A concert series in Germany with Gerry O’Connor, Fintan Vallely and Tiarnán Ó Duinnchin playing music that was the soundscape to revolutionary planning, Gaelic revival, and the socialisation that was part of new-State celebration and continuing emaigration alike. Airs, songs and dance music on uilleann pipes, flute, fiddle and voice from three specialists from border counties who learned from the great stylists and have been performing Traditional Irish muisic for most of their lives. Concerts in Munich, Stuttgart and Sindelfingen already arranged (see EVENTS) and we are open to other bookings in March and April.
This is a fast-moving, concert of Traditional music, song, dance and imagery from all Irish counties and regions. It is performed by fiddler Gerry O’Connor, uilleann piper Tiarnán Ó Duinnchín, flute-player Fintan Vallely, sean-nós step dancer and flute-player Sibéal Davitt, and sean-nós singer and fiddler Roisín Chambers. A unique event, it draws on the A-Z format of the fabulous encyclopedia Companion to Irish Traditional Music, literally turning its text back into music.
But this is as far from flat pages as you can get, for it is packed with visual narrative created on a large-scale, backdrop screen – a flow of 800 images, and terrific contemporary photos of musicians and dramatic scenery by the award-winning Belgian-Irish photographer Jacques Nutan. These are lifted by the superb music into a real-time display of people, places and events related to the tunes which demonstrates Irish music’s hallmark variety, repertoires and styles.
Now booking for concerts in 2016
Full details on www.companach.ie
Music and tunes for the wooden concert flute · New flute tutor by Fintan Vallely
Including the basics of playing traditional music and a selection of over 100 tunes for all instruments.
A unique visual and descriptive ‘method’ for all levels of learning and playing on the keyed and unkeyed ‘Irish’ wooden flutes. Tried and tested, this is a greatly expanded and improved update of the very first Irish flute tutor which was published in 1986. Its 136 pages are packed with background information and suitable for all from the most basic to the most advanced levels. The book covers breathing and ornamentation techniques, has a hundred and five notated tunes and a companion CDs with 180 tracks of tuition, ornamentation and music examples. This ‘method’ is perfectly suited too to the tin whistle.
The book was launched on Wednesday, 27th November, 2013, at the Harcourt Hotel, Dublin. [Read more…]
A fast-moving, audio-visual recital of Traditional Irish music, song and dance by Gerry O’Connor, Roisín Chambers, Fintan Vallely, Sibéal Davitt and Tiarnán Ó Duinnchín who perform in front of a changing, narrative backdrop of large-screen photographs by Jacques Nutan. The 120-minute show expresses the artistic depth, finesse and variety of the music as described in the new encyclopedia Companion to Irish Traditional Music. Based on the format of the book, the concert covers all Irish counties and regions, demonstrating hallmark styles and repertoire. For students of the music and of Irish culture this is a wonderful melodic display of information; for aficionados it is an exceptionally vibrant presentation of solo and group playing, sean-nós step-dance and singing.
A work in progress, this had an inaugural performance at the major French summer school of Irish music in Tocane, summer 2012. It was staged in its present form at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, and at The Leuven Institute for Ireland, Leuven, Belgium in December, 2013, and at Ranelagh Arts Festival, Dublin, September 2014. It was performed at Aras Chronáin, Clondalkin, and at the From the Mountains to the Sea literary festival at Dún Laoghiare, Co. Dublin in March, 2015; the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre, The Naul, Dublin and Duncairn Arts and Cultural Centre, Belfast in October, 2015; at the William Kennedy Piping Festival, Armagh, in November 2015. Several performances are upcoming in 2016 (see EVENTS).
China Meets Ireland is an inter-cultural programme begun in 2014. It presents two poles of Chinese and Irish musics featuring traditional Chinese music from a thousand year tradition and new music from China written in the past 10 years. Ireland’s rich heritage of traditional music is presented with old airs and dance tunes on Fiddle and Flute by Gerry O’Connor and Fintan Vallely, Irish Harp with Annemarie O’Farrell, and John Feely, Guitar.
New Irish music is represented by John Buckley’s work I Am Wind On Sea for solo voice, and a selection from A GIRL by Seoirse Bodley with poetry by Brendan Kennelly.
A new work by the Chinese composer Zhao Xi using similar ancient Chinese and old Irish poetry, voice, piano and Gu Zheng will be premiered. Three concerts have been performed to date, in 2014, at St. Ann´s Church, Dawson St. Dublin, St. Patrick´s Cathedral, Dublin, and Birr Castle, Co. Offaly.
The hind teat: strategic misassumption in the promotion of Traditional song in the English language. The paper addresses the issue of ‘Identifying Key Changes and Developments in Irish Music, Song and Folklore in Recent Times’.
A review of the EMIR encyclopedia is in the February edition of The Living Tradition magazine. An RTÉ Radio 1 Arts Show, with interviews, is dedicated to this book also.
Traditional music is soundly established in Ireland as a ‘national’ music with a cross-class goodwill that sees large numbers of young people playing it as their music of choice. It is guided by enthusiastic idealists who run week-to-week teaching and seasonal music schools; they make things happen by belief, commitment, foresight, planning and persistence. Their work is paralleled by equally dedicated people in Scotland, England, Europe, Scandinavia and North America, all of whom are linked to Ireland by performance and touring in the one disparate, global community of taste. Part of this picture too is the university-level study of Traditional music in Ireland and Britain, out of which comes much valuable research and writing. The Crosbhealach/Crossroads conferences set out to understand all of this better, and this second volume of papers is a diverse range of voices which assess aesthetic, practical and academic aspects of formal and informal Traditional music learning. The thirty-four essays in this volume are a cogent contribution to Irish Studies knowledge, and are of particular relevance to education, State agencies and the media. They should add too to the confidence of those involved in performance and promotion, for they show Traditional music internationally as alive and engaged – a challenging, satisfying contemporary music of the twenty-first century. [Read more…]
The Companion to Irish Traditional Music is now available in digital formats. On February 1st 2013 it was released as an ebook on Kindle and on iBooks. It is also available to libraries on-line through the Project Muse UPCC collection, as part of a greater collection, or, later in 2013 as an individual title; libraries can also get access from CHOICE website by subscription.
This is a landmark for a reference publication dedicated to Irish music, and opens up a huge new potential for the encyclopedia’s use in education in particular. The online formats make it possible for schools and colleges to economically manage productive access to the book’s huge volume of data: searches for places, names, music or instrument references, quoting information or gathering together linked but diffuse information on such as dance or song – as part of project and music programme research. [Read more…]
The Companion to Irish Traditional Music has been ranked 11th in a shortlist of 644 ‘Outstanding Academic Titles’ (OAT) chosen by a key US librarians’ resource, Choice Reviews Online. The shortlist was selected from a total of c. 7,000 academic reviews of books in all subject areas which were themselves chosen by Choice Reviews for critical comment during 2012 out of more than 25,000 submitted books. This means that the Companion is in the top 3% of these 25,000 titles. This is a great achievement for the Companion’s publisher, Cork University Press and indeed for a book dedicated to Irish Traditional music, and for its contributors. [Read more…]