Pet O’Connell rounds up the online events for fans and musicians of traditional music
World Fiddle Day Scartaglin, May 16
The annual gathering of fiddle players in the Kerry village of Scartaglin has moved online.
“If visitors cannot come to Scartaglin to hear the sound of Sliabh Luachra this year because of Covid-19 then we will bring the music to them online in a special live broadcast featuring fiddle players from around the world,” says organiser PJ Teahan.
Having sent invitations to musicians in the UK, US, Holland, France, and across Ireland, “there has been a huge response,” he adds.
Thanks to website designer Richard Nolan, the concert can be heard from 7.30pm on Facebook: World Fiddle Day Scartaglin; YouTube: Handed Down Scartaglin Sliabh Luachra Archive.
Céilí in the Kitchen, June 13
Around the house and mind the dresser as Creative Ireland, with the help of choreographer Edwina Guckian, singer Cathy Jordan, musician Thomas Johnston, and storyteller Mikel Murfi celebrate Cruinniú na nÓg.
Video workshops will feature traditional music, song, and storytelling, while the children of Áirc Damhsa will showcase their daily dancing preparations for Céilí in the Kitchen. Families are encouraged to learn together and on June 13 to share their own céilí on social media using the hashtags #CreativeIreland and #InThisTogether.
The Butterfly Sessions
An online performance series commissioned by Music Network sees 24 musicians and composers premiere new music.
The 10-week series features two premieres each week, broadcast on Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on Music Network’s YouTube channel and social media platforms.
Among the diverse genres featured, upcoming folk and traditional music performances include Kerry-based guitarist and composer Gerry O’Beirne on May 22, a composition for viola by Niamh Varian-Barry on June 3; harpist and singer Brona McVittie on June 10, and Armagh flute player Brian Finnegan on June 12.
The GAA’s cultural competition has gone online, giving a virtual stage to participants in music, song, dance, and recitation.
“To give people an outlet to perform we came up with Virtual Scór and we’ve had well over 400 participate so far,” says GAA Irish language development officer Jamie Ó Tuama. “We’ve had a great mixture of children and adults from all over the country. We had a GAA Gaeilge day, a family music day, a county day where you sing a song with the name of a county in it… we’ve been absolutely flat-out.” Group collaborations feature this weekend through online sharing platforms.
CeolVid Series of Traditional Music
Using the hashtag #quarantunes, musicians from 40 countries from Zambia to Kazakhstan are playing traditional music and nominating friends to take part in the online challenge.
Acts including Nuadán, Louise and Michelle Mulcahy, Oisín Mac Diarmada, Mick O’Brien, and Dermot Byrne are among those to have participated so far.
Musicians share a video of themselves playing a tune or singing a song, and include a link to make donations to the World Health Organisation Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund at covid19responsefund.org/
The Culture Ireland initiative livestreams virtual concert performances, including traditional music, from sitting rooms, sheds, and beaches, in a bid to support artists during the Covid-19 crisis.
Among the most-watched so far has been Cormac Begley’s concertina concert from a campervan on the Dingle peninsula, which attracted more than 49,000 views. Upcoming concerts feature Therese McInerney, and Maurice Lennon, Ciara Brennan, and Chris Dawson.
Events are streamed through the artist’s social media channels and carried on Culture Ireland’s Facebook page.
Traditional music teaching has also moved online, with lessons ranging from fee-paying one-to-one classes using Zoom, Skype, and other platforms, to free online tutorials on social media.
The likes of the Online Academy of Irish Music, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and Killarney School of Music have been joined by individual artists including Altan’s Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh and Cork guitarist Jim Murray in offering online tuition. Murray also presents a series of daily “tunes from the kitchen” in virtual collaboration with Sharon Shannon, Ger Wolfe, Frankie Gavin and more.
Started by Scottish Highland fiddle player Duncan Chisholm using the hashtag #COVIDCeilidh, the initiative has caught on in Ireland and worldwide during lockdown.
The “impromptu virtual ceilidh” where musicians share a tune per day, has gathered thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, one music teacher describing it as “a constant stream of catharsis”. See: #COVIDCeilidh