Are you going to the Fleadh? This week’s best traditional gigs
Also: Skibbereen Arts Festival, Zoë Conway & John McIntyre, John Spillane
Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden and Seamie O’Dowd
Saturday August 3rd
Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden & Seamie O’Dowd
Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen, Co Cork 8.30pm, €20 skibbereenartsfestival.com
Skibbereen Arts Festival hosts this inimitable trio on accordion, fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocals. Máirtín O’Connor’s tune compositions are things of rare beauty: feather-light and yet bred to the bone of all the riches of our tradition. The Road West is truly an iconic tune that pushes any artist brave enough to attempt it to their very limits. Cathal Hayden’s fiddle and banjo playing and his tune compositions are another delight, though the man’s innate modesty prevents him from flying his own flag, and Seamie O’Dowd’s guitar and voice bring an earthy, rooted dimension to what is an exceptional triumvirate.
Sunday August 4th
Zoë Conway & John McIntyre with Chris Stout and Catriona McKay
Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford, Co Louth 4pm, €12/€10 carlingfordheritagecentre.com
Louth fiddle player Conway and guitarist McIntyre celebrate 10 years as a duo with a series of finely curated concerts. This late-afternoon date features the sublime Scottish duo of Stout and McKay on fiddle and harp. This has the makings of a highly memorable afternoon performance, doubtless embellished by a swathe of shared tunes.
Thursday August 8th
Lost Lane, Grafton Street, Dublin 2 8pm €15 lostlane.ie
Previewing songs from his forthcoming album, 100 Snow White Horses, produced by John Reynolds, Cork singer/songwriter Spillane has always been an artist alive to the wonders of the world. This new album features songs steeped in mythology and mystery, so expect much that’s new, along with stalwarts from his repertoire including The Dance of the Cherry Trees and All the Ways You Wander.
Sunday August 11th
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2019
Various venues, Drogheda, Co Louth until Sunday 18th fleadhcheoil.ie
Drogheda hosts the Fleadh Cheoil for its second year, with over 8,000 musicians expected to gather for concerts, workshops, sessions and céilidhe, in a packed programme over the next eight days. Concert highlights will doubtless include Brendan Begley, Damien Dempsey, Zoë Conway and John McIntyre, The Martin Hayes Quartet and a gala evening featuring Horslips, Four Men & A Dog and Stockton’s Wing, but the beating heart of the Fleadh will be found on the streets of Drogheda where tunes and airs will reign supreme.
Niwel Tsumbu and Éamonn Cagney
Carlingford Heritage Centre, Carlingford, Co Louth 4pm €12 carlingfordheritagecentre.com
Superb Congolese guitarist and singer Niwel Tsumbu and his regular collaborator, Donegal percussionist Éamonn Cagney are guests of this late-afternoon concert series, where they’ll air their intensely energised repertoire, shot through with Tsumbu’s quiet charisma. Influences from Central Africa and from classical music meld and diverge with a fluidity that only comes from intimate acquaintance.