Reading My Way Around the World

Friday 5 August 2016

Around Here: Fiddlers Green Part 2

Painting by J B Vallely (photo from the internet)
Here are a few more tunes for you from the Main Stage at this year's Festival.

Lunasa (pronounced Loon is ah ) played on Friday night as part of the Hall of Fame Award Concert.   The piper's mother and father, Eithne and Brian Vallely were being honoured for their work with young traditional musicians for the past 50 years.   Brian, or JB Vallely as he is known, is a world famous painter as well as musician. 

I was a bit apprehensive about this concert as they have no singer, but wow, could I have been more wrong.   They are world class musicians - varying their set from Galician to Breton to Irish and Scots tunes in multiple different formations.
This video is a live set from Cropredy Festival in England a few years ago.

Some people think that folk (or rock) musicians are layabouts (No, I hear you shout )  Well the piper here, Cillian Vallely, is a New York based lawyer, the fiddle player is a surgeon and I think the other three are full time music producers and studio musicians.  So there you go.

Another stunning player is Nollaig Casey - she has played with the RTE symphony orchestra, with Riverdance, on many many albums and TV shows, and most often tours with her husband Arty McGlynn who is a stunning guitarist.  At this year's festival, she debuted a new album , Sibling Revelry, as The Casey Sisters, with her two sisters - Máire Ní Chathasaigh is a harper who plays around the folk circuit with her husband Chris Newman - you may have seen them at folk festivals in England.   The third sister Mairead is a beautiful singer and fiddle player.

This year's festival had very strict rules during the concerts of no filming or photography and I've noticed that many of the top artists have very little live footage on You Tube.   It has long been a problem for all of us who travel, when videos taken on iPhone are loaded up to You Tube, never to be taken down again - and we have no quality control.   Perhaps on that day you're feeling tired, or looking a bit bedraggled, or there's a note out of tune etc. etc.    It's good to see more clubs and festivals paying attention to the needs of the musicians. 

I hope you've enjoyed this little introduction to some of Ireland's wonderful traditional musicians.   I feel very privileged to get to see live performances of such a high standard of instrumental playing in our little corner of the world.

Take care of yourselves and have a lovely weekend.


  1. Hi Fil - sorry I needed time to comment and more importantly listen - amazing artists and so fascinating to read your notes about them ...

    ... both videos are extraordinary and wonderful to listen to, as well as view ...

    I can quite understand your feelings for your traditional musicians - it must be magical to be a part of that world ...

    Thanks so much - cheers Hilary

  2. What a delight to peek into this world Fil - and thanks for the introduction to these two wonderful groups. What a fabulous way to start my day - with a happy heart and tapping toes.

  3. Dear Fil, and I feel priviledged to get to know a soulful musician like you, with a great heart and sharing with us these amazing musicians - I am truly, really truly mesmerised by Lunasa, I wish I could have been there to watch them! Youtube would help, hope that in the future there's more about this festival and musicians around! I also though "noooo" when you talked about the thoughts people usually have towards musicians, I myself in the beginning of my "career" :) I loved the Casey Sisters too, but we all have a favorite, I guess, and for me, now close to my heart, Lunasa :) Thank you so much for having shared them with us! Hope you have a very beautiful week!


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