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MUSIC Féile Chois Cuain celebrates 20 years

Going Out

Two decades of Féile Chois Cuain celebrated with stellar line-up

Neill O’Neill

THE twentieth annual Féile Chois Cuain takes place over this May Bank Holiday weekend, from Friday May 2 to Monday, May 5, and will once again host many of the most notable traditional artists from home and abroad.
From its inception in 1995, Féile Chois Cuain, has put its emphasis on quality and the festival continues to attract the cream of traditional artists, gaining it an enviable reputation at home and abroad. The committee has again invited outstanding traditional arts exponents to teach classes and play in concerts and sessions over the May Bank Holiday weekend, as has been the case since the first one in 1995.
 Anyone with even a passing interest in traditional arts will recognise the artists listed in the programme. The list abounds with All-Ireland and Oireachtas champions and fourteen teachers will be involved in passing on their expertise in music (seven instruments), song (sean-nós and ballads) and set-dancing. It is a wonderful opportunity to have such renowned tutors give master-classes and perform in concerts and sessions. The tutors are on a par with those teaching at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheóil Scoil Éigse and at the Willie Clancy Festival.
 Apart from those listed on the programme, the committee has engaged numerous other artists. For many, recognising the quality of the festival, Féile Chois Cuain, has become an annual pilgrimage. Musicians and trad enthusiasts alike flock to one of the country’s most scenic areas to enjoy this celebration of Irish culture. Féile Chois Cuain has gone from strength to strength over the years and Louisburgh is the place to be for the best of music, song and dance, ceol, craic, cairdeas agus cuideachta from 2nd to 5th May - undoubtedly  a weekend not to be missed.
 Féile Chois Cuain provides a significant boost to the commercial life of the area and attracts visitors from far and wide – home and abroad. This is due to the reputation Féile has gained for the quality of its artists, but also for its unique atmosphere. Performers and visitors have remarked on the friendliness of the people and the respect shown to the performers. The absence of competitions adds to the relaxed atmosphere and the mix of concerts, classes, céilí and sessions have proved a popular format.
 The Festivities get under way with a Youth Concert commencing at 7.30pm on Friday which features local and visiting young musicians, many who have gained honours at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. All are welcome to the official opening at 9.30pm in ‘An Bhun Abhainn’ and informal sessions will be the order of the evening in all local pubs.
Saturday has a very full programme of events, commencing with classes in music, singing and set dance, from 10.30am to 4pm. This year sees the addition of a harp class. The tutors are all outstanding exponents of the traditional arts.
 At 4.15pm a sean-nós singing session, featuring some of the most decorated sean-nós singers of our time, takes place in the Parochial Hall.
The Grand concert at 8.45pm is one of the highlights of the weekend.  The concert features music, song and dance with Laoise Kelly, Colm O’Donnell, Maire Ní Choilm, John Regan, Angela Deane, Tara Breen, Jillian O’Malley, Muireann Banks and Edwina Guckian among a host of artists taking part.
 The Sunday afternoon concert “Macallaí thar Farraige” / “Echoes from Abroad” features artists who were born or are living abroad. Among those taking part will be Patsy Moloney, John Blake, Catherine and John McEvoy, Ciarán O’Grady, Theresa O’Grady, Joe O’Connor, Frank Baynes, John Burke, Carmel Commins, Coventry Comhaltas and many more.