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Féile Spring Festival: World Class

Music Line up Announced

Féile an Phobail’s spring festival Féile an Earraigh is set be the highlight of the music calendar this Spring with highlights including the legendary Penguin Café Orchestra, the renowned Transatlantic Sessions, and spectacular double headliner nights at the festival marquee.

Féile an Phobail yesterday revealed the impressive line up to Féile an Earraigh, the annual traditional music Spring festival, that’s now in its seventh year, which runs from Thursday 4th February to Sunday 7th February 2010.

Headlining this year’s spectacular Clonard Monastry concert on Friday 5th February will be the world famous Penguin Café Orchestra. This ten piece musical phenomenon heavily influenced by folk, bluegrass, avant garde classical music and pop, has enjoyed a continuing cult status, especially for tunes such as ‘Telephone and Rubber Band’ or ‘Music for a Found Harmonium’. Penguin Café is providing a fresh take on the original sound, bringing the music to life with a new line-up and moving it forward, in addition to introducing new compositions.

The festival opens with Celtic Connections: Transatlantic Sessions, bringing a taste of the award-winning BBC show to the stage of the Belfast Waterfront on Thursday the 4th February. Revisiting shared roots and forging new common ground between today’s finest Celtic and Americana musicians are Ireland’s Cara Dillon, America’s Sara Watkins, known for her fiddling and vocal skills as member of Nickel Creek; ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’ soundtrack star Dan Tyminski on guitar and mandolin; Old-timey fiddle and song master Bruce Molsky; and festival favourite Tim O’Brien with sister Mollie. From across the Irish Sea come Burns prodigy and songwriter Eddi Reader and the matriarch of Scots Gaelic song, Karen Matheson of Capercaillie. Last, but my no means least, expect bravura solos, jaw-dropping ensemble medleys and gorgeous song accompaniment from the ultimate house band!

Additionally to the Clonard Concert, Friday night is also the first session night at the festival marquee, located in Bank Square in the city centre (opposite Kelly’s Cellar and Mourne’s Seafood). This night of traditional Irish music, dancing and craic will feature a double headline act by the David Munnelly Band and The JJKs. The David Munnelly Band exploded onto the scene with hit albums in Europe & Japan, dual CD releases in North America, and a full tour schedule. “They are a creative force at the true epicentre of Irish traditional music” ( David has toured & performed with The Chieftains, DeDanaan, and other legendary Irish artists. He is an Irish button accordion wizard who brings new excitement and depth to traditional music while drawing for inspiration on past masters including the Roaring 20’s Flanagan Brothers. The JJKs is a once off festival-special line-up, hand picked and drawn together by John Joe Kelly; well known for his ferocious and intense bodhrán sessions. The line up features John Joe himself plus Derek Hickey on accordion, Ewen Vernal of Capercaillie on bass, Marcus Maloney on banjo and Tony Byrne on guitar. The coming together of these great artists will be a true celebration of exuberant traditional music.

Saturday night continues in the same high energy, world class vein when the Peatbog Faeries take central stage. Based on the Isle of Skye, the Peatbog Faeries have been described as ‘the future of Celtic Dance Music’. They incorporate many influences which take them from traditional jigs and reels through jazz, hip hop, reggae and more. This is high octane Celtic dance music so be prepared to dance! The band have toured all over the world and won numerous awards, including the ‘Best Live Act’ at the prestigious Scots Trad Music Awards. Their inventive and unique approach always brings to its audience a true flavour of traditional Scottish music. Their music has been used for several TV, radio and DVD soundtracks, and the band were commissioned by the Scottish Ballet for an original piece performed for the first time in the Citizen’s Theatre in Glasgow. In 2007 they performed at the BBC Proms in the Park in Glasgow in collaboration with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra who acted as their ‘backing band’! The night also features leading folk musicians Gino Lupari and Steve Cooney.

The festival closes on Sunday night with a most spectacular finale; another double headliner concert treat at the festival marquee. The double headliner consists of Irish traditional band Beoga and the multi award-winning folk band Lau.

