Ennis prepares for Fleadh Cheoil

Ennis prepares Fleadh Cheoil

Trad fans and musicians are descending on west of Ireland for Fleadh Cheoil

The final preparations are being put in place in Co. Clare as trad fans and musicians from across the globe arrive to one of the most picturesque towns in the west of Ireland for Fleadh Cheoil. With some concerts already sold out it looks as if last year’s attendance figures of 400,000 may well be exceeded as people return for the second year in a row to Ennis.

Music fans have already bought up all the tickets for Sean Keane as well as Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill’s concert and Beoga and Sharon Shannon are expected to sell out soon too. Some of this year’s highlights of the nine day festival include From Clare to Here, Meitheal Orchestra and Bygone Lane, the Senior Ceili Band Competition and Fleadh Farewell on the final night.

One of the great story tellers, gifted and prolific songwriters, Ralph McTell will team up with Lúnasa to mark their 20th Anniversary celebrations during Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in August. But the one event that is getting everyone excited is Legacy, where the 50 strong Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland will premiere their new show at the Shannon Aerodome on August 18th.

Ennis prepares Fleadh Cheoil

Weaving together a thrilling tapestry of music and words, song and dance, along with special guest performers, this newly commissioned show will take the audience on a journey through the musical and cultural landscape of Ireland, honouring some of the great men and women who have helped shape and define our tradition down through the generations.

Frank Whelan, Chairman of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017 has indicated that Legacy will be a show not to be missed.

“In addition to the amazing line-up of top-class concerts such as Sharon Shannon, Lúnasa, The Kilfenora Céilí Band and others, this will be a stand-out event,” he said. “It promises to be a momentous performance and a highlight of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis, and I’m sure that after its premiere at the Fleadh down in Ennis it will go on to be enjoyed by audiences further afield,” said Frank.

Inspired by some of our greatest tunes and songs, ‘Legacy’ will feature newly composed music by Tom Doorley. A founding member of the Orchestra and an original member of Danú, Tom composed and arranged ‘SladagusSlanú’ which was performed to great acclaim in the National Concert Hall and was broadcast on RTE television. The show will also incorporate some newly composed music by him.

Ennis prepares Fleadh Cheoil

‘I’m delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to work with the Folk Orchestra on this very exciting Legacy project. I have had the privilege of teaching and performing with many of the Orchestra members in the past and this has all the indications of an amazing journey with them, he said.’

The tunes that have been played for over 150 years are still being played today. Names like Coleman, Ó’Riada, Reid, Rowsome and others are still talked about and emulated. Giants and icons of the rich musical legacy continue to be part of our culture. The Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland under the musical direction of Tom Doorly is proud to be part of this Legacy.

Legacy will be scripted and directed by Ennis native, Ray Conway, who has written and directed for film, stage and radio. He directed ‘Macalla 1916’ for the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra which premiered at the Barbican Centre in London before embarking on a most successful tour of Ireland.

As part of Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2016, he adapted and directed ‘Seachtar Fear, SeachtLá’ a 1916 pageant performed at Cusack Park, and wrote and directed ‘1916 – A Terrible Beauty’ performed at Glór.

Legacy will be narrated by former RTE presenter Ciana Campbell and Ennis native and well known actor, Diarmuid de Faoite. Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann plays a vital part in the worldwide advancement and promotion of Irish music and culture, never losing sight of the great musicians and composers who kept the music alive in more difficult times. The performance of Legacy at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2017 will be a vibrant and inclusive expression of that culture and evidence of an investment in its future with the potential to produce self-perpetuating dividends for future generations.

• See next week’s edition for our special Fleadh Cheoil feature

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