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Festival fever: This week’s best traditional music gigs

Feakle Festival, Festival of Early Irish Harp in Kilkenny and An Appalachian Gathering

Apollo’s Fire celebrate the Celtic-Appalachian connection at the National Concert Hall on Tuesday

Feakle Festival
Various venues, Feakle, Co Clare Saturday August 11th to Monday August 13th

This annual gathering has upped the ante this year with yet more exceptional musicians joining the fray, including Heidi Talbot and John McCusker. Saturday night’s gala concert will feature Cork comic songwriter, singer and accordion player Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, piper Mick O’Brien and his daughter, fiddle player Aoife Ní Bhriain, piper Emer Mayock and many others. Poetry readings and art classes also feature in a packed programme.

Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering
National Concert Hall, Dublin Tuesday August 14th 8pm €30/€25/€20

Apollo’s Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, traces the journey of Irish immigrants in the early 19th century across the Atlantic to America, through music, song and dance. This American period-instrument troupe of 10 performers explores the Celtic roots of American folk music, while following the stories of the Scots-Irish immigrants who made the crossing to build new lives in the Appalachian hills of America. The music features fiddle tunes and haunting ballads mingled with southern hymns and African spirituals – all ingredients that informed the evolution of Appalachian music.  

Festival of Early Irish Harp
Coláiste Pobail Osraí, Ormond Rd, Kilkenny Thursday August 16th to Sunday August 19th 5.45pm €10/€5

The Historical Harp Society of Ireland presents four early evening concerts with three iconic strands of Gaelic music: early Irish harp, song and Scottish small pipes. Scottish singer Allan MacDonald is a special guest, along with harpists Siobhán Armstrong and Ann Heymann. Simon Chadwick and James Ruff will also feature. All musicians will perform on copies of medieval- to 18th-century harps, promising to offer their audiences a truly immersive experience.

Notes and Narratives
Na Píobairí Uilleann, Henrietta St, Dublin 1 Thursday August 16th 8pm €10/€5

Continuing their monthly lecture/recital series, Na Píobairí Uilleann host Joe Beirne, who will present a lecture titled “Two Fascinating Complementary Music Traditions: The Uilleann Pipers and Single Row Box Players of East Mayo”. A fine opportunity to hear of some highly original perspectives on the riches of our musical tradition.