Festival in Carna to celebrate legendary singer Joe HeaneyApril 26, 2012 - 7:00am
The annual Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival of Traditional Singing and Music will take place in Carna over the May bank holiday weekend. It celebrates the life and musical achievements of the legendary singer who died in Seattle, USA, and is buried in his native parish.
The festival is now in its 26th year and has grown from strength to strength since it was first held. Because it’s a celebration of Joe Heaney, pride of place at the event is given to sean-nós, and traditional singing in any other language, but instrumental music and dancing are also catered for.
Former Late Late Show producer Cillian Fennell, who was reared in Carna, will be guest speaker at the official opening in Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim, Róisín na Mainiach on Friday, May 4 at 7.30pm. A series of photographs captured at last year’s festival by established Norwegian music photographer, Knut Utler, will be on display also on the night.
Activities at the Festival kick off properly on Saturday with singing workshops being given by Saileóg Ní Cheannabháin (sean-nós) and Fermanagh’s Rosie Stewart (English ballads). Local champions, Róisín Ní Mhainín and Proinsias Ó hIarnáin, will both teach their individual styles of Connemara sean-nós dancing in a class for beginners and advanced. These workshops cost €10 (adults/students) and are free of charge for primary school children.
A highlight of the Festival is the traditional concert which will take place in the Carna Bay Hotel on Saturday evening at 7.30pm. The many artists performing include Siobhán Éinniú, Briocán Bairéad, PJ, Dónal and Séamus Hernon, Cormac Begley, Saileóg and Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, Micheál and Mac Dara Ó Raghallaigh, Danny O’Mahony, Kevin Rowsome and Lorraine Hickey, Mick O’Brien and Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Róisín White, Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh, Rosie Stewart, sean-nós dancers Sibéal Davitt and Róisín Ní Mhainín.
Visitors from outside Ireland include traditional singer and piper Calum MacMillan (Isle of Lewis, Scotland) and traditional folk singer Arnfinn Staurheim (Telemark, Norway). Tickets for the concert are €20 and are available in advance from Carna Bay Hotel @ (095) 32255.
For more, read this week's Connacht Tribune.