The Cork Folk Festival 3rd Oct -7th October is an annual music event that takes place in Ireland’s southern capitol, Cork. The 39 year old festival is emerging as one of the most important folk & traditional music events in Ireland and has a growing reputation in Europe. Performances take place in concert halls, music venues, in 30 bars and on the Streets. It features concerts with international, cutting edge and established artists plus lectures, workshops, children’s events, and traditional set dancing. The event has a strong focus on local Cork City, Sliabh Luachra and Irish Traditional and folk musicians and singers, so prepare for plenty of polkas, slides and harrier ballads.
Since its birth in 1979, Cork Folk Festival has earned a reputation for bringing together some of the biggest names on the traditional and folk scene – as well as championing some of its up-and-coming stars. Set in Cork city, is has a unique atmosphere, taking in 14 of the city’s famous venues, but the festival feels intimate, despite its diversity in venues. Whether it’s local foods; tripe and drisheen, or a bodhrán workshop, fiddle concert or trad session that you’re after, the festival is well catered and all at minimal cost. Put short, it’s an old school festival for audiences who appreciate world class acoustic music.
The packed international line up features musicians from all over Europe and Ireland. Headlining this year festival will be the wonderful singer from Yorkshires, Kate Rusby. The five day festival will also include a performance by Dave Flynn’s 20 piece Irish Memory Orchestra with special guest accordion player Máirtín O’Connor. Another concert at this year’s 5 day festival will be three of Ireland’s most famous musicians, Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin and Dermot Byrne. This year the festival has commissioned west Cork harpist, Máire Ní Chathasaigh to write a piece of new music to commemorate the founding of the folk festival in 1979. The new music will be performed by Nollaig Casey, her sister Mairéad and a host of Cork Musicians at St Finn Barre’s Cathedral. For the first during the folk festival we will feature Fada music from Portugal, travelling from Lisbon to sing in Cork will be Claudia Aurora and her band.
The festival line up is huge this year and it include Cork’s own John Spillane , Jimmy Crowley & Pete Coe, Seamus Begley, The Whileaways, Ye Vagabonds, , Desi Wilkinson & Patrick Moulard from Brittany Máire Ní Cheileachair, Two Time Polka, Striolán Céilí Band, Blind Poets, Rowan Piggott, Cork Singers Club and Cork Pipers Club
Our Top Five Picks…
1. Kate Rusby
Cork Opera House Sun 7th Oct 8pm Kate Rusby & Band + Séamus Begley & Jim Murray €32
Forever proud to call herself a folk singer, Kate’s beautiful, expressive vocals never fail to connect the emotional heart of a song to that of her audience. The crossover appeal Kate enjoys is unprecedented for a folk singer and has been achieved without resort to compromise. A remarkable interpretive singer, Kate’s soulful vocals resonate with the wistful beauty of an earthbound angel. Inhabiting a lyric with unforced conviction – no matter how old or how modern – she has that rare ability to transport her audience, of touching them emotionally and making each tune live vividly within their experience and imagination. As ever, she will be joined on stage by the fabulous British folk musicians who form her band; Damien O’Kane – Banjo and Tenor Guitar, Duncal Lyall – Double Bass, Nick Cooke – Diatonic Accordion & Steve Byrnes – Bouzouki.
2. KGB Paddy Keenan, Frankie Gavin, Dermot Byrne (fiddle, Pipes, Box)
Triskel Christchurch Friday 5th Oct 8pm Frankie Gavin, Dermot Byrnes & Paddy Keenan + Kevin Burke €25
In a move that is sure to energise the Irish traditional music scene, three of Ireland’s finest instrumentalists have come together to form a new group.
