Posts Tagged With: Frankie Gavin

There is a God and He was in Doolin last weekend

The Devil went down to Georgia apparently but God was in Doolin last weekend. And I don’t mean Frankie Gavin, though he was there too!

It was the Russell Memorial Weekend, an event held in honour of members  of the Russell family since the untimely and tragic death of Micho Russell in 1994.

There are concerts and there are workshops but it’s about the sessions.  They go all day and night from around 2pm and all four pubs are buzzing.  The opening concert is a showcase of young local talent and always impresses and there is a headline concert this time featuring Frankie  and DeDannan, which I didn’t get to.

Nevertheless there were plenty of highlights for me.  A quiet session with Dermot Byrne and Eoin O’Neill and Quentin Cooper in Fitz’s,  with Dermot again and Floriane Blanke  in McGann’s, a mighty session with Frankie Gavin, James Cullinan and a host of others at O’Connors that lifted the roof off,  playing with Blackie O’Connell and Cyril O’Donoghue, singing a couple of songs myself and watching  a future star – young Seannai McMahon work the audience at McGanns, with his infectious songs.

Not much more to say really.  Here are a few photographs which I think tell the story. Thnks to Melanie Nolley for the ones of me and Frankie.

Oh, one more thing.  Let me tell you why I think God was in Doolin; and that He/She must be a lover of Irish trad music.   It was Saturday night I had been playing music all day and was suffering with a cold and a cracked rib (long story).  It was 9ish and the pubs were packed and you could hardly move and I had had enough.  So I was ready to go home via a few quiet tunes at the Roadside in Lisdoonvarna.  When I got in the car however I discovered I had no petrol.  Warning lights were flashing and the trip computer said 0 km remaining! I couldn’t risk the 30km home.  So I looked for an hostel room which I eventually found.  Stuck in Doolin now with no transport I called in to O’Connor’s and lucked in to a session with a fired up Frankie Gavin, Noel O’Donoghue,  James Cullinan, Michael Queally, Seanie Vaughan and many more. To sit next to Frankie and play a few tunes was a real buzz.

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Categories: Festivals, Sessions, Trad Irish Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Willie Clancy Summer School – Monday.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. The sun was shining, not too much wind – I’ll ride to Miltown! It’s only five kilometres. Great. No problem with traffic or parking. What was I thinking!  I rode home in the driving rain at 1am buffeted by squally winds in the pitch black being overtaken at breakneck speed by an endless stream of Willie-ites heading back to their cottages, caravans or campsites. The Bellbridge was a safe haven about halfway so the obvious solution was to sit there, soaked through, in the warm pub and play tunes with complete strangers. A silk purse from a sow’s ear?

In between though I experienced just a little of the magic of Willie Week. I played with Sean Moloney from East Galway in the sun at the back of the Blondes, I saw Frankie Gavin and Noel Hill at Michael A’s (no chance of a seat there!) , then there was Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Eileen O’Brien at Friels and Jacky Daly and Matt Cranitch at the Yard and…….

In the evening we were treated to a smorgasbord of fiddling styles from some of the best in the country and beyond. It is so good to hear all these fiddles back to back. I know it’s unfair but highlights for me were Tara Breen and the wonderful sweet fluid playing of Yvonne Casey and then Claire Egan. Perhaps I’ve been in Clare too long.

Then I finished the night with a session at the Bellbridge; but I’ve already mentioned that.

And this is only Monday.

Just a handful of photos.  I will wait until the end to sort them all.

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Categories: Concerts, Festivals, The Fiddle, Trad Irish Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burren Backroom Series Concert Ennis

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A concert of traditional Irish music was held in Ennis on Thursday 26th February at the Queens Hotel, not a usual venue for this style of music but those who braved the cold February night were well rewarded.

The concert was staged by Tommy McCarthy, from Galway and Boston, in aid of the Walk in my Shoes campaign to support the St Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation. This Foundation helps vulnerable young adults with a need for mental health services. This is one of a series of concerts which Tommy has staged under the banner ‘Burren Backdoor Series’ and it follows on from an earlier successful Facebook campaign involving traditional musicians in Ireland and the US.

Tommy gathered together an extraordinary array of talent mostly from Clare but with a few welcome blow-ins from places such as Donegal, Galway and Tipperary, all who generously gave their services to the cause. What a night.

The evening was very ably hosted by Paula Carroll, one of the presenters on Clare FM’s West Wind programme (which by the way is unquestionably the best nightly Irish traditional music show in the world and a showcase for music from Clare and elsewhere). The show began with the Tulla Junior Ceili Band, all aged between 11 and 14 and displaying a maturity way beyond this. They certainly captured that Tulla sound and this augurs well for the senior band in years to come. Their act had plenty of variety with a shortened brush dance and a delightful recitation from young seanchaí (shanachie), Naois O’Sullivan entitled ‘The Restaurant’. Great to see this fading tradition being handed down from her grandfather, who is also a shanachie. This well and truly set the scene.

There were too many acts and too many wonderful musicians to describe individually. So what were the highlights? A good mix of songs from Mullagh’s own PJ Murrihy and, the internationally renowned Sean Tyrell singing of his native Galway and at the end of the evening a beautiful rendition of Beeswing, but the night belonged to traditional instrumental music. There was a group of local musicians led by Siobhan Peoples who called themselves simply “The Ennis Trad Musicians”, with that energetic sound that regulars at Faffas or Dan O’Connell’s would be very familiar with and there were delicious counterpoints from groups such as the Boruma Trio (Andrew MacNamara, Eileen O’Brien and Geraldine Cotter) with their self-deprecating description of the band as the ‘RTE Light Orchestra’ (though they showed they could pump it out too with a rousing rendition of the Bucks, Rakish Paddy and the High Reel to finish their set!) and the sweet combination of the harp and concertina of Eimear Coughlan and Francis Cunningham.   In between we had the McCarthy family Tommy, Louise, daughter Rose and from Miltown, Tommy’s sister Bernadette, a group from Lissycasey, who call themselves ‘In Tune’ (and they were!), which spanned the generation gap, and I have to say my favourite of the night, some gorgeous fiddle playing from Yvonne Casey with tasteful bouzouki from Eoin O’Neill. There was a group called Moher (another ensemble of Clare musicians), some strong representation from Miltown Malbay with regulars from Friel’s Pub and the incomparable Frankie Gavin for good measure. Frankie was worth the 20 euros alone and it was great to see him with just Geraldine Cotter’s piano and without the distraction of other instruments. His effortless bowing and vivacious playing, though definitely not “Clare-style”, was undeniably music from the top drawer and the product of a musician who has been at the top of his game for over forty years.

For those lucky enough to attend, despite the cold inside and out, which even with numerous layers left me with cold knees and toes throughout (God knows how they could play in t-shirts!!), it was a memorable evening with well over four hours of class music.

Another reminder why so many of us call Clare home!

Well done Tommy.

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Categories: Concerts, Trad Irish Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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