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Letterkenny Trad Week 2015

Just to prove that there is life beyond Christmas we are teaming up with our friends at the Regional Cultural Centre to present Letterkenny Trad Week, a feast of traditional music featuring some of the biggest names in folk from January 10th to 17th 2015.

The line up of musicians reads like a whose who of Irish traditional music in particular, with members and former members of almost every major Irish group of the last 40 years coming to Letterkenny that week. It features the considerable combined talents of Ed Boyd (Flook), Ian Carr (Kate Rusby Band), Karan Casey (Solas), Éamonn Coyne (Salsa Celtica), John Doyle (Solas), Kris Drever (Lau), Steph Geremia (Alan Kelly Gang), Paddy Glackin (Bothy Band), Andy Irvine (Planxty), Alan Kelly (Eddi Reader band), Staffan Lindfors (Sofia Karlsson band), Donal Lunny (Planxty), Mike McGoldrick (Lunasa), Maura O’Connell (De Danann) and Martin Tourish (Altan).

Organised by Donegal County Council Cultural Services and An Grianan Theatre in association with EAF, DMEP and Ceol Na Coille the programme comprises three star-studded concerts. Local audiences have the unique privilege of attending the first ever public performance by new Irish super group Usher’s Island, an intimate preview show at the RCC on Saturday January 10th in preparation for their official debut concert at Celtic Connections Glasgow.

Also visiting Letterkenny prior to a major Celtic Connections show is Sea Road Sessions a brilliant new six-piece ensemble from Ireland, Scotland and Sweden, led by Alan Kelly, who play An Grianán on Tuesday January 13th. The final concert of the week is another stellar line-up featuring the first collaboration of legendary Irish singers Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey at the RCC on Saturday January 17th. All concerts commence at 8pm and tickets can be booked at An Grianan Theatre Box Office on 00353 7491 20777 or online at www.angrianan.com.  Usher’s Island tickets are priced €18, Sea Road Sessions are €18/€15 and Maura O’Connell tickets are €12/€10. There is a special 3 for 2 Offer for all 3 concerts for €36, a perfect Christmas gift!

Usher’s Island

Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle are among the biggest names in traditional music and they’ve combined their talents to form a new band, Usher’s Island. Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy Irvine has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his 45-year career. From Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s and then from Patrick Street to Mozaik, Andy has been a world music pioneer. Dónal Lunny has been central to the renaissance of Irish Music over the last four decades. He has been involved in some of the most innovative bands to emerge from Ireland since the 70’s including Planxty, the Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Coolfin, and more recently Mozaik. As a co-founder of best-selling Irish instrumental outfit Lúnasa and current member of Scottish/Irish favorites Capercaille, flautist and piper Michael McGoldrick is one of the most influential musicians of his generation. He has also contributed to albums by such acclaimed artists as Kate Rusby, Sharon Shannon, Afro-Celt Sound System and Youssou N’Dour. A founding member of the Bothy Band, fiddler Paddy Glackin left to pursue a solo career shortly before the band launched their professional career. He has continued to explore the Irish fiddling tradition ever since, as a soloist and in collaboration with the likes of uillean pipes player Robbie Hannon, guitarist Micheal ÓDomhnaill and fiddler Paddy Keenan. Guitarist and singer John Doyle is a founding member of Irish American group Solas and recently served as band leader for Joan Baez. He received a 2010 GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional World Music album with fiddler Liz Carroll.

Sea Road Sessions

The ‘Sea Road’ designates the maritime route historically linking Sweden, Scotland and Ireland, the home countries of a brand new six-piece line-up comprising singer/guitarist Kris Drever, accordionist Alan Kelly, guitarist Ian Carr, banjo ace Éamonn Coyne, flautist/singer Steph Geremia and bassist Staffan Lindfors. Having frequently crossed paths in other projects, they now pool their formidable talents and diverse repertoires for this brilliant ensemble show.

As friends and peers for many years, these 6 individuals have performed and recorded with each other in various ensembles. However, this is the first time they will take to the stage together for what promises to be a stunning collaboration, presenting a fresh and exciting body of work including traditional music from Ireland, Scotland and Sweden as well as new compositions both vocal and instrumental.

Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey

Music fans have the chance to see the first collaboration of two of Ireland’s finest singers Maura O’Connell and Karan Casey, who are joined by accordionist Martin Tourish and guitarist Ed Boyd as part of a Music Network Irish tour, at the RCC on Saturday 17th January. Blending Irish and progressive American folk singing styles, O’Connell burst onto the trad scene in the 1980s as vocalist with De Danann. The Ennis singer’s career has brought her international acclaim, two Grammy nominations and collaborations with everyone from Bonnie Raitt, Nanci Griffith and Dolly Parton to Alison Krauss, The Chieftains and Van Morrison. Former lead singer with Solas and a highly-acclaimed solo artist, Karen Casey is one of the most highly regarded vocalists in folk music, performing with such luminaries as James Taylor, Liam Clancy, Peggy Seeger, The Dubliners and Imelda May.

Usher’s Island, Sat 10 January, RCC Book now

Sea Road Sessions, Tues 13 January, An Grianán Book now

Maura O’Connell and Karen Casey, Sat 17 January, RCC Book now