As a contributor to Irish Music Magazine I am very fortunate to meet, greet and hear the very best of Irish traditional music and its musicians first hand. Nothing prepared me for how appreciative I would be of this over the past two years. Always a lover of the trad scene, I was however inclined to delve more into my rock devotion and somehow trad got lost in the background. I still enjoy my rock but in recent times, trad is definitely at the fore. Over the past 18 months I've had the great pleasure of interviewing the best traditional musicians worldwide. I've even had the honour of welcoming Hanz Araki and Colleen Raney to my home village of Muff, here in Donegal.
Last night I was privy to yet another breakthrough in traditional music. The Cup of Tae festival 2015 got underway today in Ardara, Co. Donegal. This festival is in honour of a renowned player John 'The Tae' Gallagher (generations of his family before him made 'teas' on Fair Days and other days of local importance), hence the name of the festival. The festival wishes to provide first class tuition on a number of instruments, starting with the fiddle and flute. Later it is hoped to incorporate more instruments, singing, dancing, recitation and storytelling. The folklore of each tune will be passed on as well as the tune.
Last night there was a session in The Céilí House Bar in preparation for the weekend ahead. I decided to make the 3 hour round trip for the said session. A reasonably new American trad group had just flown in from the US and were hosting the session last night.
River Drivers were in the house and for the two hours I was present, they were very much part of the said house!!! Musicians from England, Japan, joined locals, alongside River Drivers and a riveting session ensued.
Mindy, Marian, Kevin and Megan were right at home in this special little corner of Donegal, Ireland. Marian is fortunate to be the daughter of an Ardara native and has enticed her newly formed band to this haven. Mindy and her family were making their first visit to Ireland, and one would never have guessed. These folk were sensational in every way that Irish traditional musicians should be. They appeared right at home.
Their aptly named debut album 'River Driver's is out now and well worth a listen. More details of the said group and their music will feature in Irish Music Magazine very soon.
Cup of Tae Festival, and if you have any spare time, you really should pop along and see for yourself what an amazing group of musicians they really are. And there's lots more to experience and enjoy this weekend in Ardara.
A huge thank must surely go out to Aoife and Sean for their delightful welcome to myself and friend last night and here's wishing them both every success with their new venture at The Céilí House Bar, Ardara, Co. Donegal.