London Calling at Sligo Live

Marion McCarthy, Jacqueline McCarthy and Bernadette McCarthy. Photo: TG4.

London Calling at Sligo Live

‘London Calling’ is a mini-festival within the Sligo Live festival which celebrates Irish traditional music played in London. This will be led by eighty-year-old flute player Roger Sherlock.

The mini-festival kicks off with a session in the Harp Tavern at 1pm on Sunday, 28 October, anchored by London-born musician Tommy McCarthy on fiddle, who will be joined by many noted musicians who have spent time in the musical venues of Holloway Road, Camden Town and Fulham.

Sherlock will be the focus of the the main event of ‘London Calling’ at 4pm in the Glasshouse Hotel. This concert features a range of London-born musicians, including John and James Carty, Mick O’Connor, and Tommy, Jacqueline, Bernadette and Marion McCarthy who grew up absorbing the scene created by Sherlock and his contemporaries.

Sherlock was born in 1932 near Gurteen on the Sligo/Mayo border.  He emigrated to London in 1953 and became one of the leading figures in London-Irish music. Few musicians speak about their London experience without warmly reminiscing about Roger Sherlock and his generosity in helping and encouraging other musicians. He returned to Ireland in 1996 to live in Bettystown, Co. Meath.   In 2009 he received the prestigious TG4 Hall of Fame Award.

London in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s played a vital role in the development of traditional Irish music, home to enthusiastic musicians such as Michael Gorman, Margaret Barry, Bobby Casey, Jimmy Power, Willie Clancy, Lucy Farr, Julia Clifford, Paddy Taylor, Raymond Roland, Vincent Griffin, Sean McGuire, Liam Farrell and Brendan McGlinchey. Sherlock himself recorded with Kit O’Connor, Sean McGuire and Josephine Keegan, and Memories Of Sligo with Mary Conroy. He was featured on the TV documentary and recording Bringing It All Back Home, playing with Bobby Casey and John Bowe, and was the subject of a ‘Sé Mo Laoch documentary for TG4.

James Carty, Declan Folan and Mick O’ Connor will play later in the Snug at 9pm. Carty, a flute player, is from a north Roscommon family and was born and lives in London. Mick O’Connor is a banjo player based in London where he plays and teaches. Declan Folan is from South Sligo and plays fiddle. Declan spent some years in London and cites the experience as being very influential on his music.

McCarthy will also lead the wrap-up session on Monday in Fiddlers Creek Restaurant from 5pm, with Shane Mitchell and Mick O’ Connor. This is where all the festival personnel and many of the artistes go to wind down after a hectic weekend, turning it into one of the biggest traditional music sessions.

Published on 26 October 2012

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