Beoga was drawn together in 2002 after ‘jamming’ in a ferocious session at the All-Ireland Fleadh. From the beginning Beoga was endowed with massive musical talent, featuring the twin dueling accordians of Damian McKee and multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley and four times All-Ireland bodhrán champion Eamon Murray. In 2005, the lineup was complete, with the addition of Niamh Dunne, one of Ireland’s premier young talents, on vocals and fiddle. Beoga (Irish word for ‘lively’) are based in County Antrim. The bedrock of their sound lies firmly within the Irish tradition. However, they are not afraid to incorporate other genres’ nuances into their music. From bluesy riffs to Astor Piazzola-style jazz, to a raunchy New Orleans jamboree vibe, their music always returns to a wonderfully bouncy traditional sound. The result is traditional, with a huge sense of fun and adventure and it all works - wonderfully well. The Irish Times states, “Individually talented and collectively inspired, (Beoga) speak a language called music with a fluency beloved of the best multi-linguists.”

Beoga is world music, made in Ireland and the release of Beoga’s 2009 album ‘The Incident’ has seen the supergroup continue to blaze a pioneering trail, rewarding fans with their fresh creative energy and seducing a diverse array of music lovers. The string of accolades from the music industry say it best, “Simply thrilling, an auditory high-wire act without a net,” writes Irish Philadelphia. “Riveting,” says the Wall Street Journal. “Beoga are at the forefront of the Irish new wave,” Irish Music Magazine concludes.

A series of TV and radio appearances followed fast and furious for the band, gaining notoriety for its charismatic rapport with audiences and the highly inventive, energetic performances. In September 2007, Beoga performed live with the BBC Orchestra to a television audience of millions as part of the prestigious ‘Last night of the Proms’. Major Celtic and Folk festival highlights have included Boston ICONS festival, North Texas Irish Festival, Kansas City, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Tonder, Dranouter, Temple Bar Trad Fest in Dublin, the World Fleadh, Germany’s Irish Folk Festival tour, the Irish Unplugged tour of Holland, the Guinness Christmas Austria tour, Cambridge Folk Festival and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections.

With their unique blend of inventive arrangements, virtuosi instrumental talents and beautiful vocals, Beoga’s popularity continues to flourish as they captivate audiences on a global scale.

Lau have an equally impressive story to tell. They are winners of ‘Best Group’ in BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2008 & 2009. They are a formidable trio of three of the finest and most innovative exponents of modern traditional music today. Their now infamous live shows are a must-see experience with an energy and musicianship which is spellbinding.
They perform a collection of both traditional and self-penned songs which highlight their unique take on folk music. Highly regarded musicians in their own right, the combined talents of Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke make for a fantastic and all-conquering trio. It is no surprise they were once again triumphant at this years BBC Folk Awards. Their stratospheric rise seems set to continue as a crammed touring season in 2009 takes Lau’s ferociously impressive live show around the world again. Lau employ rising, epic song structures not usually associated with Folk music and more akin to those on the leftfield of rock and jazz. The new album sees Kris Drever debut some of his own songs for the first time including the new radio single ‘Wintermoon’ and there is a special Mojo commissioned Beatles cover as a bonus track on the first pressing of Arc Light.

The double headliner of both Beoga and Lau at the festival marquee will make for the most memorable end to an incredible festival line up.

Seán Paul O’Hare (Féile Director) says “Féile an Earraigh will launch the 2010 festival calendar here in Belfast. Over its seven year history it has evolved to become a major Irish traditional music and cultural event and one that provides a proud platform in which to showcase the talents of traditional musicians. You will have the opportunity to experience the captivating charm of traditional culture and arts through an eclectic mix of traditional music, song, dance and language. Féile an Earraigh promises something for everyone with a programme of drama, dance, talks, walks and literature running alongside the world class music line up”.

The festival runs from Thursday 4th February to Sunday 7th of February 2010. Tickets are now on sale for pre Christmas purchases.

Tickets are available from; the Belfast Welcome Centre, 028 90246609; Féile an Phobail, Teach na Féile, 473 Falls Road, Belfast, 028 90313440; and An Chultúrlann, 216 Falls Road, 028 90964188.

Permalink - Posted: December 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm