Arts

Music is something that brings people together

MOXIE: Ceann de na grúpaí óga is fearr atá ag seinm faoi láthair
Robert McMillen

Go mbeannaí Dia daoibh agus bhur gcéad fáilte isteach chuig The Bluffer's guide to Irish.

Over the weekend, ghlac sé go réidh é - the Bluffer took it easy i rith an lae - during the day and spent the evenings watching music coming from Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann over in Sligeach - Sligo on TG4.

FleadhTV was on for three hours each night of the festival and the craic was just deadly/mighty/ninety.

(Have you noticed how the Bluffer breaks into fluent culchie at odd moments?)

Ar scor ar bith - in any case, caighdeán an cheoil - the quality of the music, an t-atmaisféar - the atmosphere, the sight of so many people, young and old, having a really great time made for some great TV.

The three presenters, Lynette Fay, Máire Treasa Ní Dhubhghail and Dervish's Cathy Jordan were each having When Harry Met Sally moments as they introduced on great band after another.

Again, the éagsúlacht - variety of Irish traditional and folk music was there for all to see with ríleanna - reels being played at breakneck speed, foinn mhalla - slow airs that could bring tears from a stone and singers in all shapes and sizes singing songs that talk directly to the heart.

At the Fleadh was Linda Ervine and her husband Brian (who sang at the event) and it was obvious that Linda was having a ball.

She threw out the idea of having an “inclusive Fleadh in Belfast ... (with) loyalist bands proudly parading and taking their rightful place as part of the musical culture of these islands along with all the traditional Irish and Scottish jigs and reels.”

Of course, loyalist flute bands were involved in the Fleadh in Derry in 2013 and many would say that the Fleadh has always been cuimsitheach - inclusive if people want to join in.

I've no doubt that the Stormont Hotel will be packed when Altan, one of our finest traditional groups over the past 25 years, comes to oirthear Bhéal Feirste - east Belfast as part of Eastside Arts Festival.

Another Eastside event I'm really looking forward to is a play called Sequamur which tells of a príomhoide - a headmaster called William J Gibson who urged older pupils at the Nicolson Institute in Steòrnabhagh - Stornoway on Eilean Leòdhais - the Isle of Lewis to join the armed forces following the outbreak of An Chéad Chogadh Domhanda - World War One.

No doubt Gibson saw it as his patriotic duty in an area with a long history of service in the British armed forces but his pride turned to anguish as 148 of the pupils he inspired died on foreign battle fields during that terrible war.

In fact, as Lisa Falconer points out in the West HIghland Free Press, “of the 6,712 from the Isle of Lewis who served, 1,151 never returned — an attrition rate of 17 per cent, the highest in the whole of the UK.”

In the south of the city, An Droichead's annual festival of the best of traditional music kicks of this week with Ensemble Ériu, Liam O'Flynn, Neil Martin and Paddy Glackin and Boys of the Lough in the mix.

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