North Atlantic Fiddle Convention to Take Place This Week

Eadaoin Ní Mhaicin, Ciara O’Brien, Sorcha Costello and Frankie Gavin (Photo: Anita McGarry).

North Atlantic Fiddle Convention to Take Place This Week

Frankie Gavin and the Provenance, Donal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Rhiannon Giddens, The Unthanks and John Carty to feature in the annual conference.

This year’s North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCO) starts tomorrow (23 June) and will run until Saturday (26 June) with a fully online programme of concerts, workshops and conference events. The convention, which was founded in 2011, focuses on the traditions of fiddle music and dance from countries and communities around the North Atlantic. 

The first event of the convention will be a lunchtime concert tomorrow at 1pm featuring Tadhg Ó Meachair on piano and piano accordion, fiddle-player Joanna Hyde and guitarist Dave Curley. American folk musician Rhiannon Giddens will perform tomorrow evening at 8pm with English folk group The Unthanks. On Thursday (24 June), the lunchtime concert will feature fiddle-player Tara Breen, button accordionist Derek Hickey, singer-songwriter Róisín Ní Ghallóglaigh and dancer and harp and whistle player Ciara Callanan-Ryan. Later in the day, there will be a concert dedicated to fiddle player and teacher Brendan Mulkere featuring John Carty, Matt Griffin, and Claire and Sinéad Egan. 

Also performing as part of NAFCO are Aisling Lyons on harp and concertina, Alan Reid on banjo and bouzouki, flute player Niall Keegan and singer Sandra Joyce (25 June). Canadian fiddle group Portage will perform during the event’s Gala Fiddle Night on 25 June with fiddle players Sophie Lavoie and Troy MacGillivray, as well as Paddy Glackin and Donal Lunny. The closing concert of NAFCO will take place at 8pm on Saturday (26 June) and will feature a performance by Frankie Gavin and the Provenance – an ensemble with fiddle players Eadaoin  Mhaicin, Ciara O’Brien and Sorcha Costello.

All concerts are free to view and will stream from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance YouTube channel

Talks, workshops and conference
A number of talk events will also take place as part of NAFCO, including a discussion with John Carty and Claire Egan on Brendan Mulkere’s influence on Irish fiddle music (24 June). On Friday, Paddy Glackin and Donal Lunny will talk with broadcaster and musician Carl Corcoran about their lives in music and on Saturday, Frankie Gavin will speak with singer Sandra Joyce about his career to date. 

The NAFCO programme will also feature a series of workshops on topics including phrasing and variation in Irish traditional fiddle playing (23 June), indigenous fiddle in Manitoba, Canada (24 June), Quebec fiddle playing (25 June), and dance music of Newfoundland and Labrador (26 June). All workshops are ticketed and can be booked on the event’s website.  

The academic conference strand of NAFCO will run for the duration of the event and features a programme of sessions on gender in fiddle playing, the traditional music of Southwest Donegal, multi-genre music in the Irish traditional music space, Scottish traditions, and more. All conference events are free to attend. 

This year’s North Atlantic Fiddle Convention is hosted by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick in partnership with Limerick City and County Council, Creative Ireland and the Blas International Summer School. 

For further information, visit:

Published on 22 June 2021

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