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Celtic Fusion International Musical Arts Festival

Celtic Fusion International Musical Arts Festival
June 28th- 30th 2013

The Celtic Fusion International Musical Arts Festival 2013 returns to Castlewellan in County Down, Northern Ireland for its twelfth incarnation. Celtic Fusion will take place over the weekend from Friday 28th until Sunday 30th June.

The Festival weekend in June features top acts such as Reel It In and Niamh Dunne and one of the genuine legends of Irish Music, Frankie Gavin and the New De Dannan.

This year the main event is launched on Friday 18th May at 8pmby a Celtic Fusion Showcase concert in the fabulous Lodge Cultural Centre with Breanndán Ó Beaghlaoich and Laoise Kelly supported by The Grainne Holland Band.

Born into a famous musical family, the youngest of nine children, Breanndán Ó Beaghlaoich (Brendan Begley) soaked up the music and song of West Kerry from an early age. Slides, polkas, songs and slow airs all run through his veins. He has three acclaimed solo albums to his name, as well as numerous recordings with the groups, Boys of the Lough and Beginish. More recently he has been joined in performances by his family, comprising sons Bréanainn (Guitar), Cormac (Concertina), Conchubhair (Accordion) and daughter Cliodhna (Fiddle and sean-nós dancing), carrying on the long line of music  from Corca Dhuibhne and the Begley family. Together they played in Cape Breton in October of 2009, at the Celtic Cuban Festival in April 2010 and in Moscow in November 2010, and have performed in venues all over Ireland.

Laoise Kelly
A founding member of traditional group ‘The Bumblebees’ with whom she recorded two albums and toured worldwide, harpist Laoise Kelly has also recorded with many of Ireland’s foremost artists including The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon, Dónal Lunny, Tommy Makem, Matt Molloy and Mary Black, as well as with Kate Bush and American country/bluegrass icon Tim O’Brien. She collaborates regularly with Scottish Gaidhlig singing-ace Kathleen MacInnes and released a duo live CD entitled ‘The Wishing Well’ with Clare fiddler Michelle O’Brien last year. She has toured and performed in all corners of the globe from Africa, Japan and Russia to New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, the US and Canada. Career highlights include representing Ireland at the World Harp Festival in Paraguay, 2009 and performing with poets Seamas Heaney and Paul Muldoon on the Hill of Tara, 2010.

“Kelly virtually reinvents the (Harp) with her rhythmic and melodic intricacy, her syncopation and undulating chords and harmonies . . . she’ll have you swaying with her profound musicality.”
Irish Times

“The most maddeningly nourishing, elevating, and mesmerising Irish music you’ll hear today”
Earle Hitchner, Irish Echo on Breanndán Ó Beaghlaoich (with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh)

The Festival weekend in June includes `Reel It In` and `Niamh Dunne` who will be launching her new CD on Friday 28th June. `Frankie Gavin` and the `New De Dannan` will be the main act for Saturday 29th.

Frankie Gavin is one of the genuine legends of Irish music. From his first TV appearance playing the tin-whistle when he was six, to seven solo albums, his adventures in the realms of Jazz, Gospel, and Klezmer, through to appearances and recordings with such luminaries as Earl Scruggs, Stephane Grapelli, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, and the ‘Rolling Stones’, ‘the prince of Irish fiddlers’ is one of the outstanding performers of the past thirty years. Frankie is also the original founding member and band leader of internationally acclaimed traditional super group ‘De Dannan’.

For many years ‘De Dannan’ were the forerunners in the Irish traditional music world but after 33 years, 14 albums and a number of changes in the line up, the group disbanded in 2003. The band at that point had been responsible for bringing singers Dolores Keane, Mary Black, Maura O Connell and Tommy Fleming, amongst many others, to international prominence. In August 2009, Frankie Gavin unleashed a new ‘De Dannan’ line up which in his own words “reflects a ‘De Dannan’ of the 21st century”. The current ‘De Dannan’ ensemble (now known as ‘Frankie Gavin & De Dannan’) is led by Frankie Gavin on fiddle, flutes & whistles with Damien Mullane on accordion, Eric Cunningham on percussion, flutes & whistles, Mike Galvin on bouzouki & guitars and Michelle Lally on vocals.

‘Frankie Gavin & De Dannan’ has since played support to the ‘Rolling Stones’ at Slane Castle, performed twice to an 80,000 capacity crowd at Croke Park, Dublin (during national sporting occasions), performed with the ‘U.A.E. Philharmonic Orchestra’ in Dubai, performed with the ‘Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra’ during a tour of the USA and performed at The White House for President Bush and at the US Capitol Building for President Obama. The band toured China in July 2010 with the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra and played such venues as Shanghai Grand Theatre and Beijing Opera House. The tour was also aired on China Central TV to over 500 million viewers. A new album featuring the most recent ‘De Dannan’ line up, entitled ‘Jigs, Reels & Rock ‘n’ Roll’, is due for release in the autumn of 2010 which includes a guest appearance by Ronnie Wood of the ‘Rolling Stones’.

Part of Frankie Gavin’s enduring appeal lies in his astounding technical ability and unceasing quest for innovation – musical pieces more commonly associated with the like of the ‘Beatles’ and George Frideric Handel are now common place in Frankie’s repertoire as an Irish musician. Most pertinent of all is the knack he has for imparting to his audience his own enthusiasm, the sheer joy, the magic of great music-making.

In establishing the new ‘De Dannan’ in 2009, Frankie has assembled a group of fiercely talented performers who during the first performance as a band in the USA received a number of standing ovations at Sander’s Theater at Harvard University, Boston-and the first was before the intermission! Rob Fabroni, Producer of the ‘Last Waltz’, who saw the band perform in the USA during their first tour in March 2009 summed up the thoughts of many in the hall: “this is the best incarnation of ‘De Dannan’ I have ever witnessed and I believe I have seen them all…sensational”.

‘Electrifying’ is an adjective that’s too often used to describe certain performances but this is one instance where it’s absolutely unavoidable. If you’ve never been lucky enough to see ‘Frankie Gavin & De Dannan’ perform live, prepare to be… shocked.

‘REEL IT IN’ came together as a group to play support to Mike McGoldrick Band for Open House Festival in June 2011. Due to positive feedback the young musicians have decided to stick together and have since played support to the Mairtin O’Connor Trio, Dave Munnelly Band, The Henry Sisters, Karen Casey and John Doyle, Si Van Trio, Begley and Cooney and Four men and a Dog all in a very short space of time. They have done a short tour of Denmark and have toured France twice within the last year. The lads have featured on Lynette Faye’s radio station ‘Blas’ and also TG4’s Geantrai as well as other television and radio performances. They have performed at Ballyshannon Folk Festival, Geordie Hanna Weekend, Baltimore Fiddle Fair, Frankie Kennedy Week Gaoth Dobhair and NAFCO where the won ‘Battle of the Trad Bands’ and so the five lads are currently working hard on new music and are on the look out for more gigs. `Reel it in` are; Niall Murphy (Armagh) – Fiddle, Ciarán Hanna(Tyrone) - Concertina/Whistles, Niall Hanna (Tyrone) - Guitar/Vocals, Eamon Rooney (Down) –Bodhran and Enda Rafferty (Tyrone) – Keyboard.

Niamh Dunne is a highly accomplished singer, fiddler and composer from Co. Limerick. Daughter of well-known piper Mickey Dunne, Niamh has made guest appearances on several CD’s. Her 2004 album, ‘Legacy’, recorded with her father and sister Bríd, featured among the Irish Echo top traditional albums of 2004.Niamh is a well-respected classical violinist, twice receiving the high achievers award from the London Associated Board of Western Art Music, with whom she is a qualified teacher. She is also a graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music in Limerick University.

Prior to joining Beoga in 2005, Niamh had toured extensively with the Dunne family, and also played on the world stage with the acclaimed music and dance show “Ragús”.

Hailing from County Limerick, Niamh Dunne has a beautifully warm, smoky voice… she’s also a classically trained violinist whose smooth fiddling is the perfect addition to the existing four-piece lineup; HOT PRESS

Sunday 30th will feature a host of fantastic acts from near and far, free to the public and outdoors, (weather permitting of course). Confirmed so far are `The Backyard Devils` from Canada and `The Friel Sisters` who hail from Glasgow.

With Celtic Fusion, you know that every event will be memorable and of the highest standard. So get ready for Castlewellan& Celtic Fusion 2013 and get your summer off to a flying start.

As in previous years, the festival is run by the local community with support from Down District Council and although we encourage everyone to buy a ticket, there is much on offer for free! Traditional music sessions can be enjoyed throughout this beautiful market town nestled in the shade of the Mountains of Mourne.

Visit for more details. To purchase tickets phone 028 4461 0747 or call into the Newcastle Tourist Information Centre or JRs Discount store in Castlewellan.

Permalink - Posted: March 25, 2013 at 12:10 pm