I spent this weekend taking in every bit of music I could at the Beamish Cork Folk Festival this weekend… I am sufficiently folked up! I had enough music and dancing this weekend to almost satisfy even me for awhile. I am the kind of exhausted you only get at a festival, and it is one of the most delicious kinds. Funny thing about these festivals though is that they leave you with an even more veracious appetite for good music then before and this weekend was filled with some of the best.
Friday I attended a concert that gave me a three in one deal. The show opened with a young musician, Brendan O’Shea, originally from Ireland and now living in New York. His lyricism and guitar work was rich, captivating and strongly grounded. Brendan was followed by two musicians who hold a place in my highest admiration for performers. John Doyle and Karan Casey were, as ever, stunning and blew the performance up with their mastery, passion and artistry. Each of them a master at their craft, it is almost impossible to find a better nor more fitted duo than these friends, who were also founding members of the Irish super group, Solas. John and Karan are the kind of performers you could see a million times and the excitement and enjoyment in seeing them perform would only build.
John and Karan were followed by Paddy Keenan, a world renowned uilleann pipes player, famous for his creativity, skill and innovation. Paddy is a remarkable combination of immaculate traditional skill and an innovation and creativity that blends in his own style, influenced by global sounds. The whole evening wrapped up with all performers on stage, an incredible end to an already memorable show.
The next day, as mentioned in my previous posting, ‘Winner’, I participated in the Deaglan Tallon Traditional Songwriters Competition and won second prize for my original song “Arthur O’Leary”! There were many talented, witty and skillful songsmiths who participated and I was absolutely honored to be commended for my skill.
Sunday, being the last day I was able to participate, I went all out. I attended a Ceili Mor (a large gathering for traditional irish set dances) where performed such groups as Cherish the Ladies and Lunasa. Happily, I had the opportunity to see Lunasa again later that evening at The Pavillion with a fresh, new powerhouse group opening called Tremolo. While Lunasa can never quite be touched, having so many skillful and unique players in their lineup, I will confess to being unsure if they could top the remarkable sound of Tremolo. Tremolo’s youth, vivacity and traditional roots made them a force of simple yet powerful sound that I am sure will become globally known and enjoyed for many years to come. I look forward to their premiere album which has yet to be released.
All in all, the weekend was incredible and came at a very important time of year, as this is the same weekend as the late Sebastopol Celtic World Music Festival, which has been and always will be dear to my heart. The Beamish Cork Folk Festival was a fair enough trade.
Hope all of you are experiencing life joyfully!