‘Stellar’ line up at Fleadh ‘Songs of the People’ Concert

Singer Maranna McCloskey. 2406SJ6
Singer Maranna McCloskey. 2406SJ6

Fleadh Uladh has lined up a “stellar” cast of musicians and singers to perform at an eagerly anticipated concert in Dungiven next month.

The Dungiven Fleadh Uladh committee is delighted to honour Sam Henry’s famous traditional singing anthology ‘Songs of the People’ in a unique concert on July 21 in the town as part of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann’s 51st Ulster Fleadh.

“The 7.30pm concert follows on a format used in BBC Four music shows such as … Sings the Great American Songbook, whereby a host of renowned performers will choose some of their favourite songs from the Ulster singing tradition,” said a spokesperson. The line-up for the inaugural event will feature some of the country’s finest singers, including Rita Gallagher, several times winner of the All-Ireland Singing Trophy.

“All corners of Ulster will be represented in the concert, with participants from as far away as Monaghan, Donegal and Down. Niall Hanna from Co. Tyrone will also perform on the night, carrying on the legacy of his late grandfather Geordie Hanna, known to many as a great stalwart of the singing tradition.

“Of course, the local area itself is known as a stronghold of Irish traditional singing, and some of Dungiven’s best known singers will perform on the night,” said a spokesperson.

Sam Henry’s collection was originally printed as a column in a County Derry newspaper between 1923 and 1939, and documents the story of Ireland in the ballads, dirges, and humorous songs of its common people.Comprising nearly 690 selections, Songs of the People is a record of Irish folk songs before World War II, demonstrating the historical ties between Irish and Scottish folk culture and the tremendous Irish influence on American folk music in songsfrom the 18th and 19th century.

St. Canice’s Hall (a traditional 1920s cinema and dancehall) will be the venue for the concert, and its quaint, shabby charm will no doubt add to the nostalgic atmosphere of the night.

Maranna McCloskey wants people from neighbouring villages and towns to support the Fleadh now it is in Dungiven, having been in Castlewellan for the past few years. She promised fans “a treat” at the concert where they will be entertained by some of “Ulster’s finest” musicians “who are keeping the traditional songs alive”.

The concert will be broadcast, at a later date, on Radio Ulster’s Irish music show Folk Club. Despite the focus on singing , there is sure to be some great instrumental performances and a few surprises, with the likes of Stringtones (Brendan Hendry/Paul McSherry/Nodlaig Brolly) and upcoming Irish traditional band Ioscaid on the bill.

Tickets are on sale, available from www.fleadhuladh.com and PANTRY Coffeehouse in Dungiven. A limited number of tickets are available, so book early to avoid disappointment.

n Contact the Fleadh committee at Dungiven@comhaltas.net for further details.