Paddy Keenan is one of Ireland`s finest pipers, best known as a founding member of The Bothy Band. Paddy is also an accomplished low whistle and banjo player. Paddy’s contributions to traditional Irish music were marked in 2002, when he received the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year award and in 2011 by the Irish Music Association, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frankie Gavin is one of Ireland`s greatest ever fiddle players. His name is immediately associated with the group De Dannan who were also formed in the 1970s. Frankie has recorded and played with every genre of music from the Rolling Stones to Stephane Grappelli. In addition to being a world-class fiddle player Frankie is also a top class tin whistle and concert flute player.
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 Grappelli. For his contribution to Irish music, Dermot was chosen as TG4′s Traditional Musician of the Year 2013.
Kevin Burke (Fiddle)
Kevin Burke’s fiddle playing has been at the forefront of traditional music since the 1970s. His far-reaching solo album, If the Cap Fits, and his work with such renowned performers as Arlo Guthrie, Kate Bush, Christy Moore and The Bothy Band established him as a first class musician. Kevin will give a fiddle class at the Cork School of music on Saturday 6th Oct at 11am.
3. Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra Use Full page picture
CIT Cork School of Music Sat Oct 6th 8pm Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra, Special Guest Mairtín O Connor €20 (Students €15)
Dave Flynn’s Irish Memory Orchestra is the only orchestra in the western world to perform exclusively from memory. Ireland’s living music tradition soars into the 21st Century with this extraordinary 20 piece ensemble. Ancient Celtic horns mix with strings, wind, pipes, reeds, voices and a swinging rhythm section.
The IMO was founded in 2012 as a vehicle for Flynn’s genre-jumping music. For this, their Cork city debut, accordion legend Máirtín O’Connor joins the orchestra for an exhilarating suite of his tunes, orchestrated by Flynn. Corkonians Roisín Donohue and Niamh Varian-Barry star in a magical suite of songs. Finally Flynn’s epic Clare Concerto navigates an exciting, moving journey around the landmarks and musicians of Clare.
This concert is part funded by a Creative Programming Grant under the Arts Councils invitation to collaborate scheme , The scheme was run by Cork City and County Council Arts offices and Kerry County Council Arts Office.
Dave Flynn – composer/ guitar, Bjorn Bantock – conductor, Máirtín O’Connor – special guest accordion, Niamh Varian-Barry – violin/orchestra leader, Liz Coleman – fiddle, Róisín Donohoe – viola/voice, Maria O’Connor – cello, Neil Ó Loclainn – double bass, Niwel Tsumbu – guitar
Anne-Marie O’Farrell – harp, Aisling Agnew – flute/whistles, Brendan Rowan – flute/whistles, Mark Redmond – uilleann pipes/whistles, Etain McCooey – oboe/ whistle, Rachel Clancy – clarinet/ Celtic horns, Jack Talty – concertina, Bill Mag Fhloinn – Celtic horns/percussion, Neil Yates – trumpet/Celtic horns, Éanna Monaghan – bassoon/Celtic horns, Aidan Dunphy – percussion, Danny Roe – percussion
Máirtín O’Connor (Accordion) Use picture
Máirtín O’Connor is one of the main musical forces behind the now legendary River dance phenomenon, through his work with De Dannan, Midnight Well and Skylark and also as a solo artist he has quite simply gone where no Irish accordion player has gone before.
4. The Casey Sisters: – Corcach: A Journey Use Full page picture also picture of st finbarrs
Wednesday 3rd October 8pm St Finn Barres Cathedral
This year the festival has commissioned west Cork musicians, Máire, Mairéad & Nollaig Ní Chathasaigh to write a piece of new music to commemorate the founding of the folk festival in 1979. Corcach: A Journey will be performed by Máire her sisters Mairéad and Nollaig plus Johnny McCarthy, Eoin O Riabhaigh, & String Quartet featuring Eithne Willis and Joan Scannell at St Finn barre’s Cathedral.
