‘I hope it will help to reawaken some of the subversive spirit… in Irish traditional music’
As part of its 2019/20 season, the National Concert Hall has announced the first line-up of artists for the Tradition Now festival.
Taking place on 5–6 October, the event opens with an evening curated by Geoff Travis of Rough Trade Records that features Scottish small-piper Brìghde Chaimbeul, Ye Vagabonds and Lisa O’Neill, all of whom have recently released recordings on the label’s new folk imprint, River Lea Records. Chaimbeul will be joined by Lau fiddle-player Aidan O’Rourke who produced her recent album, The Reeling.
Jazz and traditional
The festival, which focusses on new developments in traditional music, will also feature a jazz-meets-traditional music project led by Sam Amidon with artists such as multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Jeremy Gustin.
Niall Vallely, who recently premiered his concerto for Irish concertina, has a new project titled ‘Sounds Like Freedom’, a collaboration with the US jazz band Harriet Tubman, singer Karan Casey, Aidan O’Rourke and harper Una Monaghan. It will be performed in Kilkenny in August and on 6 October at the NCH.
Sounds Like Freedom came about through a meeting between Vallely and Harriet Tubman’s guitarist Brandon Ross in 2017. Commenting on the project, Vallely said:
When I heard Brandon’s band Harriet Tubman’s fiery politically charged music I thought this could combine well with a long-cherished project that I had been contemplating … a musical celebration of the connections between the civil rights movements in Ireland and the US.
‘The music in this collaboration,’ he adds, will draw on both those traditions and I hope it will help to reawaken some of the subversive spirit inherent in Irish traditional music.’
The Tradition Now festival is in its fifth year and is a partnership between the NCH and the Arts Council. Read our review of Iarla Ó Lionáird’s concert at last year’s festival.
Damon Albarn, Joyce DiDonato and Philip Glass
The NCH has also announced 14 concerts as part of its International Concert Series, including Joyce DiDonato singing Baroque arias, Yuja Wang performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3, tenor Joseph Calleja and Claudia Boyle with the RTÉ NSO at Christmas, the Bach Collegium from Japan, and British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performing Ravel’s Concerto in G with the Hallé orchestra under Sir Mark Elder in June 2020.
There will also be a residency throughout 2019 and 2020 by Barry Douglas’ chamber orchestra Camerata Ireland, which celebrates its twentieth year. On the weekend of 26–27 October, Philip Glass will be in Dublin to perform his Music in 12 Parts and Koyaanisqatsi. In May 2020, Damon Albarn will present a new audio-visual work inspired by his time in Iceland, The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows.
Chamber music and learning
The Chamber Music Series will feature an ‘Irish Language Art Song Project’ with fifty new songs in the Irish language commissioned from twelve Irish and five international composers. There will also be a performance from Bernadette Greevy award winner Sinéad O’Kelly (who features in Irish National Opera’s upcoming season), and the Sounding the Feminists series of concerts.
The Family, Learning and Participation programme will include the SinfoNua orchestra for emerging musicians with David Brophy, a Family Day with the RTÉ NSO, the Female Conductor Programme with Alice Farnham and an International Education Series of masterclasses and workshops.
For full details on all events, visit www.nch.ie, or download the brochure below