Remembering Bunting Festival

A weekend of concerts and talks, to honour the life of Edward Bunting

Featuring: Ulaid, Gerry O‘Connor, Lee Lawson, Jane Cassidy, Maurice Leyden, Jaff Piobaire, David Byers, Dr Fintan Vallely, Aoife Ní Roideáin, Fionnuala Donlon & CEOL Band

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Introduction

This year marks an historic first, when Belfast honours one of its most influential adopted sons with the hosting of the first ever Remembering Bunting Festival.

This inaugural festival has been developed to draw attention to the hugely significant work of Edward Bunting. The festival celebrates his work as transcriber to the 1792 Belfast Harper’s Gathering, held in the Exchange and Assembly Rooms in Waring Street, and his subsequent work as a collector and publisher of Irish traditional music. In this Bunting was ably assisted and on occasions financially supported, by that most indomitable daughter of Belfast Mary Ann McCracken. Bunting lived at the McCracken home for 35 years, joining the family as an eleven year old when he became apprenticed to the great Belfast organist William Ware. Arguably Ireland’s most influential musicologist, the story of Edward Bunting is also inextricably interwoven with the story of Mary Ann McCracken.

 

The CEOL Project

The Community Engagement, Outreach & Liaison Project, or CEOL for short, was initiated by Comhaltas, through its regional development centre Dún Uladh in 2016. The CEOL Project acts as a bridge uniting diverse communities across Ulster to enable the whole community, to feel comfortable accessing Irish traditional music sessions, classes, competitions and concerts. CEOL has enabled Comhaltas in Ulster, to develop links with similar organizations within the Scottish pipe band sector, such as our project colleagues the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland and the Music Service for Pipes and Drums, facilitating exciting new relationships and musical collaborations, which showcase our shared traditional music heritage.

 

Date

Time

Activity

Venue

Friday 16 February

1pm

Festival Launch: with David Byers “Hang Out the Bunting”: The Life & Times of Edward Bunting”

Discover Ulster-Scots Centre, The Corn Exchange,

31 Gordon Street, Belfast

Friday 16 February

8pm

The Mary Ann McCracken Show: Jane Cassidy with Maurice Leyden and Jaff Piobaire

Duke of York Bar,

7-11 Commercial Court, Belfast

Saturday 17 February

3pm

Cultural Talk: With Dr Fintan Vallely: “Edward Bunting: His Mark on Music Today”

St Mary’s Hall,

2-4 Chapel Lane, Belfast

Saturday 17 February

8pm

Concert with Ulaid,

Gerry O’ Connor, Lee Lawson, Aoife Ní Roideáin, Fionnuala Donlon and the CEOL Band

St George’s Church, 105 High Street, Belfast

 

Friday 16 February

Festival Launch with David Byers

Belfast-born David Byers studied at Queen’s University, the Royal Academy of Music, London, and the Liège Conservatoire. In 1984 he was elected an Associate of the RAM and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. After 25 years making music programmes for the BBC he took early retirement from his role as Chief Producer, Music and Arts, in 2002. For the following eight years he was Chief Executive of the Ulster Orchestra, retiring in 2010. As a composer, musicologist, broadcaster and writer, he has championed the work of Irish composers, commissioned many new works and revived many old ones.

 

The Mary Ann McCracken Show with Jane Cassidy, Maurice Leyden and Jaff Piobaire

Jane Cassidy - a professional folk singer since the 1980s, Jane toured extensively in Europe and, released two albums with Claddagh Records, Waves of Time 1982 and The Empty Road 1985, In 1995 she released an album with husband Maurice Leyden, telling the story of Mary Ann McCracken 1770- 1866. In the past year Jane released a new solo album ‘Silverbridge’, featuring a mix of traditional ballads and her own compositions.

Maurice Leyden is a folk-singer, collector, and broadcaster living in Belfast. He has published two collections of traditional songs; Belfast, City of Song 1989 and Boys and Girls Come Out to Play 1993 He teaches traditional singing for Belfast Trad and regularly delivers ‘singing lectures’. Maurice recently released his album ‘The Tern and the Swallow’; a collection of traditional Ulster songs.

Jaff Piobaire Multi-instrumentalist will be joining Jane and Maurice for the Mary Ann McCracken Show.

