The 4th annual Donegal International Folk & Roots Weekend in Letterkenny from July 12th to 15th as part of the Earagail Arts Festival, has a brilliant programme of concerts that combine internationally renowned roots music and mouth watering traditional music from Ireland and beyond. International highlights include Songhoy Blues from Mali at An Grianán Theatre on Saturday 14th, the Los Angeles based California Feetwarmers at the Regional Cultural Centre at lunchtime on the same day and Possessed by Paul James at Castle Grove County House Hotel on Sunday 15th at 4pm. The Regional Cultural Centre is the venue for a series of truly outstanding traditional music concerts including Ceolchoirm le Ceol na Coille on Thursday 12th, Ulaid & Duke Special on Friday 13th, Mná na bhFidleacha – The Donegal Female Fiddlers on Sunday 15th at 2pm and KGB on Sunday 15th at 8.30pm. Tickets for all festival events can be purchased at An Grianán Theatre, Box Office on 0749120777 or online at eaf.ie.
The opening concert on Thursday 12th is a feast of traditional Irish music featuring tutors from this year’s Ceol na Coille Traditional Music Summer School, including the Jarlath Henderson (Uilleann Pipes), Hamish Napier (Piano/Flute/Whistle), Bríd Harper (Fiddle), Tony O’Connell (Concertina) and Deirdre Scanlon (Traditional Singing). Ulaid & Duke Special perform together on Friday 13th. The partnership draws on Duke’s singing and songwriting skills and Ulaid’s exceptional musicianship and arrangements. The project draws on Duke Special’s songwriting skills, from pre-rock’n’roll to modern acoustic pop. He injects drama and theatricality, bringing storytelling to the fore with meditative twists and turns amid the melodic architecture. Ulaid’s mixture of skills in arrangement, interpretation, composition and performance lend a peculiarly folk-but-modern, urban-but-pastoral air to the whole. For a collaboration that may have seemed unlikely in theory, proves itself thoroughly in practice. The Donegal Female Fiddlers, an extraordinary line-up of 13 of the County’s finest female fiddlers, perform on Sunday 15th at 2pm. They include Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Bríd Harper, Liz Doherty, Roisin McGrory, Clare Friel, Melanie Houton, Theresa Kavanagh, Aisling Drost-Byrne, Tara Connaghan, Denise Boyle, Claire Gallagher, Clódagh Warnock and Eimear McColgan. The final concert features trad super group KGB with Paddy Keenan (Bothy Band), Frankie Gavin (De Danann) and Dermot Byrne (Altan) on Sunday 15th at 8.30pm. Paddy Keenan is one of Ireland`s finest pipers, best known as a founding member of the Bothy Band, one of Irish music’s most influential bands of the 1970s, with whom he played in venues all over the world. Paddy is also an accomplished low whistle and banjo player. Frankie Gavin is one of Ireland`s greatest ever fiddle players. His name is immediately associated with the group De Danann who are credited with breaking new ground in Irish traditional music through innovative choices of material and arrangements. Dermot Byrne is one of Ireland’s most outstanding traditional accordion players. For many years a member of Altan, Dermot performed, recorded and toured extensively with the group along with artists like Donal Lunny, Steve Cooney and Stephane Grapelli, bringing the beauty and joy of traditional Irish music to audiences all over the world.