By Madeline O’Connor
Of the thousands that began their week-long experience at Sligo’s Fleadh Cheoil yesterday, many of them had no links to Ireland, said President Higgins.
At the opening ceremony, Ireland’s president used part of his speech to speak of the universal appeal of Irish music, adding that of the 10,000 competitors in the town this week, many have “neither ancestral nor geographic links to this island”.
He said the music was about “engaging with a fleeting present in order to create something that will be lasting and beautiful”.
A Japanese fiddle student, Yuko Aikawa from Tokyo, was in McGarrigle’s pub yesterday for her 17th visit to the country, and told the Irish Times that she loved Ireland.
Seamus Hernon, a flute player and tutor from Gurteen, Co Sligo, told the same paper he gives lessons to several Japanese students. “When the Rolling Stones were really big, the Chieftains visited Japan and sold more records there than the Stones,” he said.
The Fleadh Cheoil will be broadcast live on Irish channel TG4 over three nights next week with Fleadh TV, a new programme presented by Síle Ní Bhraonáin, Lynette Fay and local legend Cathy Jordan of Dervish, bringing all the action from Sligo over the nights of August 15, 16 and 17 from music venue 5th on Teeling in Sligo Town.
FleadhTV will air on TG4 on Friday, August 15 from 9.30pm to 11.30pm, Saturday, August 16 from 8.00pm to 11.00pm, and Sunday, August 17 from 8.00pm to 11.00pm. It will also be broadcast online around the world on tg4.tvand FleadhCheoil.ie and in the USA on the MHz Today’s Ireland.