 

Saturday 17 February

Dr. Fintan Vallely

Dr. Fintan Valelly is a musician and writer on Traditional music from Co. Armagh. He has lectured on the music at university level since the early 1990s. He is the editor of the A-Z encyclopaedia ‘Companion to Irish Traditional Music’ and directs and performs in ‘Compánach’, the audio-visual concert adaptation of that book.

Date

Time

Venue

15/02/18

8.30pm

Sun ower Folk Club, Sun ower Bar with Geraldine Bradley Admission £5

16/02/18

6pm

Madden’s Bar Traditional Music Session

16/02/18

10pm

Maddens Bar Traditional Music Session

16/02/18

5pm

The Garrick Bar Traditional Music Session

17/02/18

5pm

John Hewitt Bar: Traditional Music Session

17/02/18

10pm

Maddens Bar Traditional Music Session

18/02/18

6pm

The Garrick Bar Traditional Music Session

18/02/18

9pm

Maddens Bar Traditional Music Session

 

Belfast Traditional Session & Folk Club Trail

Belfast has a wealth of traditional music on each week with traditional music sessions in a number of bars throughout the city.

We have included a list of sessions, as well as the renowned Sun ower Folk club, whose gigs take place every Thursday. Why not check them out?

 

Saturday 17 February Concert

Ulaid

Comprising John McSherry, Dónal O’Connor and Sean Óg Graham, is a collection of some of Irish music’s most influential heavy hitters. Both collectively and individually they have been at the forefront of some of the most innovative developments on Irish traditional music over the last two decades. So whether its through Lá Lugh or At First Light, or Coolfin to Tamalin, or indeed A Stór Mo Chroi to Beoga and Fiddlers Bid, Ulaid’s members charted new paths, as performers, producers, composers or recording artists, for traditional music.

 

Gerry Ó Connor

Gerry O’Connor: is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s finest fiddle players. He has played and recorded with such highly-regarded groups as Lá Lúgh (with Eithne Ní Uallacháin), Skylark (with Len Graham, Gary O’Briain & Mairtin O’Connor), and has recorded with much celebrated Irish-Canadian-based group The Irish Rovers. Gerry is a noted proponent of developing musical links across the Celtic nations. His 2006 live album “In Concert” recorded with Gilles le Bigot (Barzaz, Skolvan) was a highly influential celebration of the cultural links between Ireland and Brittany. Gerry’s work in popularising what may be termed the Oriel or South Ulster style of traditional music has had a huge impact on a new generation of traditional musicians in the Louth, Monaghan and Armagh areas.

 

Lee Lawson

County Down, Lee has been drumming since she was given her first actual snare drum as a Christmas present when she was only two years old! She is now widely regarded as one of the top pipe band and rudimental drummers in the world. Lee “walked out” with her first pipe band – Waringsford Pipe Band – on a parade just one day after her seventh birthday. A few years later after only a couple of months playing with Grade 2 Moneygore Pipe Band she was promoted to the position of the Band’s Leading Drummer while still only an 11 year old schoolgirl.

 

CEOL Band

This is the first time this 20 piece cross community youth band has played in Belfast. Drawn from members of the Newcastle Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, together with members of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland and the Music Service for Pipes and Drums, the CEOL Band will perform an exciting showcase of tunes and songs shining a light on the shared heritage nature of traditional music as it has evolved over many years throughout Ulster. The band will also perform at the Ulster Fleadh, which will be held in Castlewellan in July, later this year. So if you are in Belfast for a day or two, why not check them out?

 

Aoife Ní Roideáin

As a member of the highly innovative Irish language rock group “Dysania”, Aoife is no stranger to performing in Belfast. A student of Irish and music at Maynooth, she is equally at home singing in Irish and English. She performs regularly in the Irish folk roots trio “Hand Like a Foot” and has played in a variety of line-ups at festivals throughout Ireland, including, Electric Picnic, Ceol Chairlinn, Féíle Patrick Byrne, & Carrickmacross Arts Festival. 

 

Fionnuala Donlon

Fionnuala Donlon has been playing the harp since she was 9. She has won 2 All Ireland titles, and has been the recipient of many musical awards. She is a member of the National folk orchestra of Ireland, and was also involved with Oisin Morrison’s youth orchestra. Fionnuala has been travelled around Ireland playing, and her music has taken her to countries such as Scotland and Germany. She has played for an tUachtarain and the former Vice President of America. Fionnuala is currently studying music at university.

Aoife and Fionnuala team up here for their first Belfast performance together.

 

Funders

This inaugural Remembering Bunting Festival, has been financially assisted by The Executive Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund.