THE fifth Drimoleague Singing Festival returns from September 22nd to the 25th with a stellar line-up of some of the best national and international singers.
The closing concert on Sunday 25th will feature the powerful Gospel singing of The Legendary Ingramettes. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, USA they were awarded the 2022 National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honour that the United States bestows upon traditional artists.
They’ll perform in a striking double bill with Cork’s own Jack O’Rourke who is riding the crest of a wave following the release of his lockdown album Wild Place.
Elsewhere in the festival programme there are the richest of pickings to be had from concerts with Clare Sands and Cathy Jordan, Daoirí Farrell, Limerick rap sensation Strange Boy, Eleanor Shanley and John Feeley and on Sunday afternoon in the Pod Páirc at the Top of the Rock, the harmonies of Pauline Scanlon and Éilís Kennedy who go by the name of Lumiere. Tickets are already flying out the door for Saturday night at St Matthew’s church with the combined forces of Rónán Ó Snodaigh and Myles O’Reilly playing selections from last year’s standout album Tá Go Maith and the exciting new pairing of concertina virtuoso Cormac Begley and long-time friend of the festival Lisa O’Neill.
The festival opens with the climax of the pub-singing competition on Thursday 22nd in the Drimoleague Inn and throughout the weekend there are open singing sessions with the likes of George Murphy and Con ‘Fada’ Ó Drisceoil leading proceedings where all are invited to participate and listen. Free events include ‘Songs of the Gaelic Harpers’, a marvellous collaboration between Donegal singer Doiminic MacGiolla Bhríde and harpist Siobhán Armstrong with ‘lost’ songs of O Carolan and his contemporaries being performed for the first time in hundreds of years.
On Thursday Sharon Whooley and Tess Leak from the ‘Museum of Song’ from last year’s festival return with a song sharing project involving the West Cork Ukranian community.
The big event on Saturday is a celebration of the songs of Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Cronin as showcased by her grandson Dáibhí Ó Cróinín in his recently published The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, Irish Traditional Singer. In a session hosted by Professor Tríona Ní Shíocháin, the singing is provided by a mix of exceptional singers from the area: Maire Ní Chéileachair, Danny Maidhcí Ó Súilleabháin, and three of Bess’s granddaughters, Eilís Úi Thuama, and her sisters Josie Ní Chuilleannáin and Maighréad Uí Uidhir.
This will be a morning of exceptional entertainment from the heart of the Múscraí Gaeltacht.
There are choir workshops for local primary school children, and singing workshops on Saturday and Sunday morning with singer in residence Cathy Jordan and Máire Ní Chéileachair respectively. There is something for everyone in Drimoleague this Singing Festival weekend. Tickets are on sale in Collins Centra Drimoleague and the Drimoleague Pharmacy.
See drimoleaguesingingfestival.ie for more information and bookings.