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The Joe Mooney Summer School

July 19th – 26th, 2014

The Joe Mooney Summer School was inaugurated in Drumshanbo in 1989. It was dedicated to the late Joseph Mary Mooney, well– known local Councillor and community worker for his life achievements in promoting traditional culture in the area. He was co–founder of Drumshanbo Comhaltas with his wife Aoife and local bodhran player Tim Mannion in the early 50’s. He worked for the promotion of Comhaltas at local, county and Connacht level. He had a huge interest in the life and music of Leitrim’s famous flute player – John McKenna who was born in Tents, Tarmon, emigrated to New York at 24 years of age where his music was in great demand with the Irish diaspora. McKenna was the first Leitrim traditional musician to have his music recorded by the first recording label “The Irish Republic” and later on by the popular “Columbia” label.

The mantle of Joe Mooney to publicise the great music of McKenna has been taken on, thankfully by another great Leitrim flute player and admirer of McKenna’s legacy to Leitrim–Seán Gilrane. Seán has spent the last 3 years working on “The McKenna Project”, meeting the surviving relatives of McKenna when they visited Drumkeeran for the annual John McKenna week end and through his research and intense interest has succeeded in unearthing some exciting hitherto unreleased recordings of McKenna’s music. This brilliant work by Seán Gilraine consists of a substantial booklet and double CD of these recordings which was initiated by The John McKenna Society and funded by The Arts Council. This fine “McKenna Project” will be launched at The Joe Mooney Summer School 2014 on Wednesday July 23rd in Lough Allen Hotel, which will undoubtedly be welcomed enthusiastically by all and will bring Leitrim’s heritage of flute playing back to centre–stage and perhaps create a revival in his own county.

We congratulate Seán Gilrane on his commitment during his 3 years of research but as he says himself and we believe him “it was a labour of love”. We look forward eagerly to the launch and the music.

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Permalink - Posted: May 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm