey will headline the opening concert, an evening that will also include performances from six-piece Téada with Seamus Begley, and Dundalk brothers Sárán and Tadhg Mulligan on concertina, fiddle and bouzouki. 

In the Fleadh concert dome on 11 August, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre will join the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for a concert of classical and new traditional pieces. The duo will also perform later in the week with concertina player Cormac Begley (13 August) at St Peter’s Church of Ireland. 

Singer Seán Keane is set to play on 12 August with his band that includes Pat Coyne on guitar, Fergus Feely on mandocello, Stephen Doherty on accordion and flute, and David Doocey on fiddle. The concert will include well-known songs from Keane’s repertoire such as ‘Isle of Hope’ and ‘Galway to Graceland’ as well as material from his new album Gratitude

Lunchtime concerts
During the Fleadh, there will be a selection of lunchtime concerts in various venues across Drogheda. In Droichead Arts Centre on 12 August the Carberry family from County Longford will perform and on 13 August the McCague/McGovern family will be in concert. This concert will see the 2013 TG4 Young Musician of the Year Donal McCagueon fiddle, Oireachtas winner Sabina McCague on harp and fiddle, and Padraig McGovern on uilleann pipes. 

Other lunchtime concerts include performances by the Vallely family on 14 August, the O’Brien family on 15 August and McEvoy/McGorman family on 16 August. 

Traditional, folk and rock bands
The concert dome on 13 August will see an evening of traditional, folk and rock music with Horslips, Four Men and a Dog, and Stockton’s Wing in concert together. Johnny Fean, Barry Devlin and Jim Lockhart are all founding members of Horslips and will form the band on the night, alongside genre fusing Four Men and a Dog whose music blends traditional, folk, and blues. Stockton’s Wing’s repertoire on the night will include music spanning their four decade career since 1978. 

On 15 August, Hothouse Flowers will perform in Drogheda’s Barbican Centre and Altan will be in concert with the Shandrum Céilí Band. 

Talks and screenings
Accordion player and singer Brendan Begley will be in concert on 13 August at Droichead Arts Centre followed by a screening of the documentary The Camino Voyage, in which Begley features. The film documents the 2500km journey of four men in a self-built traditional boat from Ireland to northern Spain. In the course of the journey, poet Danny Sheehy, artist Liam Holden, Begley and folklorist Breandán Moriarty share stories and music on their travels. 

Droichead Arts Centre will also host an afternoon of music and talk about Séamus Ennis, titled ‘Mise An Fear Cheoil – Séamus Ennis: Talk, Tunes and Song’. The talk will be given by UCD lecturer and folklorist Ríonach uí Ógáin who has written two books about the notable musician and collector, Mise an Fear Ceoil and Going to the Well for Water

Sean-nós singer Róisín Elsafty then will perform a selection of songs that Ennis collected from the singing of Colm Ó Caodháin, a musician from whom Ennis collected over 200 songs. 

Also at the Fleadh
Also performing at the Fleadh is the Martin Hayes Quartet on 12 August and instrumental ensemble Notify, performing with special guests Kris Drever, Tara Breen, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Dónal Lunny on 17 August. On 14 August, John Carty will be presented with the fourth annual Flanagan Brothers award and will perform with his festival band, including his son James on fiddle, Shane McGowan on guitar and Kieran Munnelly on drums. Also on the night, Carty will lead the debut performance by the John Carty Flanagan Banjo Orchestra. The group is made up of musicians including students from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in the University of Limerick.

In addition to the various concerts throughout the week, there will also be a large selection of other events in Drogheda for the Fleadh, including TG4’s FleadhTV which will broadcast live on TG4 on 15–18 August, with hosts Hector Ó hEochagáin, Doireann Glackin and Róisín O. Acts such as Frankie Gavin and The Provenance, Lankum, the Kate Rusby Band, and the Kilfenora Céilí Band are among those confirmed to perform on the show. 

The outdoor stage of the gig rig will offer Fleadh attendees free concerts with over eighty acts performing during the event, while from Monday to Friday (12–16 August) at 11am in St Peter’s Church of Ireland, there will be a series of mid-morning sessions – a relaxed and informal set of concerts of music and dance. 

There will also be sessions, symposium events and young musician performances, in addition to the core competitions taking place all week. 

For programme information, visit: http://fleadhcheoil.ie/fleadh-clar-beag-2019/

Download the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann competition timetable below.

Published on 31 July 2019

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