Traditional music: the best gigs to see this week
Siobhán Long’s recommendations
Ballymore Eustace Traditional Singing Festival. Various venues throughout weekend. – A boutique gathering of singers drawn from the furthest corners of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, this festival celebrates all that is good in traditional singing. Songs will be swapped, verses added, amended and forensically examined for traces of devilment and chicanery. Singer Helen Diamond headlines on Saturday night, while on Sunday Jimmy Crowley and Wild Orchids, a duo featuring Eithne Ní Chonaill and Paul Browne, will host a tea-time session in Mick Murphy’s pub at 6pm.
Chris Wood. Whelan’s 8pm €15 whelanslive.com – English folk couldn’t ask for a better ambassador than Chris Wood: a singer who mines the most obscure seams of life in ol’ Blighty, with compelling results. The finer points of father/daughter relations, the fears and trepidations of the human condition are writ not large, but in a musical needlepoint: precise, poised and pitch perfect. Make no mistake though: Wood’s take on life is often harrowingly raw and bereft of shiny, happy endings. Just the way so many of us like it.
Achill International Harp Festival. Various venues, Achill Island all weekend. achillharpfestival.ie – An exceptional gathering of the finest exponents of contemporary harp playing representing various styles, genres and musical cultures from Ireland, Scotland, France and South America. This year’s gathering places a spotlight on the harping tradition of Brittany, with the premiere of a commissioned Breton/Mayo collaboration featuring Breton flute player Jean Michel Veillon and Mayo harpist Laoise Kelly, along with a finely curated collective of musicians. Other weekend highlights include Diego Laverde Rojas from Colombia, the Breton Lune Bleue Trio, Corrina Hewat from Scotland, Donegal’s The Henry Girls, Anne Auffret, French harpist and Irish resident, Floriane Blancke and many more.