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Ed Reavy Traditional Music Festival

October 13th to 16th 2016

Following the success of the inaugural Ed Reavy Traditional Music Festival in October 2015, Cavan Town CCÉ will the 2016 festival to celebrate the music of Ed Reavy at a number of venues in Cavan Town and Ed’s native Maudabawn from October 13th to 16th 2016.

Born in Barnagrove Cootehill, Co. Cavan in 1898, Ed emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912 where he lived till his passing in 1988. An outstanding fiddler and composer of traditional dance tunes, he recorded for the Victor record label in 1927. It is estimated that he wrote between 400 and 500 tunes, of which 127 have been preserved in notational form. Dr. Mick Moloney, has said of Ed Reavy in his introduction to The Collected Compositions of Ed Reavy: “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 his first love”. His compositions include such favourites as “In Memory of Coleman”, named for the inspirational Sligo fiddler, “The Hunters House”, “Maudabawn Chapel” named after the church where Ed spent his childhood in Cavan and chosen by Bronx born fiddle player Eileen Ivers as one of her tunes when she successfully won the All Ireland Senior Fiddle Championship in 1984, “The Lone Bush”, a hornpipe written about a remarkably resilient shrub which stood outside his childhood home—this composition was chosen by Chicago born All Ireland Senior Fiddle titlist, Liz Carroll, when she won the Junior Championship in 1974.
The events will commence in June with an Exhibition and Talk conducted by Mick Moloney on the life of Reavy and his contribution to the world of Traditional Irish Music, at Crover House Hotel on the shores of Lovely Lough Sheelin after which Ed named one of his many tunes. In 2015 Mick officially opened “The Ed Reavy Room” at Cavan County Museum Ballyjamesduff which contains displays of many interesting articles on the life and music of Ed Reavy including the complete uniform which Ed would have worn when attending functions across the US as the President of The Irish Musicians Union. This uniform was kindly donated by the Reavy family in Philadelphia. Following the lecture, the audience will be entertained to a number of selections of Reavy tunes performed by artists such as Mick Moloney, Antóin MacGabhann, Martin Gaffney as well as youth members of the Cavan Town CCE Branch and other CCE branches from around the county
The October festival will commence on Thursday October 13th at Gallonrea House in Ed’s native Maudabawn at 9pm with a session of Music, Singing and Set Dancing to get everybody into the right mood.
Many of the events over the weekend take place at The Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Road, Cavan and will feature concerts with bands such as Porterhead, Eiru, and supporting artists such as Antoin MacGabhann, Martin Gaffney, Fergus Bogue, Lorcán Brady, The Geoghegan Family, McGovern Family and a host of other artists. There will be music, song and Comhrá workshops over both Saturday and Sunday as well as series of special Tutor led Session Trails over the weekend.
Ed Reavy’s son Ed Junior, who sadly passed away in 2015, was a renowned dance teacher along with his wife Mary, in Philadelphia and in his honour, with the assistance of Marian Crowe we have revived the Set Dancing event “Dancing in The Drumlins” and there will be a complete weekend of Set Dancing Ceilis featuring:
•    Swallows Tail, Striolán and Johnny Reidy Ceili Band
With workshops on both Saturday and Sunday
We were particularly delighted that Ed Junior’s wife Mary joined us for the inaugural 2015 event and we look forward to welcoming her back to Cavan in 2016.
On Sunday morning at 10am, there was a mass in honour of Ed Reavy in Maudabawn Chapel, with music during the mass being provide by Martin Gaffney, Antoin MacGabhann, Marcas Ó Murchú, Gareth Tierney, Kathleen Fay and members of her family, Theresa McManus as well as other local artists. This was followed by a visit to Ed’s ancestral home, thanks to the Lynch family where we played a number of Ed’s tunes and then we returned to Gallonray House for a brief historical review of Ed’s life led by Antoin MacGabhann followed by an afternoon session of song, music and dance. 2016 will see a repeat of this fabulous event.
In recollection of the freezing cold at the funeral of Ed Reavy, that forced Seamus Egan the Uilleann Pipes player to abandon his pipes in favour of the playing one of Reavy’s slow airs on the tin whistle at his graveside, poet Martin Doyle wrote of the scene in a poem that concludes;
“Listen, my friend, to the lad with the whistle
With his fingertips timid and cold
See the life that he brings to the old man’s tunes
And the leaks that he brings to the eyes
See Reavy arise from the holes in the tin
And announce on his grave, “I’m alive!”
The title of this poem is “How Could Reavy Die?” – the answer is very simple – He Hasn’t, given his legacy and contribution to the world of traditional Irish music.
Come join with us and ensure his legacy lives on
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Contact us on 00353-86-0832250 or e-mail

Permalink - Posted: January 27, 2016 at 10:35 am