The 10th annual Concertina Cruinniú, Ireland’s greatest festival devoted to the instrument, will take place this weekend, commencing on Friday.
The event will be held in Miltown Malbay, internationally acknowledged as the home of Irish traditional music, and renowned as the home of the annual Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since 1973. The town is especially suited to an event of this nature, where formal instruction and professional expertise for students of the concertina are blended with the comfort of easy physical and personal interaction between visitors and the local community.
The annual community, non-commercial event organised by Oidhreacht an Chláir in promotion of the musical and cultural heritage of Clare. It provides a packed programme of top-level tuition, concerts and lectures, featuring most of the leading concertina players in Ireland.
This year’s packed programme of top-level tuition, concerts and lectures includes, in addition to classes for all grades, delivered by a panel of experienced tutors and overseen by Master Tutor Noel Hill, a Celebration Concert on Saturday, February 19 at 8.30 pm in the Community Centre.
Marking the 10th holding of the Cruinniú, it will feature the premiere of newly composed music, Ceol ón Earrach Thiar, commissioned from Noel Hill and performed by Liam O’Connor, Seán Talty, Claire Keville, Jack Talty and young Cork concertina player Eimhear Flannery, with Noel Hill himself.
For Noel, whose exploration of the emotional depths of slow airs is unmatched as a performer, this is his first venture into composition in this genre. The title of the piece, Ceol ón Earrach Thiar (Music from the Western Spring) – alluding to the mid-February date of the Concertina Cruinniú annually at the approach of Spring, and also echoing the well-known poem of Máirtín Ó Direáin, An tEarrach Thiar, and its powerful images of busy Springtime life in the Aran of his youth – is an appropriately evocative blend of music, memory and place.
The second half of the Concert will feature the flute and fiddle duet of the famed Matt Molloy and John Carty, who (along with Monaghan guitarist Michael McCague) will explore the exciting possibilities they produce in their own unique style. Tickets for this Celebration Concert at €20 (€10 for Cruinniú students) are available from Áras OaC, Flag Road (065-7085785) or on line at https://concertinacruinniu.ie/concert/.
Other events (admission €5, free for Cruinniú students) in the Community Centre include:
The Housekeeper’s Cut with Doireann Glackin and Sarah Flynn on Friday, 8.30pm-10.00pm
Crossing Sliabh Aughty: The Concertina Music of Connie Hogan of Woodford with Claire Keville on Saturday, 2.30pm – 3.30pm, and
The Solo Step and Set Dances in the Tradition with Michael Tubridy, Noel Devery and Maureen O’Reilly on Saturday, 4.30pm – 5.30pm (Westbridge Bar & Restaurant).
Free public sessions include an Open Junior Session led by Josephine Marsh and Bernie Geraghty on Saturday, 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm (Central Hotel), an Open Adult Session led by Áine and Francis O’Connor on Saturday, 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm (Friel’s Bar).
Songs and Tunes with Tim Dennehy, Connie O’Connell, Eileen de Paor, Ella Marie O’Dwyer and Pat Sheeran on Sunday, 2.30pm – 5.30pm (The Forge @ The Players Bar).
See www.concertinacruinniu.ie for full details of this feast of traditional music, for which we gratefully acknowledge the continuing support of the Arts Council.