Fiddlers from across Ireland and much further afield - there’s at least one from Russia - will be heading for Glen next weekend for the start of the 26th Annual Donegal Fiddle Summer School with Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí.
The school runs from Monday 1st August until Friday 5th and is now well-established as the best opportunity to listen to and learn Donegal fiddle music.
The teachers this year once again include some of the leading names in Donegal fiddle across the generations, and others who can be expected during the week include the likes of the Campbells from Glenties, Vincent, Peter and Jimmy, and Mountcharles native Danny Meehan.
Special guests include a leading player of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, Torkjel Lavoll, whose tours have included visits to Spitsbergen, Turkey, China and Uzbekistan. He plays as part of the regular Tuesday night concert during the Fiddle Week. It’s hoped that another hardanger player and dancer from Norway, Audun Sølvberg, will play on the Friday night.
The teachers, as usual, will also be in action in the many informal sessions in the three pubs in Glen over the week. This year they include two members of the group Fidil, Damien McGeehan from Ardara and Ciarán Ó Maonaigh from Gweedore, and highly-regarded locals from the parish such Derek McGinley, Mick Brown and John Byrne. From Kilcar come Stephen and Claire Gallagher, from Glenties Tara Connaghan, and there’s also Martin McGinley, Ronan Galvin and Brid Rafferty.
One of the organisers, Rab Cherry of Cairdeas, said; “It’s great to be looking forward to another week of top-class fiddle-playing and music and crack generally, and another opportunity to hand on one of the great traditions in folk music. Donegal fiddle playing is still in great shape and there’ll be plenty of evidence of that during the week.”
Public events during the week include a talk on Wednesday at 4.30pm to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Rosses fiddle player Néillidh Boyle, who died on 8th August, 1961. It’s a chance to hear of a fascinating character and to find out why he’s still regarded as one of the greatest fiddlers ever. Admission is free.
The first concert of the week is in the Folk Village on Tuesday 2nd August at 9pm, with Damien McGeehan, Michéal Cherry, Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, Brid Rafferty and Torkjel Lavoll. There’s an old-style dance on Thursday 4th to the music of Jimmy and Peter Campbell and friends. The Friday night concert in Halla Mhuire at 9pm features Martin McGinley, Derek McGinley, Tara Connaghan, Ronan Galvin and guests. Admission to each of these three events is €10.
Registration for the classes is on Monday 1st at the National school at 10 am. Fees for the week’s classes are €140 with reductions for children from Donegal and family reductions. Classes are held in the National school, Oideas Gael, and Halla Mhuire during the week.
Advance booking of a place in the school can be done until 28th July through the Cairdeas na bhFidiléiri website www.donegalfiddlemusic.ie with phone enquiries to Rab Cherry on 0863409019.
Dance classes are also a part of the students course and non fiddle school students can arrange to attend the dance classes on Thur in Halla Mhuire. Contact Cairdeas through the website before 28th July www.donegalfiddlemusic.ie or call Rab on 0863409019 until the 4th August.