On Saturday March 10, Westport Town Hall will play host to Arcanadh for the first time. Arcanadh have played in Westport before, but not since 2015, when they packed out Gracie’s Bar at Westport House. The band members might be from all over Ireland, but the Mayo connections are strong.
A six-piece traditional Irish vocal group formed in the summer of 2002, Arcanadh initially came together to tour America and perform in the Interceltic Festival in L’Orient France. Hailing from the four provinces of the country, Arcanadh boast a wide variety of instruments and unique vocal harmonies.
Their songs range from traditional sean-nós to contemporary arrangements of age-old songs and new compositions, many of which are arranged in harmony for six voices. These voices are accompanied by a wide variety of instruments such as the harp, fiddle, mandola, piano, guitar, whistle and banjo while others are more acapella style.
The band is comprised of Colm Breathnach from An Rinn Gaeltacht, Co Waterford; Sinéad Gibson from Gortahork, Co Donegal; Martin and Mags Gallen, brother and sister, originally from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan; Maria Corbet from Palmerstown, Co Dublin; and Fiona Walsh from Bohola. Since Arcanadh’s formation in 2002, they have toured extensively to such places as Taiwan, Romania, America and France, where they were awarded the Dagan trophy in the L’Orient Festival for the Best Traditional Group in August 2002.
Arcanadh have also won the Irish Music Magazine award for Best Newcomer 2005 and were nominated for the Celtic Fusion Awards for 2005 as Best Newcomer in Irish Traditional Music. They have recorded three studio albums to date – ‘Soundings’, ‘Turning of a Day’ and ‘Light from the Water’.
Their music has been described as having ‘an energy that is both inspiring and bewildering’ by Irish Music Magazine, and The Irish Times dubbed the band ‘a six-piece drowning in vocal talent and spoilt for instrumental choice’.
Renowned for their powerful blend of vocals and exquisite harmonies, Arcanadh continue to endear audiences with their combination of self-composed songs and songs from traditions all over the world. They have picked up several accolades along the way.
But what about those Mayo connections? Well, Mags Gallen now lives in Westport and can often be seen playing and singing around the town. She performed the part of Maud Gonne in the 1916 commemorative play, ‘Foxy Jack – Giolla Éireann’, in the Town Hall in September 2016. She is a member of Cór Mhaigh Eo and teaches in Breaffy NS. Maria Corbet’s mother is from Westport, and Fiona Walsh is from down the road in Bohola. Maria is particularly looking forward to the night, as she has very fond memories of being taken by her Granny to Bingo in Westport Town Hall as a young girl.
Tickets for the show are on sale now in the Westport Town Hall Theatre Box Office. To book, call 098 28459 or visit www.westporttheatre.com