The best traditional music this week – A world premiere at the NCH

Tradfest in Kilkenny, highly original sean nos singer and Seamus Creagh remembered

 

Saturday 17

Neil Martin’s Sweeney

National Concert Hall 8pm €45-€13.50 nch.ie

World premiere of a song cycle composed by Neil Martin, based on the 7th century myth of Sweeney, and inspired by Seamus Heaney’s Sweeney Astray. A picaresque tale of conflict, loss, abandonment, and ultimately, redemption, this realisation centres on the voice of Iarla Ó Lionáird  with narration from Stephen Rea. With the RTÉ National Concert Orchestra. A fitting way to mark our national holiday: with all of its bold consideration of the conflicting elements that define the Irish psyche, both pre-and post-Christian.

Kilkenny Tradfest

Various venues, all weekend kilkennytradfest.com

Just six years old, Kilkenny Tradfest is finding its feet with a finely-tuned programme that embraces old and new, stalwart and novice alike. The city’s impressive medieval architecture will play host and backdrop to a melée of visitors that include The Bonny Men and Finbar Furey, Máirtín O’Connor, Zoë Conway and Dónal Lunny, Ye Vagabonds and Brian Kennedy. Scullion will rev it up with their customary rootsy chutzpah while there’s a chance to wine and dine with The Henry Girls. Kilkenny TradFest celebrates the recent inclusion by Unesco of Uilleann Piping on its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, with uilleann piper and maker Mickey Dunne and the Kilkenny Pipers Club. Jeremy Hickey will run some percussion workshops along the way too. 

Wednesday 21

Saileog Ní Cheannabháin

Clé Club, Cois Life Bar, Liberty Hall 7.30pm €5 087-2387015

Connemara sean nós singer, fiddle, piano and viola player, Saileog Ni Cheannabháin is a highly original artist who knows how to ornament a song without ever resorting to gaudy decoration. Her second album, released last year, Roithleán, was a masterclass in keen original thinking and thoughtful treatment of both traditional and original pieces. Tonight she’s a special guest at the Clé Club.

Friday 23

Seamus Creagh Retrospective

Ionad Cultúrtha, Ballyvourney 8.30pm Adm free ionadculturtha.ie

A fitting remembrance of the late and very much lamented fiddle player, Seamus Creagh. A long-time musical companion of Jackie Daly, he was a musician who came to the tradition via the unlikely route of the showband scene. Creagh and Daly were a duo who brought the music of Sliabh Luachra to a wide audience, but Creagh’s gift wasn’t limited to polkas and slides: his soulful fiddle style could insinuate itself into every nook and cranny of a slow air like few others. Tonight, Danny Maidhcí Ó Súilleabháin, Jackie Daly, Geraldine O’Callaghan, Hammy Hamilton, Johnny McCarthy, Con “Fada” Ó Drisceoil & Pat “Herring” Ahern will doff their musical caps to Creagh’s immense legacy.

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