51st Willie Clancy Summer School
The 51st Willie Clancy Summer School, which takes place in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, is now open for registration and has also published its programme details.
The week-long summer school of Irish traditional music and set dance will run from Saturday 1 July to Sunday 9 July and features classes, concerts, lectures, céilís and more. Online registration is now open and the cost for a full week of tuition is €150, which includes all classes, workshops, lectures and evening recitals. Tuition is available in traditional singing, banjo, accordion, concertina, fiddle, flute, harmonica, harp, dance, whistle, and uilleann pipes, but piping students should register with Na Píobairí Uilleann.
As well as classes, there is also a range of talks and lectures. This year’s Breandán Breathnach Memorial Lecture on 1 July will be given by fiddle player Conor Caldwell, a lecturer in Irish traditional music at the University of Limerick, and is titled ‘ “Against Christianity, learning and the spirit of nationality” – Jazz and Irish Traditional Music in the Early Twentieth Century’. The illustrated talk tells the story behind Ireland’s dalliances with jazz and the unique sounds that were created in the early twentieth century. The event will take place at the Community Centre in Miltown Malbay at 8.30pm.
Richie Piggott, author of the recently published Cry of a People Gone: Irish Musicians in Chicago, 1920–2020, will give a lecture on his work on Monday at 3pm. Piggott was born in Cobh, Co. Cork, and has lived in Chicago for the past twenty-five years. The talk will focus on some of the major events relating to Irish traditional music in the city such as the formation of the Irish Musicians Association of America (IMA), major tours of musicians and dancers to and from Ireland, and the organising of the first Fleadh Cheoil events in America.
Tribute to Mary Bergin
Each year the summer school honours a musician with a special tribute and this year’s focus is the renowned tin whistle player Mary Bergin. Born in Shankill, Co. Dublin, she won many awards in Oireachtas and Fleadh Ceoil competitions and moved to An Spidéal, Co. Galway, in the early 1970s where she played with Dé Danann. She also played with Ceoltoirí Laighean and was a co-founder of the Green Linnet Céilí Band. Bergin issued the classic solo albums Feadóga Stáin (1979) and Feadoga Stáin 2 (1992) and has published two volumes of her Irish Tin Whistle Tutorial and is currently working on the third and final volume. In 1989, with Kathleen Loughnane and Dearbhail Standún, she formed the group Dordán, which received a National Entertainment Award in 1993. Bergin received the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Traditional Musician of the Year Award in 2000 and an Honorary Doctorate from UCD in 2022. The tribute will take place on Tuesday at 3pm in the Community Centre and will be hosted by fiddle player James Kelly
On Wednesday at 3pm, James Morrissey, Chairman of Claddagh Records, will give a lecture titled ‘Garech Browne, Willie Clancy and Claddagh Records’. It will examine Browne’s close friendship with Clancy, the recordings the piper released on Claddagh, and the influence of Clancy on the label. On Thursday, Scottish piper Hamish Moore will deliver a lecture titled ‘Restitution: The Revival of Scotland’s Bellows-Blown Pipes and its Wider Cultural Significance’. This talk will be accompanied by a display of historically important artefacts.
On Saturday, there will be an event titled ‘Remembering Willie Clancy: Reflections on his Life and Legacy’, presented by piper and broadcaster Peter Browne. The presentation will feature people who knew Clancy and those influenced by him.
Recitals focusing on particular instruments (harp, fiddle, whistle, flute, banjo, uilleann pipes, accordion, harmonica and concertina) will take place each evening, and there will also be an opening concert on Sunday 2 July featuring TG4 Gradam Ceoil award winners that will be broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta. On 8 July, the Ceolchoirm Chuimhneacháin Muiris Ó Rócháin (Muiris Ó Rócháin Memorial Concert) will take place at the Community Centre from 7pm to 10pm and will be presented by Muireann Ní Dhuigneáin.
Céilís – featuring the Brian Ború, Kilfenora, Tulla, and Four Courts céilí bands, and the Abbey Trio – will take place nightly from 9.30pm to 1am at the Mill Marquee.
For full details on all events and to register, visit www.scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com.