Take me to church . . . The best trad gigs this week

Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney play St Nicholas’ Church, Galway, while arts festival also hosts iconic folk singer/songwriter Peggy Seeger

Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney play St Nicholas’ Church, Galway, on July 17th.

Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney play St Nicholas’ Church, Galway, on July 17th.

 

Wednesday, July 17

Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney

St Nicholas’ Church, Galway, 10pm, €25/€22 , giaf.ie, SOLD OUT

This magical pairing of Cúl Aodha singer and member of The Gloaming Iarla Ó Lionáird with Australian guitarist, composer, didgeridoo player and Irish speaker Steve Cooney is one not to be missed. Church venues with their cavernous heights don’t always suit artists, but this duo will have no difficulty reaching every crevice with their rich repertoire of traditional and newly-minted songs and stories. An inspired programming coup by Galway International Arts Festival.

Friday, July 19

Seán Keane

Ballymaloe Grainstore, 8pm, €30, ballymaloegrainstore.com

Caherlistrane singer Keane kicks off the summer season of concerts in Ballymaloe. This singer’s songbook stretches from Sweet Sixteen to Galway to Graceland, and is a repository for so many iconic folk songs. Dolores Keane’s younger brother, he’s carved out a highly successful career in his own right. His distinctive sean nós style allows him to inhabit some songs like nobody else.

Saturday, July 20

Joe Mooney Summer School

Various venues, Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, until Saturday 27th, joemooneysummerschool.comAmid the plethora of workshops, concerts and céilithe, there is a fine gathering of musicians who’ll doubtless welcome sunrise throughout most of the week during this exceptional summer school. Visiting musicians include pipers Neilidh Mulligan and Pádraig McGovern, musician, singer and composer Saileog Ní Cheannabháin, concertina player Jack Talty and so many more. A truly bespoke gathering.

Sunday, July 21

Peggy Seeger

Monroe’s, Galway, 8.30pm, €27, giaf.ie

What a treat to be able to hear this iconic folk singer, songwriter and feminist perform in an intimate setting. Seeger’s pristine, clear-eyed perspective on music and its ability to communicate the most profound and complex political ideas with such clarity is a quality that defines her throughout her career. As the subject of Ewan MacColl’s sublime ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, she has the additional distinction of being the recipient of one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. But be warned: this is an artist who takes few prisoners, but whose warmth and wit will enthral even the non-committed listener. Guest of Galway Arts Festival.

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