Top names in fiddle playing in Donegal and beyond will once again feature at the annual Donegal Fiddle Summer School in Glencolumbille, which starts on Monday week 30th July. The week-long school attracts fiddle players and enthusiasts from around the world.
Highlights this year include concerts featuring the likes of Danny Meehan, Vincent Campbell and Aidan O’Donnell; an exhibition of photographs from the national folklore archives; and a talk on the fiddler John ‘The Tae’ Gallagher from Ardara, who passed away in January.
One of the visiting players this year is Perrine Bourel, a fiddler and dancer from the southern Alps area of Provence. She’ll be teaching French tunes and dances, as well as learning some Donegal music.
Rab Cherry, of the organisers Cairdeas na bhFidiléirí, said they’re expecting another memorable week.
“This the 27th annual fiddle week and it’s very much part of the summer scene in traditional music in Ireland,” he said. “We’ll have students from across the globe, including the US, Russia, the Netherlands, France, Germany and many more places. But we’re very keen to encourage people from Donegal and the North West to attend the school.”
Registration for the school is at the National School in Glencolmcille on Mon 30th July at 10.00 am. The classes are taught by some of the leading players in the Donegal tradition and cater for all levels, from absolute beginners through to advanced. Classes are 10am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4 pm.
The fee is €140 for the week and there are reductions for children from Donegal and for children from the same family. Places on the fiddle school can be booked in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org which is also the e-mail for enquiries until Fri 27th July. After that phone 086 3409019.
The exhibition of photographs, ‘Captured in song and music’, will be officially opened at Oideas Gael in Glencolumbkille on Monday 30th July at 4.30pm. It features the work of the late Tom Munnelly, a collector of song and music for University College Dublin, who was a regular visitor to fiddle week.
The selection has been put together by the fiddler Rónán Galvin, who will give a talk on Tom and his work to launch the show. All are welcome.
Tuesday night brings the first concert, featuring Danny Meehan, Martin McGinley and others at the Folk Village at 9pm. Admission to concerts is €10 with reductions for children. Danny, a Mountcharles legend now living in Laghey, was recently given the Lifetime Achievement award at the TG4 Gradam Ceol awards in Limerick.
John ‘The Tae’ Gallagher is remembered in the talk by Derek McGinley at Oideas Gael on Wednesday 1st August at 4.30pm. All welcome. John, born in West End, Ardara, in 1923, went on to win both the Oireachtas and All-Ireland senior fiddle titles in the late fifties. The popular ‘Cup of Tae’ music festival in Ardara is named after him.
Dancing is another feature of Fiddle Week, and there are dancing classes for fiddle students during the day on Thursday 2nd August. Anyone else interested can attend by arrangement. That’s all in the lead up to a dance that night in Halla Mhuire at 9pm.
The big Friday night concert in Halla Mhuire from 9pm will feature Vincent Campbell, Aidan O’Donnell and many more.
It will mark the end of another fiddle week, although the last informal sessions on the Friday night are expected to go on a bit longer!