Launches, lectures, céilithe, and whatever you’re havin’ yourself
In traditional music circles, especially among uilleann pipers and Clare musicians, the legend of West Clare’s 19th century blind piper Garrett Barry straddles the centuries. His music, and the anecdotes attached to his travels around Miltown Malbay and the surrounding communities, are a large part of West Clare’s musical folklore.
Born in Inagh, Co Clare, in 1847, he was apprenticed as a piper at an early age to enable him earn a living and a place in the community. But he died in poverty in the Ennistymon Workhouse in 1899, a fate common to many musicians and poets at that time. Nevertheless his rich contribution to local culture resonates still.
Howard Marshall’s study of Garrett Barry and his place in traditional music and the local community, Out of Darkness: the blind piper of Inagh, will be launched at the Willie Clancy Summer School on Sunday 3 July. It’s the first written account of Barry, Howard Marshall weaves the history, people and places of West Clare, its stories and legends, and intorduces the reader to people who knew Barry well and kept his memory alive.
The book is beautifully illustrated with the photography of Ben Taylor. Ennis native Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin, a piper, concertina player and long–time student of Irish traditional music, is Professor of Québec and Canadian Irish- Studies at Concordia University in Montréal.
His new publication Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape will be launched at the School on Tuesday 5 July. This year we have several diverse lectures and céilithe Musicologist Geraldine Cotter will explore the status of traditional music in Ennis from 1950 to 1980.
Ethnomusicologist Mick Moloney will do a presentation on Cavan musician and composer Ed Reavy Scottish piper Allan MacDonald will examine the many links between Irish and Scottish music. Former Director of the National Folklore Collection Ríonach uí Ógain will guide an audience through the diaries of Séamus Ennis and trace his work as a music collector in Co Clare in the 1940s.
Finally, given this year of centenary commemorations the songs and poems of the 1916 will be celebrated in a joint presentation by Francy Devine and Terry Moylan on the closing Saturday.
Terry Moylan’s recently published book, The Indignant Muse, examines the poetry and songs of that Irish revolutionary period. Terry is Archivist at Na Píobairí Uilleann, a member of Brooks Academy of Set Dancers, and has a long involvement with the Willie Clancy week.
A full programme of dancing workshops is on offer, catering for a variety of set dances, old-style step dancing and Conamara sean-nós dance. On the céilithe circuit, the big Clare bands, the Kilfenora and Tulla, will do four céilithe during the week, and the Four Courts, Swallow’s Tail, Matt Cunningham, Taylor’s Cross and Brian Ború will also perform.
There will be three workshops on Brittany’s traditional dances of led by experts Amélie Rougeot and David Le Bourhis. The Breton group Trio Touldrouzig will feature in a special concert on Tuesday afternoon 5 July when Scottish and Breton performers will bring their respective music, songs and dances to the Willie Clancy week.
The Éireann is Alba concert on Sunday 3 July, will showcase leading Scottish and local singers, musicians and dancers.
Go to the festival
The 44th Willie Clancy Summer School, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, Ireland.
Saturday 2nd July to Sunday 10th July, 2016.
Flowing Tides: History and Memory in an Irish Soundscape, launched at the festival Tuesday 5th July