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July 2nd – 10th, 2011

Tony Kearns has been documenting Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy since the early 1990’s, and his photographic collections illustrate many aspects of the school – classroom activities, workshops, public recitals, and informal sessions of music, song and dance, the essence of the Willie Clancy week. He has published a selection of his work in Music & Light/Ceol & Solas (2008), and on the opening Saturday of the school will deliver the Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture, An Eye for the Music, which discusses the relationship between photography and Irish traditional music. Dingle is the home of a vibrant Wran Boy tradition. Aoife Granville, flute player, tutor at the Willie Clancy School and lecturer at the School of Music, UCC has researched Wran traditions in Munster and in the Monday lecture she focuses on one of the Dingle Wrans, the Sráid Eoin Wran Boys. For the past number of years the Tuesday of summer school week has been devoted to celebrating the life and work of a musician who has made a significant contribution to the Irish musical heritage. This year features the life and music of the Clare fiddle, flute and pipe player, Peadar Ó Lochlainn, who is regarded as one of the masters of the musical tradition. Recently a recording he made with Aggie Whyte in 1963, on the short lived Spól label, was reissued by Na Píobairí Uilleann. Seancheol ar an Seannós is considered a classic among Irish traditional music recordings. The tribute, which features contributions from his friends and fellow musicians, will be coordinated by piper and RTE presenter and producer, Peter Browne. Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin, “The Muskerry Queen of Song”, will be the topic of Wednesday’s lecture when her grandson, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, examines his grandmother’s important legacy to Irish traditional song. He published a complete collection of her songs, The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, in 2000. Charlie Piggott, founder member of De Danann and accordion and banjo player, will conclude the lecture series on Thursday when he explores the music of Galway box player, Joe Cooley, a musician who had strong associations with Clare music and musicians and was an influential figure in traditional music.

Seán Keane, renowned fiddle player and member of The Chieftains, will open the 39th summer school and launch the week’s activities, which incorporates tuition in the morning, afternoon lectures, recitals in the evening, and a wide choice of céilithe with major bands like the Tulla and Kilfenora. The summer school is conducted against a festival backdrop of music in the pubs and on the streets, so there is a good mix of tuition, learning and social activity, and a conducive atmosphere for absorbing music.
Creating a non-competitive and enjoyable environment for learning music was one of the guiding principles of the founders of Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy. This idea has proven its worth over nearly four decades, and the model has been replicated throughout the country, where there is now a traditional music event for almost every week of the year. The traditional music landscape was quite different in 1973 when the summer school was established. Since then traditional music schools and festivals, and traditional music studies, have been a growth industry and a vital component in the cultural, social and economic life of the country. And the arrival of the third generation of Willie Clancy followers, the grandchildren of some of those who participated in the early schools, is one measure of the continued attraction and sustainability of this summer school and its programme.

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Permalink - Posted: March 11, 2011 at 11:06 am