All star line-up for Glenties fiddle concert

A concert on Saturday night featuring top fiddle-players from Norway, Scotland and Ireland is the centrepiece of celebrations to mark the 30th annual Glenties Fiddle Weekend, organised by Cairdeas na bhFidleiri.

A concert on Saturday night featuring top fiddle-players from Norway, Scotland and Ireland is the centrepiece of celebrations to mark the 30th annual Glenties Fiddle Weekend, organised by Cairdeas na bhFidleiri.

The concert in the Highlands Hotel features a leading player of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle, Ingebjor Sorboen, and the outstanding Scottish fiddler Paul Anderson, who played a private performance for the Queen last year.

Also on the bill are Clare-based Maeve Donnelly, regarded as one of the finest players of her generation, and a man who’s been described as the prince of Donegal-style fiddlers, Dermot McLaughlin from Derry.

Add in Donegal greats such as Glenties’ own Vincent Campbell and Danny Meehan, the superb duet playing of Derek McGinley and Tara Connaghan, and young guns Breffni and Iarfliath O’Donnell, and it’s a concert which will still be talked about in thirty years’ time!

Rab Cherry of Cairdeas said; “It’s hard to believe that it’s thirty years since we organised the first of these fiddle weekends in Glenties. But, looking back, a lot has been achieved in terms of Donegal fiddle playing, and we wanted to put on a special concert to reflect that.”

The concert starts at 9pm. Admission is 12 euro.

It’s one part of what promises to be a busy and enjoyable weekend in Glenties and environs.

Another special item on the programme is a talk about the fiddle player Simon Doherty, who lived in Fintown, a brother of Johnny and Mickey Doherty. He died 50 years ago. The talk starts at 12.30pm on Saturday. It’s followed by a look at how the reputation of Donegal fiddle playing has grown over the past thirty years.

Rab Cherry said; “There’s been a sea change really when you think about how Donegal music is regarded now compared to back in 1982. Then players from the county were fighting against a perception that this was some sort of second-class Scottish music, and Donegal players were rarely spoken about when great fiddle playing was being discussed. There was also a feeling within the county that the fiddle was on the way out.

“Now it’s so different. We have players from the tradition travelling all over the world and showcasing Donegal fiddle music, such as Altan and Fidil. We have Tommy Peoples reaching another milestone by becoming a member of the artists’ association Aosdana, and we have a crop of brilliant players, including many from the younger generation.

“Hopefully people will get a good taste of what that all means in Glenties at the weekend.”

A highlight of the fiddle weekend for regulars is the trip to the Mickey Doherty monument, on the back road between Glenties and Ballybofey, on the Saturday afternoon. That’s followed by a get-together and session in Glen Tavern nearby.

There are fiddle classes on Saturday and Sunday in the Highlands Hotel from 11.30am to 1pm.

As well as the organised events, the fiddle weekend is rightly known for its impromptu sessions in the hotel and other spots around town. It’s a chance to see some phenomenal talents, from Donegal, Ireland and far beyond, in an informal setting. The sessions kick off tomorrow evening and continue over the weekend.