Tribute to Séamus Begley to Feature at Masters of Tradition 2023
The Masters of Tradition festival in Bantry, Co. Cork, will this year feature a tribute to the late accordion player and singer Séamus Begley who passed away in January. Members of his family – Eoin and Níall Ó Beaglaoich and their sister Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich – will perform in a concert on Friday 25 August at 7.30pm at Bantry House. Also performing are Christy McNamara (accordion and concertina), and Gradam Ceoil TG4 recipient Mick O’Brien and his daughter Ciara Ní Bhriain (fiddle).
Commenting on the event, fiddle player and Artistic Director of Masters of Tradition, Martin Hayes, said:
Earlier this year the world of traditional music lost the great accordionist and singer Seamus Begley. This powerhouse of music and song, a major carrier of the musical tradition of west Kerry, previously appeared at Masters of Tradition and his family of fine musicians will close the concert with a rousing west Kerry celebration of their father’s life and legacy.
Masters of Tradition takes place from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 August and will feature seven concerts in the Maritime Hotel and in Bantry House over five days. The opening concert features Hayes, Philadelphia guitarist Conal O’Kane from the band Goitse, Brian Donnellan (concertina and bouzouki), Kate Ellis (cello) and American folk singer Sam Amidon.
Thursday evening at 7.30pm will see performances by Clare duet Scoth (singers Evan Flaherty and Darragh Purcell), experimental duo Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin (sean-nós and flute) and Ultan O’Brien (fiddle and viola), and Sam Amidon will also sing a number of folk songs with the Crash Ensemble Quartet in arrangements created by by New York composer Nico Muhly. The late-night concert on Friday will focus on guitar and includes British-French guitarist and composer Laura Snowden, Steve Cooney and singer-songwriter Luka Bloom.
On Saturday at 7.30pm, Cooney and Bloom will again perform, joined by the duet of David Munnelly (accordion) and Mick Conneely (fiddle). The late night concert will see a performance of Christine Tobin’s Returning Weather, a song cycle written about her homecoming to Ireland and settling in Roscommon. ‘These songs chart a journey of return,’ Tobin says, ‘the strange romance of reconnecting with a cultural background, reshaping a sense of identity and belonging, and speak of how home and dwelling are central to our sense of self.’ She will be joined by Cora Venus Lunny (violin), Steve Hamilton (piano), David Power (uilleann pipes) and Phil Robson (guitar). The closing concert on Sunday will feature Hayes and Cooney joined by guests.
There will also be a number of ‘Ceolchoirm Rúnda’ (secret concerts) in unique venues such as Future Forests and Whiddy Island. Audiences must attend to discover who is performing. In addition, Hayes will host a number of talks with artists during the afternoon. These events will take place at the Marino Church, which will also host a photographic exhibition focusing on musicians by Christy McNamara.
‘This year’s festival will take us to the core of the music,’ says Hayes. ‘We will also encounter many emerging ideas within the tradition, new ways of reimagining the past and also ways in which this music can relate with other music forms.’
For full concert details and booking, visit www.westcorkmusic.ie/masters-of-tradition/programme.
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Published on 7 June 2023