We kicked off April in fine style with a trip to our good friends in Youghal. We were delighted to facilitate some workshops at the Quality Hotel and Brú na Sí with members of the various performing groups there. The Oriel Traditional Orchestra joined us for the weekend and we had a great concert in the Mall Arts Centre.
The visit to Youghal was part of a 'pop-up festival' organised by the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann that embodied many aspects of the Creative Ireland programme. On Thursday night members of Comhaltas from Youghal and Kilrush took part in performances and a session in Brú na Sí. For the festival's gala concert on Saturday night the Youghal performers played a piece composed by Adèle entitled 'Lighting Capel Island'. Other pieces demonstrated the richness of a previously neglected local musical tradition with names evoking local places including 'The Youghal Waltz' and 'Kitty's Rambles to Youghal', found in the O'Farrell collection c.1805. Daithí has been researching an article on local music and history that will be published locally this summer. In the second half of the concert, Adèle conducted the combined orchestras of Oriel and East Cork for new arrangements of tunes that connected both regions.
The Oriel Traditional Orchestra had a busy series of rehearsals in April. Following their trip to Cork, they were back in Mullaghbawn and had a great workshop with Louth fiddle player Gerry O’Connor in Carrickmacross. Gerry spoke about the rich local musical heritage and taught tunes from the Luke Donnellan Collection and tunes associated with Peter McArdle from Tallanstown. It was fascinating, in particular, to listen to the Single Jigs from the area in which we now live that had similarities with the slides of Sliabh Luachra and yet were different to the ear.
We were also delighted to be involved in the Michigan Irish Festival Initiative at the Spirit Store. We were very proud of the groups from Dundalk Institute of Technology who participated and performed so well. The event was a great evening of music and entertainment and The Conifers were worthy winners. We look forward to hearing all of the groups again in different places.
In April, Adèle was also awarded a President's Prize for Research.As Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music, Adèle is very aware of the importance of being research active and is herself an expert on seminal Irish-born composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. As can be read about in our blogs, she has contributed regularly to academic conferences nationally and internationally while the Erasmus+ funded European project on STEAM education with partners across Europe, has a significant research element. Adèle has guest lectured at a number of European universities and this summer will lead a performing group from DkIT to perform at Speyfest in Scotland. Research in music is an established component of the Institute’s portfolio of research and researchers in the Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music and Creative Arts Research Centre contribute in many different ways to the cultural and academic life of the region. Research dissemination is not limited to academic articles and publications but, in music can include composition, performance and contribution to community projects.
The month closed in quickly and it was Daithí’s turn to take to the road for the Dublin Fleadh. County fleadhanna provide a wonderful insight into local musc-making and are a great celebration of the work undertaken by teachers and tutors throughout the year. The Dublin Fleadh had a warm and welcoming atmosphere, which was a tribute in particular to Mary Whelan and Michael McCabe who gave the adjudicators an upbeat pep-talk at the start of the day.
There are plenty more weekends to come over the summer – we might bump into you there.