Missed an earlier news item? Visit the news archive.

All-star line up for Fleadh 2010

Tribute Concert to Ed Reavy

• Ed Junior and wife Mary to be guests of honour

• Launch of Ard Ollamh Seán Ó Sé’s new CD

Saturday 21st August 9.30pm–1am, Cavan Crystal Hotel, admission €20

One of Cavan’s most famous sons in the pantheon of traditional music, the famed fiddle player and composer Ed Reavy, will be duly recognised at a special concert being held in his honour and memory at this year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.

The Ed Reavy Tribute Concert at the Cavan Crystal Hotel on Saturday 21st August will, fittingly, feature some of the top fiddlers in the music today, and also a host of other masters of their instruments as they tip the hat to the great composer in his county of birth.

This all-star event will be compèred by Fleadh 2010 Ard Ollamh Seán Ó Sé, who launches his own new CD on the occasion, and it will see some of the true masters of string and bow take to the stage, including the legendary Tommy Peoples, Cavan’s own Antóin Mac Gabhann, Sligo’s Philip Duffy, who doubles up with piano accordion expert Dean Warner, Tipperary’s Eileen O’Brien, and Oisín Mac Diarmada the great fiddler in the Sligo style who takes the stage with his acclaimed band Téada.

And adding his own considerable musical pedigree to the occasion will be the revered Joe Burke, the king of the button box himself, who completes a magnificent line-up guaranteed to make this a show to remember.

But pride of place on the night goes to the guest of honour, none other than Ed Reavy Junior, the hearty 84-year-old son of the renowned tunesmith, who with his wife Mary is making a very special trip from the US back to the old homeland.

Indeed, the spirit of Reavy Snr, the “Plumber of Hornpipes” who came from Barnagrove, Maudabawn, a few miles outside Cootehill will be kept alive throughout the Fleadh, when visitors can enjoy musical tours to some of Co Cavan’s most famous musical heritage sites, including the birthplace of Reavy in Maudabawn.

This will be marked in particular at a second big event to highlight the Reavy connection, which will include a talk and recital given by Ed Junior at the Maudabawn Cultural Centre on Tuesday 24th August. Ed’s reminiscences are sure to provide some fascinating insights into the life and times of his famed father, and it’s appropriate enough that’s the event is being held at the Culturlann, not much more than a stone’s throw from the old Reavy homestead — and just across the road from Maudabawn Chapel, which lent its name to one of the great man’s most famous tunes.

Ed Reavy

The significance of “the man from Barnagrove” to traditional music is perfectly summed up by Professor Mick Moloney in his introduction to ‘The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy’, when he argues: “No composer of traditional dance tunes in the history of Irish music has ever had his music adopted and played as widely as Ed. He devoted much of his life to the creation of a vast body of compelling, finely crafted tunes leaving an indelible imprint on the beautiful old tradition that was always his first love.”

Reavy, who was born in Barnagrove in 1897, went to Philadelphia with his family in 1912, and barring visits home in 1922 and much later in 1969, he spent his life there until his death in 1988.

He developed an early love for traditional music, which stayed with him all his life, even when he became master of the plumbing trade and raised a family of six children. Becoming an excellent fiddler, he made a few early recordings in the late 1920s. But it was when he started writing tunes in the 1930s that his place in history was guaranteed. For close on 40 years he composed what his sons estimate may have been 500 pieces, about 130 of which have been saved for posterity. Tunes like ‘The Hunter’s House’, the above mentioned ‘Maudabawn Chapel’ and a host of others have become now firmly embedded in the tradition and can be heard at sessions all over the world.

The new recording technology of the 20th century, together with the instant popularity the tunes he was writing had on musicians who were making records — and fiddle players in particular — helped ensure that Reavy’s reels, jigs, hornpipes and airs would attain widespread popularity within the tradition, and all in his own lifetime.

Seán Ó Sé

Making all the introductions at the Reavy Tribute Concert will be another legend of the tradition in his own right, the Bantry born master of song, Seán Ó Sé, who will be charming the Cavan crowds with his own inimitable touch of Cork blarney — and who will also be launching his own new CD for good measure.

Seán will have been deservedly crowned Ard Ollamh of Fleadh 2010 two nights earlier at a gala dinner in the Kilmore Hotel, so he’s sure to be in top form. He might even give a blast of ‘An Poc ar Buile’, one of the songs he made his own as the singer with Seán Ó Riada’s seminal Ceoltóirí Chualann.

It was with Ó Riada’s group that Seán’s voice became familiar over radio sets throughout the country for his renditions of songs like ‘An Poc’, ‘The Banks of My Own Lovely Lee’ and ‘The Boys of Kilmichael’.

Following Ó Riada’s death in 1971 he continued to sing, recording with Donal Lunny, Dermot O’Brien, Cathal Dunne and Peadar Ó Riada and singing at concerts all over Ireland and England. More recently, he started touring again with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann — and he reckons the ability of the organisation to produce great new musicians year in, year out is what keeps his enthusiasm going. Long may it last!

Tommy Peoples

Revered Donegal-born fiddler Tommy Peoples, who now resides in his home village of St Johnston after living in Clare for many years, is known for his unique and virtuosic style of playing. Over the years he has collaborated with some of the very top individual players and groups in Irish music, including The Bothy Band, Sean Keane, Matt Molloy, Liam O’Flynn, Paul Brady and Mary Bergin. His daughter Siobhán Peoples is also a noted fiddler in her own right.

Antóin Mac Gabhann

Antóin Mac Gabhann from Mullahoran has been synonymous with Cavan fiddle playing for many years now, and is a veteran of many Comhaltas tours to various corners of the world. A lover of Irish language and culture, his playing reflects a great grá for the “pure drop” and the music handed down from older musicians. Antóin should be in lively form at the Reavy concert, after the launch earlier in the day of his own new CD (with Mick O’Connor and Eddie Whelan) entitled ‘Doorways and Windowsills’.

Philip Duffy

Philip Duffy from Sligo is one of the most highly respected traditional fiddlers of his generation in the North Connaught region, and he plays with a style that displays influences from the great fiddle masters of Sligo, where he grew up and still lives. This is shown to best effect on his CD ‘Killin Clocks’. “There’s power and passion aplenty in Philip Duffy’s fiddle, and there’s tight control and technical genius too,” was the verdict from Alex Monaghan of Irish Music Magazine.

Dean Warner

Dean, from Leeds, England, who teams up with Philip Duffy at this tribute concert, grew up in a strong tradition of Irish music and has been playing the piano accordion since the age of eight. Now living in Lurgan, Co Armagh, he won the All-Ireland Senior Piano Accordion title in Letterkenny in 2005, and has since gone on to record ‘Northern Box’ a superb solo CD of tunes that splendidly captures his music.

Eileen O’Brien

A fiddle player of immense talent, Eileen O’Brien is the daughter of renowned accordionist Paddy O’Brien from Nenagh, Co Tipperary, and she has produced a book of her father’s compositions (being launched at a special Fleadh 2010 tribute to Paddy on Friday 20th in the Cavan Crystal). Eileen is not only an accomplished player whose drive is achieved with seemingly effortless ease, but she has also composed some lovely tunes of her own.

Joe Burke

Button accordionist Joe Burke from Loughrea, Co Galway needs no introduction to lovers of Irish Music. The twice All-Ireland champion has recorded a considerable number of albums over the years, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with others. At the age of 70 he continues to have a powerful influence on younger players, being regarded as the master and pioneer of the flowing and highly ornamented B/C double-row style,

Oisín Mac Diarmada and Téada

Oisín Mac Diarmada, leader of the world-renowned group Téada, is also a regular solo performer, just one example of which was his recent appearance as guest soloist with the Southern Georgia Symphony Orchestra. Oisín began playing fiddle at a young age in Clare, subsequently moving to Sligo and developing a deep interest in the playing style of the North Connacht region. Following the release of his acclaimed solo album, ‘Ar an bhFidil’ in 2003, he was described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today”.

Not to be missed

Other guests in this gem of an event will include famed Cavan lilter Seamus Fay, fellow Breffni man and box player Martin Donohoe, Monaghan harpist Nadia Markey and Wexford uilleann piper Pádraig Synnott.

Admission is €20, and, as in all Fleadh 2010 shows, tickets can be had at the venue doors if not SOLD OUT — so book early at Multisound Cavan (049-4361312), to be sure to be sure!

Permalink - Posted: July 27, 2010 at 10:38 am