Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival

Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival

The twenty-fifth edition of the festival takes place in Conamara over the weekend of 29 April to 1 May 2011.

The twenty-fifth Joe Heaney Commemorative Festival (Féile Chomórtha Joe Éinniú) takes place in Carna, Conamara, County Galway, over the weekend of 29 April to 1 May 2011. The festival is in memory of the sean nós singer (right) who was born in the area in 1919, and who died in Seattle in 1984. The events focus on sean nós singing, but singing in languages other than Irish as well as instrumental music and dance also feature.

The official opening of this year’s festival takes place at Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim on Friday, 29 April at 7.30pm – an exhibition of photographs will also be held at this venue. The festival will also see the launch of two new books, Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song-Man by Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire and Dr. Sean Williams, and An Chearc Fhraoigh, which contains the compositions of local flute player and flute maker Marcus Hernon. The Kerry accordion player Danny O’Mahony will also launch a new album at the festival.

Two Norwegian musicians – the Hardanger fiddle player Torgeir Straand and the traditional singer Arnfinn Staurheim – will play at the festival, as well as give a presentation on the Hardanger fiddle and Norwegian traditional music. At the heart of the festival is a concert, featuring a total of eighteen musicians, taking place at the Óstán Chuan Carna (Carna Bay Hotel) on Saturday, 30 April at 7.30pm. The following morning, a mass will be held in memory of Joe Heaney, followed by a visit to his grave (after his death in the United States, Heaney’s body was transported to Ireland and buried in Carna).

For more on Joe Heaney, read Angela Bourke’s article ‘Singing at the Centre of a Life’.

Published on 28 April 2011

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