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From 13th to 17th August, the legends of Irish music return to Bantry for the 6th Masters of Tradition Festival. For five special days, a select line-up of Ireland’s greatest musicians converge on Bantry for this unique Festival, which celebrates the very roots of traditional music.
Looking set to build on the resounding success of the last five years, the 2008 Masters of Tradition Festival throws open its doors to some of the very best musicians in the land. Superb Clare-born, Seattle-based fiddler Martin Hayes will be joined by his usual partner, Chicago-born guitarist Dennis Cahill as well as Kevin Crawford, Steve Cooney, Frankie Gavin, Máire Ní Chéileachair, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Emer Mayock, Helen Hayes, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin and many more.

Masters of Tradition gives performers the freedom to choose what they play in the glorious surroundings of Bantry House. The idea for the festival evolved from Martin Hayes’ call to create a “quiet and intimate space” where the heart of traditional music could be exposed. The concept has evolved over the years to produce this five-day event that encompasses a simpler, less cluttered performance format and involves some of the very best Irish musicians sharing their take on traditional music. With concerts and young musician’s workshops spread over five days, the festival packs in as many elements of the tradition as possible.

The opening of the festival will include the launch of a Masters of Tradition double CD celebrating 5 years of Ireland’s finest musicians performing in Bantry House. From Wednesday through to Sunday, the ‘Ceolchoirm’ start at 8pm and are followed by the ‘Níos Déanaí’ sessions at 10.30pm. These late night performances are wonderful opportunities to catch various members of the Festival’s line-up coming together for a memorable, musical experience. The Festival aims to create a deeper insight into this music by also presenting workshops for young musicians on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 August. There will be flute by Kevin Crawford, tin whistle by Tina McLoughlin, fiddle by Johnny McCarthy, accordion by Danny O’Mahony and traditional singing by Máire Ní Chéileachair

Masters of Tradition opens on Wednesday 13th at 8pm with Martin Hayes on fiddle. He is joined by Danny O’ Mahony on accordion and Micheál O’ Raghallaigh on concertina and also by pianist and composer Mícheal Ó Súilleabháin. Later that evening, at 10.30pm, David Power will lead the session on the uileann pipes for what promises to be a wonderful concert by candlelight.

On Thursday, for the ‘ceolchoirm’, singer Máire Ní Chéileachair will be joined by David Power on the uileann pipes, Frankie Gavin on the fiddle and Bantry House favourite, Steve Cooney, on guitar. Steve will also feature in the ‘níos déanaí’ session with acclaimed sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, of Afro Celt Soundsystem fame. Singer Helen Hayes will lead Friday’s ‘Ceolchoirm’ with musical assistance coming from five times All-Ireland accordion champion, Jimmy Keane and master accordionist, Joe Burke. Ann Conroy will complete the ensemble on guitar. Frankie Gavin will direct Friday’s late night session on the fiddle. Also on Friday, Dr. Hammy Hamilton will give a lecture on ‘The Instruments of Irish Traditional Music’ at 4.30pm at St. Goban’s College.

There will be a 4pm session at St. Brendan’s Church on Saturday the 16th by workshop presenters Kevin Crawford, Tina McLoughlin, Danny O’ Mahony and Johnny McCarthy. John Flanagan, a singer known for the depth and emotion of his performances, will take to the stage in Bantry House for the ‘ceolchoirm’ at 8pm. He will be joined by Emer Mayock on the uilleann pipes, Jean Michel Veillon on the flute and singer and guitarist Seán Garvey. Later that night, at 10.30pm, the famous duo of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, on fiddle and guitar, will be joined by Jimmy Keane on the accordion.

The final day sees a 4pm performance with young musicians as they showcase what they have learnt from the master musicians during the festival. The grand finale at 8pm welcomes the fantastic Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill back to the stage for the last concert of the festival. They will be joined by Helen Hayes and other members of the week’s fantastic line-up. It promises to be a night to remember.

Tickets are available from West Cork Music at 027 52788 / Lo Call 1850 788 789. The Festival is generously supported by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland and RTÉ lyric fm.

Permalink - Posted: July 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm