Feile Chaoimhin Ui Dhochartaigh

The late Caoimh�n O Dochartaigh. (0502MM06)
The late Caoimh�n O Dochartaigh. (0502MM06)

The traditional music community across Ireland will pay tribute to one of their own in Derry this weekend when an all-star line up of musicians, tutors and performers will gather at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin to celebrate the life and legacy of Caoimhín Ó Dochartaigh.

Visitors will be offered the chance to take part in masterclasses with world renowned traditional musicians Laoise Kelly (harp), Siobhan Peoples and Josie Nugent (fiddle), Eamonn Cotter (flute) and Steve Cooney (guitar). There will also be intensive Irish language courses on offer, some late night tunes with Four Men and a Dog and an exclusive concert bringing together trad legends Steve Cooney, Dave Munnelly, Mórga, Gino Lupari and Dónal Murphy.

The city lost a true cultural ambassador when Caoimhín (who was born and raised in the Brandywell area) passed away in September 2009. Musician, teacher, arts organizer, man of action and ideas - Caoimhín will be remembered by many people in the city and beyond for the contribution he made to Irish music and culture over 40 years. He helped form the first branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Derry in 1972 and was instrumental with his wife Eibhlín in the development of Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, which opened just weeks before his death.

Caoimhín’s friend and fellow musician Mick O’Hanlon said: “Live traditional sessions in Derry around 1972 began as an almost cult activity among younger musicians, who gradually formed themselves into a loose network, determined that guitars, mandolins, fiddles, tin-whistles and bodhráns could be blended into a new kind of Irish folk music.

Caoimhín Ó Dochartaigh was part of that company of people who began to gather each week in the jammed upstairs room of the Gweedore Bar on Waterloo Street. Caoimhín not only contributed musically to the ever-growing sessions but also helped form the first branch of Comhaltas Ceolteoiri Eireann in Derry.

That involvement with CCE was in itself unique at the time, because the organization had no real outreaches in the North and since the 1950s Comhaltas had been losing ground and needed to swell its numbers all over Ireland. So Caoimhín’s work – he was chairperson up to the time of his death – was doubly invaluable, both in co-ordinating meetings and keeping the spirit of the great seminal movement alive. ”

Féile Chaoimhín Uí Dhochartaigh takes plcae this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and tickets for all events can be purchased from Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin or online at www.culturlann-doire.ie . Call 028 71 264132 or email annemarie@culturlann-doire.ie for more information.