The John McKenna Traditional Irish Music Festival takes place in Drumkeerin this weekend, June 4 -7.
The programme includes sessions, concert, competitions and workshops. There is also a night’s music and song in memory of Tom (TP) Mulligan, one of the foremost Leitrim musicians in the 1930s.
The festival begins on Thursday with a session of music in Arus Bride with young and old musicians in a very relaxed atmosphere.
On Friday there is a concert featuring Marcus Hernon and family. This family are steeped in the music of Connemara. Marcus is joined by his sons Proinsias and Brendan together with his nephew Labhras. The concert will also include a contribution from Rita Gallagher, from Donegal.
Saturday’s activities begin with workshops in flute with Catherine McEvoy, tin whistle with David Sheridan and sean nós singing hosted by Meatí Jo Sheamuis Ó Fatharta. Registration takes place in the community centre at 10am and the workshops take place from 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 1pm to 3pm.
The workshops are followed by the annual John McKenna tin whistle and flute competitions ranging from U-10 to U-18.
At 2pm there is a singing session in Davitt’s bar which will be hosted by Jackie Boyce and Jim Bainbridge with Rita Gallagher.
Later on in the afternoon at 5pm there will be a music session in a cottage setting at the community centre. All musicians and singers are welcome.
The final event on Saturday is attribute to the memory of Tom (TP) Mulligan. TP was born in 1915 in Bornacoola. He played fiddle and uileann pipes. He was one of the leading musicians in the 1930s and 1940s playing with such players as Leo Rowsome, Seamus Ennis and Tommy Reck. He has handed down a strong musical tradition to his family.
On Sunday morning Aifreann na Feile will remember John McKenna and deceased members of the John McKenna society together with the musicians who enriched all our lives who have passed on to their reward.
The ceremony will be followed by a wreath laying at the John McKenna monument and musical tribute to John McKenna.
The final event takes place in the community centre at 5pm on Sunday and features young people who attend music classes in Drumkeerin. These are the musicians who will carry the music into the next generation and should be encouraged at every opportunity.
Over the weekend there will be a series of sessions in the local hostelries featuring local and visiting musicians.
At the 2014 festival, the John McKenna Society launched a complete collection of John McKenna’s recordings. Copies of this CD will be for sale over the weekend.
More details are on www.johnmckenna.ie