Friday 20 March
by Kevin McGonigle, Chairperson
Songs and Singers of the Aran Islands / Deirdre Ní Chonghaile
Home & Away Session
hosted by Colm Toland and Grace Toland
Saturday 21 March
Songs and Singers of Tory Island / Lillis Ó Laoire
A Grand Time: ITMA Newfoundland Digital Exhibition / hosted by Grace Toland
3.00pm Festival Concert
Eta Nash; Eugene Mooney; Treasa Ní Mhiolláin; John The Twin McNamara; Laoise Kelly; Lillis Ó Laoire; Members of the Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle; Clonmany Parish National Schools
6.00pm Seminar Dinner
8.30pm ITSC Session
McFeeley’s Bar, Clonmany
Sunday 22 March
The North Pole Bar, Drumfries
hosted by Ann McGonigle
Glendowen Craft Studio, Meentagh Glen
North Pole Session
hosted by Kevin McGonigle
The North Pole Bar, Drumfries
Mac Tam’s Session
hosted by Eleanor Lamb
Mac Tam‘s Bar, Clonmany
The Festival Shop will be open Saturday morning at the Ballyliffin Hotel
Monday 23 March
The Rusty Nail, Crossconnell, Clonmany
: guests 2020
Eta Nash and Eugene Mooney Branch, Newfoundland
In August 2018 ITSC members Grace Toland and Brian Doyle visited Branch on the Cape Shore, Newfoundland. They encountered a singing community which paralleled many aspects of the Inishowen experience: local style and repertoire; geographically remote; published repertoire; field recordings published online; influence of family on tradition; house sessions; open and inclusive approach to singing and pride in local tradition. Having established an immediate rapport at house parties and performance events in 2018, ITSC have now invited two representative singers Eta Nash and Eugene Mooney. Both are strong representatives of their song communities with local repertoire and members of strong family traditions. The individual appeal of both singers is enhanced by a major digital exhibition from the Irish Traditional Music Archive: A Grand Time which provides excellent background and context to the continuity of song communities among the Irish Diaspora www.itma.ie/newfoundland
Treasa Ní Mhiolláin Aran Islands
Treasa is one of the most respected traditional singers in Ireland and one of the finest exponents of Irish language song. She is a native of Inis Mór on the Aran Islands.Throughout her career of over 45 years, she has performed nationally and internationally. She has also remained dedicated to teaching sean-nós singing to schoolchildren in all three Aran Islands, commuting by ferry and by air in all weathers to help ensure the future of local music traditions. She is due to release a new album in 2019 which will mark the achievement of a life’s work in song and celebrates her lasting legacy to Aran and to traditional singing.
Deirdre Ní Chonghaile Aran Islands
A musician, broadcaster, and writer from the Aran Islands, Deirdre is the co-ordinator of the on-going community-based project Amhráin Árann – Aran Songs. She was previously NUI Postdoctoral Fellow in Irish/Celtic Studies and Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at NUI Galway, Alan Lomax Fellow at the Library of Congress, and NEH Keough Fellow at Notre Dame. Her research interests include the untold story of the cultural lives of Irish-speaking immigrants in nineteenth- and twentieth-century North America; and the potential of digital humanities to enable creative access to the rich archive of Irish music and folkloric material that survives on both sides of the Atlantic. She is currently preparing a book on music-collecting in Ireland.
John the Twin MacNamara Achill Island
John now in his 80s has been an influential community cultural and social activist on his native Achill Island. He has been an influential contributor in a range of community developments including Scoil Acla, the revival of the Pipe Band tradition, and in traditional singing in Irish and English. John’s songs and experiences will bring a strong sense of the island community to Inishowen.
Laoise Kelly Achill Island
Laoise Kelly is regarded as “the most significant harper of her generation”. She has pioneered a new style of driving instrumental harping showcased in her three critically acclaimed solo albums Just Harp, Ceis and Fáilte Uí Cheallaigh. She is Director of Achill International Harp Festival. Throughout her solo career she has recorded on over 60 albums with many of Ireland’s foremost artists including Seamus Heaney, The Chieftains, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Dónal Lunny, Tommy Makem, Matt Molloy, Tommy Peoples, Mary Black, Maighread & Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, as well as Kate Bush and American country/bluegrass icon Tim O’Brien. She has toured and performed globally and at festivals such as Womad, Celtic Connections, Celtic Colours, Tonder, Dranouter, Lorient, Milwaukee, Armagh Piping Festival and all major harp festivals in Europe. Her latest album release is ‘Ar Lorg na Laochra’ with Monaghan Uilleann piper Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn.
Lillis Ó Laoire Donegal
Lillis is a sean-nós singer and lecturer in Irish Language, Folklore and Celtic Civilisation in NUI Galway. He has researched and published extensively on Gaelic song, including the life and work of sean-nós singer Joe Heaney. During his visit to the Inishowen Weekend, he will focus on his experiences and description of song on Tory Island, Co. Donegal. Lillis is the second 2020 TG4 Gradam awardee at our festival – Singer of the Year.
Inishowen Parish National Schools Donegal
Two local primary schools will take the stage singing songs learned from the Inishowen Song Project. These choirs are made up of local children some of whose parents and grandparents feature in the project. The schools have annually wholeheartedly taken up our invitation to perform and with support from teachers and parents are a highlight of our Festival.
Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle Donegal
Members of the Singers‘ Circle. The Circle meets the second Friday of the months September to June in either the North Pole Bar or McFeeley‘s Bar.