By Shelley Marsden
The one-day festival, this year on May 17 in the London Irish Centre, is a rare opportunity for London audiences to hear the best of Gaelic song from Ireland and Scotland.
The Gaelic Voices Festival is now in its third year of celebrating the creativity and vibrancy of Gaelic languages and culture, and artists will include Iarla Ó Lionárd & Steve Cooney (Ireland); Alasdair Roberts & Gillebride MacMillan (Scotland); Meitheal Cheoil (London) and the winners of this year’s Gaelic Voices singing competition, Ann Marie Hayes and Muhammad Al-Hussaini.
Iarla O Lionard is considered one of the best singers in Ireland and has performed in the Royal Albert Hall’s Ceiliuradh concert and in New York’s Carnegie Hall recently so we’re lucky to be able to hear him in such intimate surroundings. He will be accompanied by one of the world’s foremost guitarists in Irish trad circles, by Steve Cooney, who will also give a rare masterclass in accompanying singers earlier at 2pm in the afternoon.
The Scottish contingent of this year’s festival will be made up by well known singer Alasdair Roberts who has been immersing himself in Gaelic song in recent years after many years on the folk circuit singing traditional songs and his own compositions. He will be joined by Gillebride MacMillan from South Uist who is highly regarded as one of the foremost young singers of Gaelic Song.
Alasdair will join Steve Cooney in the guitar masterclass at 2pm (which is open to non-musicians too who wish to get an insight into their respective approaches) and Gillebride will give a masterclass in Gaelic song at the same time of 2pm.
There will be local representation from London’s very own Meitheal Cheoil who will open the concert and also by the winners of this year’s Gaelic Voices singing competition in Gaelic and English language song categories.
The schedule is as follows:
14:00 Masterclass in Gaelic Song
14:00 Masterclass in accompanying singers on Guitar (with Steve Cooney)
15:00 Quiz in the bar hosted by Christy Evans from Colaiste na nGael
17:00 Grand Concert featuring
Iarla Ó Lionárd & Steve Cooney (Ireland)
Alasdair Roberts & Gillebride MacMillan (Scotland), Meitheal Cheoil and the winners of the Gaelic Voices Festival singing competition.
There will also be informal sing-around in the bar after the concert.