John McKenna Festival weekend

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The 19th annual John McKenna festival takes place this week in Drumkeeran June 5-8 with a programme of events including competitions, concert, workshops and a ceili.

The 19th annual John McKenna festival takes place this week in Drumkeeran June 5-8 with a programme of events including competitions, concert, workshops and a ceili.

The stand out event of the weekend is the launch of a double CD of the complete recordings made by John McKenna in Drumkeeran’s community centre on Saturday, June 8 at 8.30pm. This collection is complimented by the production of a book detailing the music and life of John McKenna.

The festival begins on Thursday with an evening of music especially for the residents of Aras Bride. On Friday night there will be a concert featuring Eileen O’Brien, Geraldine Cotter and Martin Connolly at 9pm. These musicians played here in 2013 and proved very enjoyable. Based in Tipperary and Clare this trio of musicians are some of the finest exponents of Irish traditional.

Registration for workshops at 10am in the community centre on Saturday. There are workshops in accordion, Martin Connolly, fiddle, Eileen O’Brien, tin whistle, Geraldine Cotter, Flute, Catherine McEvoy, Set dancing, Fiona and Colm O’Brien Sean nos singing, Meaiti Jo Sheamuis. The annual John McKenna flute and tin whistle competitions will be in the community centre at 3pm with flute competitions for U12, 14 &18 and tin whistle competitions at U10, 12,14 &18. Singing Session that night in Forde’s Inn hosted by Jim Baimbridge and Jackie Boyce. At 5pm there is a session of music held in the cottage hosted by Michael O’Brien.

John McKenna’s legacy of recordings made him undoubtedly one of the most influential flute players ever in Irish traditional music. For this release Saturday night at 8.30pm, his music has been meticulously remastered to state of the art standards by Harry Bradshaw. It includes his corpus of 44 commercial recordings some of them extremely rare, as well as a substantial book containing an extensive biography and an analysis of his music style and legacy together with music transcription of his tunes.

On Sunday morning Aifreann na Feile remembers John McKenna and all other musicians who have passed on, at 5pm the annual door dancing competition gets underway at Rooney’s Corner. The final event of the weekend is a sets ceili with music provided by Damien O’Brien, Oliver Loughlin and Kevin Brehony. More info: 086 8569900.