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November 6th – 10th, 2008

The 15th annual Ennis Trad Festival gets underway on the 6th of November and promises to deliver a highly enjoyable weekend’s music in its ever innovative and always exciting way..

This year’s event takes place between the 6th to 10th November in almost every venue in the town of Ennis. It is a non-stop intensive programme of free day and night sessions along with a varied and comprehensive menu of afternoon, evening and night-time concerts, recitals, singing sessions, workshops, presentations, CD launches and of course the ever popular highly enjoyable Trad disco.

The festival will be launched on Thursday 6th November at 6.30pm in Glor Music Centre with an informal session and reception copled with an art exhibition of new tunes composed by well known musicians inspired by art works and vice versa! The Turloughmore Ceili Band will release their latest CD “The Green Road” with special guest Sean O Se, also in Glor, on the same evening . Sessions will take place in 10 venues on a pub trail with every style exposed. The headline festival concert later on the 6th will feature Dundalk fiddler Gerry O’Connor, Donal O Connor, Martin Quinn and Gilles le Bigot. And all that is just the first evening of this mammoth festival. Stamina has long been a requirement for this much loved weekend.

Friday’s late gig will feature French/Breton music with strong Irish traditional flavours by a rare and fresh combination of the diverse and extraordinary talents of Jean Michel Veillon, Marco Pollier and Ronan Pellen.

The highlight of last year’s festival was the new Senior Ceili Band competition “Ard Ghaisce na mBúionta” . This competition will be adjudicated by a panel of 4 screened off adjudicators and the audience. Cast your vote on who you deem to be the best bands on the night. Most of the best established and new bands in Ireland will compete for the very generous prize fund of 8,000 euro!. 13 Bands face off in this highly competitive, tense but sporting joust, including The Inisfree, The Dartry, the Tribes and Allow ceili bands. An excellent night’s entertainment is on offer. The event will be hosted by RTE Ceilí House’s Kerin Hanrahan.

Saturday’s events will commence with music instrument, set and Sean Nós dancing workshops with master tutors. There will an introduction to the Irish language of The music and dancing scene for beginners on Saturday morning which will provide an opportunity for everyone to try their ‘cupla focail’. There will be talks on Flute maintenance by Jon Dodd and on amplifying Irish Music by engineer, Steve Corry. Johnny (Rasta) Walsh will release his debut CD on Saturday evening. Johnny who has been living in Clare for many years will be accompanied by many well known friends who performed on his CD.

A Trad themed table quiz which proved to be very popular with Trad aficionados will happen at lunchtime on Saturday. There is even a trad-charades round with fingers on buzzers! Proceeds will go to charity. Teams of 4 are welcome to join in this hilarious event.

With their unique West Mayo style – “a style as wild, free and awe inspiring as the rugged West Coast of Ireland “-David Munnelly & his band are making waves on both sides of the Atlantic. David has toured & performed with The Chieftains and DeDannan, and lifted Ennis in the past. David also composed & recorded the original soundtrack for the TG4 special “Solas sa nDorchadasm” for which he received the 2004 Composer of the Year Award. He also received the 2005 Composer of the Year Award.

The festival would not be complete without the ever popular Trad Disco which was devised by the festival committee some years back. In testament to its popularity it has become a weekly event in Ennis.

On Sunday, dancers will have their opportunity to step it out at Set Dancing Workshop which has become a very popular event. This will be followed by the festival céilí on Sunday afternoon with the indefatiguable Four Courts Ceili Band.

On Sunday evening fiddle player Paul McGlinchey will release his album, “Unearthed”
Sunday nights headline concert will feature Clare musicians Noel Hill and Tony Linnane and provide an opportunity for the trad veterans to revisit the late 70’s when this duo enthralled Irish music fans with their lively repertoire. Along with Alec Finn they recorded an album which has become a must in any musicians’ collection. Noel and Tony will be accompanied on piano by Jack Talty who is a nephew of Noel’s and also an accomplished concertina player.

On Monday night the finale concert will feature Beolach one of Cape Breton’s most exciting new young bands. The group performs an energetic mix of Cape Breton, Scottish, and Irish tunes featuring piano, pipes, whistles, guitar, and two fiddles. The group recorded their self titled debut album in the summer of 2001 and it features original compositions as well as the groups unique dynamic arrangements of their favourite traditional tunes. Beòlach has thrilled audiences with energetic performances, witty presentation, and their versatility as stepdancers. Cape Breton tunes are removed from their usual fiddle/piano context and presented with the energy of a young six piece band.
From the festivals inception its guiding ethos has been to bring musicians of all generations and styles, from Ireland and abroad together to share their tunes, songs and steps in a relaxed session environment. The festival committee has craftily orchestrated the sessions to allow many opportunities for artistes to perform with others that they wouldn’t normally get to meet. Accordingly a great social dimension is always present at this festival and welcomes you to join in this years festivities.

A detailed schedule of events is available on the website and in the brochures which will be available in the week running up to the festival. It is advised to grab one of these and guard it as your weekend’s bible to quality Irish music and a great Weekend.

Permalink - Posted: October 29, 2008 at 1:25 pm