Consairtín is a celebration of the concertina in traditional Irish music. The past few years has witnessed an exponential rise in the popularity of the instrument among traditional players in Ireland and the establishment of a national convention now provides a platform for enthusiasts of all ages to gather in an environment that encourages learning, discussion, performance and fun.
Situated in the heart of Clare, where concertina playing has been an integral part of traditional music life for centuries and where it is currently thriving, Ennis is an ideal venue for such a festival and the event salutes the instrument’s special place in the local musical landscape. Some of the most highly-regarded practitioners and teachers from throughout Ireland and further afield will gather to share their expertise and showcase their musical virtuosity.
Performers and teachers already confirmed for the convention include John Williams, Niall Vallely, Gearóid Ó hAllmhúráin, Simon Thoumire, Mary MacNamara, Pádraig Rynne, Micheál Ó Raghallaigh, Edel Fox, Cáitlín Nic Gabhann, Jack Talty, Katie O’Sullivan, Mairéad Corridan, Clara Mannion and Francis Cunningham.
The highlight of the weekend will be the Gala Concert in Glór on Saturday night (2 April). Our association with Clare, County of Culture, has made it possible for us to bring some world class players to Ennis to perform, including John Williams from Chicago, Simon Thoumire from Scotland and Niall Vallely from Armagh/Cork. The concert will also feature the premiere of ‘An Pocaire Gaoithe’, a newly-commissioned piece composed by Tim Collins in honour of the County of Culture initiative and performed by ICE, the Irish Concertina Ensemble and guests.
The other principal events of the weekend will include:
• classes for players of all ages and abilities with experienced tutors
• instrument maintenance tutorials that will give students a hands-on opportunity to learn basic maintenance skills
• specialist workshops for advanced players with John Williams, Simon Thoumire and Niall Vallely
• official opening by Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh and Sonny Murray Memorial Lecture by Prof Gearóid Ó hAllmhúráin
• nightly Club Consairtín and Consairtín Sessions hosted by leading players
• Two concerts featuring:
o Hugh Healy, Michael ‘Blackie’ O’Connell and Cyril O’Donoghue; Aoibheann Murphy and Brian Mooney (Friday night – Old Ground Hotel)
o Mary MacNamara, Sorchadha Costello and Geraldine Cotter; The Droney Family (Sunday evening – Old Ground Hotel)
• two showcase recitals by younger performers, one highlighting Clare musicians and the other featuring concertina players from throughout Ireland. These events will be followed by open sessions for teenage players of all instruments
• an evening of tunes and stories in memory of Dympna O’Sullivan, the outstanding concertina player from Lissycasey who passed away last year.
• instrument maintenance workshops with Mike Acott.
• spoken Irish class for beginners