Thursday, 15 December 2022
Letterkenny’s annual celebration of Irish traditional, folk and world music, Trad Week is excited to host two very special family groups in January.
The 2023 festival will be opened and closed by two families with firm roots in West Donegal and steeped in the Irish language and musical tradition.
Trad Week 2023 opens on Friday, 20th January, at 8pm in the Regional Cultural Centre with an exciting double header featuring a musical family with strong roots in Gaoth Dobhair - The legendary folk group, Na Casaidigh and rising star Sibéal Ní Chasaide, known mononymously as Sibéal, who has become a household name for her haunting melismatic sean-nós singing style.
Irish traditional group Na Casaidigh (The Cassidys) are renowned for their performances of classic Irish songs such as Bó na Leathadhairce, Báidín Fheilimí, Peigí Leitir Móir and Beidh Aonach Amárach.
The group, which consists of brothers Aongus, Seathrún, Ciarán, Fionntán, Feargus and Odhrán, has been based in Dublin for many years, but the family originally hails from Gaoth Dobhair.
The group has toured throughout the United States, including stops in New York at St Patrick’s Cathedral and Radio City Music Hall and have received welcomes at Philadelphia Folk Festival and Colorado Symphony Orchestra. In West Africa they appeared at a celebration held to mark the Lome Convention’s signing by the European Union.
Their first venture into the world’s spotlight came during a mid 80s visit to Ireland by US President, Ronald Reagan. The Irish government requested a performance from the brothers for a state banquet which was televised live from Dublin Castle. The brothers repeated the state honour about a decade later during US President Bill Clinton’s peace -promoting trip to their country.
Sibéal Ní Chasaide’s unique vocal qualities and singing style command attention wherever she appears and she has already achieved the recognition and admiration in her own country that would normally take many years to attain.
Her debut EP Live at Abbey Road was recorded in the iconic studio in London and brings together contemporary and traditional songs utilising the sean nos style. Her album Sibéal, released in August 2019, features a variety of songs sung both in Irish and English, with lush orchestrations by Irish composer/producer Patrick Cassidy and others bearing the stamp of the American composer/producer Craig Stuart Garfinkle.
The choice of tracks ranges from exquisite examples of the Irish tradition to outstanding songs from a more modern, international milieu.Sibéal’s has gone on to perform in London, New York, Toronto and Sydney, is a regular on national television and radio and works with the Irish government in showcasing Ireland’s culture to international visiting dignitaries.
In 2020 Sibéal recorded Dreams with Irish Women in Harmony which has raised substantial support for Safe Ireland and most recently, she was delighted to be invited to sing Stand for Hope for the animation movie Two By Two: Overboard which was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award.
Closing the festival on Saturday 28th January, 8pm will be Clann Mhic Ruairí making their headline show debut at An Grianán Theatre, supported by North Irish trio, TRÚ.
Clann Mhic Ruairí are an Irish folk/trad band. They are a family group, made up of siblings Tony (singer), Aodh (singer/guitar), Sean (singer), Dónall (singer/percussion) and Tony’s daughter Megan (piano and singer).
As a family they were raised on the Gaelic songs and stories of the ‘Rann na Feirste Gaeltacht’ in County Donegal, (Gaelic speaking area) in the North West corner of Ireland.
Hearing their music gives the listener an insight into this rich culture which they continue to preserve. This corner of Ireland is the birth place of internationally acclaimed artists who have moulded the Irish traditional music scene since the 1970s.
Clannad, Skara Brae, Altan, Manus and Dónall Lunny, to name but a few, have all blossomed in this area and Clann Mhic Ruairí have now taken up the torch in the hope of conserving and promoting this rich musical culture which lies at the core of their being.
Much of Clann Mhic Ruairí’s repertoire are songs which were composed and sung in their locality for hundreds of years.They perform these traditional songs with a contemporary, innovative and inspirational approach, retaining the traditional purity and integrity of the song.