The Casey Sisters (Harp &2 fiddles)
These three sisters grew up in a West Cork household steeped in traditional music and song. Having carved very different careers, they have come together to record what is, astonishingly, their first CD together, Sibling Revelry. For this special project, they mine the musical riches of their family, neighbourhood, county and country, while at the same time creating new melodies from the same deep source and a unique and heartfelt sound.
Eoin O Riabhaigh (pipes)
Eoin O Riabhaigh is a piper and pipemaker; he is the son of the late Cork piper and teacher, Micheál O Riabhaigh. He began his piping career at the tender age of 9 under his father’s watchful eye, and continues to play regularly. Eoin has enjoyed a very varied career as a piper, having performed and recorded with, among others, Dolores Keane, Mary Black, Iris Demente (US) and Tim O‘Brien.
Johnny McCarthy (Flute)
Johnny McCarthy is a flute and fiddle player and lectures in Traditional music in CIT Cork School of Music. He plays a regular session in the Corner House with Con O’ Drisceoil and Pat Ahern collectively known as The Four Star Trio. The trio have recorded two albums to date, The Square Triangle in 1979 and Magnetic South in 2014.
Eithne Willis (violin)
Eithne Willis holds a BA degree in Music and Irish from University College Cork and a Diploma in Violin Teaching from the CIT Cork School of Music. She is a founder member of the Cork Chamber Orchestra and a former member of several other Cork- based ensembles.
Joan Scannell (Cello)
Joan Scannell is a cellist and Head of String Studies at CIT Cork School of Music since 2006. A keen chamber musician, Joan was for many years a member of the Orpheus Trio, performing around the country and making several broadcasts for RTE TV. She also lectured and coached chamber music at University College Cork and was, for a time, a member of Jimmy Crowley’s infamous Stoker’s Lodge.
5.Claudia Aurora (Portugal) Use Full page picture
Triskel Christchurch Thursday 4th Oct 8pm Portuguese Fadó meets Irish Sean Nós; Claudia Aurora, Máire Ni Chéileachair & Nell Ní Chróinín €25
Following up her sold-out concert as part of the inaugural Songlines Fadó Series in London last September, Portuguese maverick fadista CLAUDIA AURORA makes her Cork début. Claudia is a fadista and songwriter from Oporto, Portugal. She sings Fadó – traditional Portuguese folk-blues – like no one else. Following in the tradition of great female fadistas like Mariza and Ana Moura, Claudia is the powerful voice of Fadó’s new generation. She will be joined at the Triskel concert by musicians Javier Moreno Olivares (Portuguese Guitar), Pavlos Carvalho (Bouzouki), Jonathan Short (double bass), and Kate Shortt (Cello).
“A beguiling voice! And her instrumentalists are superb!” The Scotsman
Máire Ni Chéileachair (singer)
Máire Ní Chéileachair from Cill Na Martra received the TG4 Amhránaí Na Bliana/Singer of the Year award on 4 February this year. Máire takes part regularly in Oireachtas Na Gaeilge where she has won Comórtas Na mBan several times. She is frequently heard singing at the Cork Singers Club and at festivals around Ireland and overseas, where she has brought sean-nós singing to new audiences.
Nell Ní Chróinín (singer)
Nell Ní Chróinín is a sean-nós singer who comes from the Múscraí Gaeltacht of West Cork. She was the youngest ever recipient of TG4’s Gradam Ceoil Traditional Singer of the Year award in 2012 and at the Oireachtas Na Gaeilge in 2014 she was awarded the Corn Uí Riada. Nell joined the band Danú in 2016 and features on their album, Ten Thousand Miles.
The packed festival also includes Warwick Folk Festival, Cork Singers’ & Pipers Clubs, Lee Delta Blues Club, Stíleanna- Concerts in Fiddle, Pipes, Flute, Accordion/Concerting & Song. This year we will be back in the city hall for a Céilí Mór with the Arundo.
So if you’re a fan of folk music Cork is the place to be this autumn.
Tickets on Sale at www.proc.ie & www.tickets.ie