Northern Ireland news

Remembering Edward Bunting Festival to celebrate his "invaluable contribution to the music of Ireland"

Seanachaí Eddie Keenan at the launch of the Remembering Bunting Festival in the Cloth Ear in Belfast Picture Mal McCann.
Nadia Breen

THE work of Edward Bunting is to be commemorated in Belfast with a weekend of lectures, traditional music sessions and concerts.

The launch of the Remembering Edward Bunting Festival has been marked at The Cloth Ear, Belfast. In attendance were prolific musicians and academics such as Simon Chadwick from the Historical Harp Society of Ireland and film maker Bernard Conlon.

Celebrating its second anniversary in February, community choirs and world-class musicians will come together to honour Bunting’s “invaluable contribution to the music of Ireland”. Visitors will explore rich cultural and musical history and heritage by honouring the work of Belfast’s “adopted son”.

Born in Armagh, he began studying music at the age of seven and later in life resided at the home of the Belfast McCracken family. The musician died in Dublin in 1843 with his last ambition being “to terminate his labours” by leaving behind him a complete, very nearly perfect collection of Irish music. His three volumes of Ancient Music of Ireland were published in 1796, 1809 and 1840.

The weekend is organised by Dún Uladh Cultural Heritage Centre, the resource centre for Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.

Regional officer Brendan McAleer said: “Edward Bunting was a hugely influential person who has had a significant impact on music from this country. Comhaltas are delighted to again host the Remembering Bunting Festival in recognition of this talented musician and collector.

“Without his work, our culture would be much the poorer.

“It is fitting to see how this festival has grown since its inception only a year ago and this year’s programme reflects the reverence with which Edward Bunting is held even today.”

The festival begins on February 8 at the Skainos Centre with a performance by the cross-community CEOL Band.

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