Drawing from the Well concert at NCH

On Sunday 12 March, some of the country’s leading traditional performers took over the stage of the National Concert Hall in Dublin for the third instalment in ITMA’s Drawing from the Well concert series.

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Friends and family of Séamus Ó Beaglaoich danced a West Kerry set in his honour at the Drawing from the Well concert in National Concert Hall. Photo: Des Gallagher

Devised by ITMA and presented in association with the National Concert Hall, the Drawing from the Well concert saw artists draw inspiration from the great collections of Irish music housed at ITMA to bring together a variety of compelling stories told through music, dance, song and poetry.

ITMA Director Liam O’Connor said:

“It filled me with a great sense of pride to see 12 of the top traditional acts in the country, alongside several more outstanding accompanists, take to the national stage and perform the highest calibre of music, song and dance. On the 12th of March, the Saothar, Saoithe and Drawing from the Well projects of these artists came to a fitting conclusion in front of an appreciative audience at the NCH. It has been truly rewarding to see these artists engage with the rich material of the archive, create new works of art, and share their experience and talents with the public.

I’d like to thank all the artists for their outstanding contributions, ITMA staff for all their hard work, our sponsors who make these events possible, our board for their continued support and the NCH for their partnership and co-operation.”

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Fiddler Frankie Gavin on stage at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, accompanied by Catherine McHugh on piano.. Photo: Des Gallagher

Twelve different acts took the stage on the 12th, including virtuoso fiddle player Frankie Gavin, celebrated uilleann piper Pádraic Keane, renowned traditional flute player Catherine McEvoy, acclaimed accordion player Derek Hickey, well-known East Galway fiddle players Liz and Yvonne Kane, the great traditional flute player from Cúil Aodha Conal Ó Grada and legendary composer Charlie Lennon (fiddle). Also performing on the night were wonderful singers and instrumentalists Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh (songs, flute) and Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich (accordion, songs), along with contemporary and sean-nós dancer Sibéal Davitt. The evening’s programme was presented through poetry and music by RTÉ Radio 1’s Rolling Wave presenter Aoife Nic Cormaic (fiddle) and poet Cian Ferriter.

Over the 12 months leading up to the concert, all of the night’s performers actively connected with the archives through the Drawing from the Well programme, through Drawing from the Well documentaries, the Saoithe series celebrating great traditional artists and the Saothar initiative, platforming new compositions from contemporary musicians.

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Dancer Sibéal Davitt, accompanied by Liam O'Connor on fiddle and Cormac Begley on concertina. Photo: Des Gallagher

Throughout the night, artists paid tribute to the late Séamus Ó Beaglaoich, the renowned West Kerry singer and accordion player whose death marked a massive loss to the Irish traditional music community. Concluding proceedings, the friends and family of Séamus Ó Beaglaoich danced a West Kerry set in his honour, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.

The third concert in the Drawing from the Well series was made possible thanks to support by RTÉ Supporting the Arts, The Arts Council of Ireland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Office of Public Works.