A Different Kind of Patrick O’Keeffe Festival to Get Underway on Friday Evening

Sheila Heery advising us all to take the 2020 virtual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in and with the right spirits. A still from Elaine Prendiville’s festival promotion video.Click on the picture and Sheila will guide you through the events of the weekend.

The 28th Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival begins this Friday, October 23rd and will run right through to the following Monday the 26th.

While it was hoped to have a greatly reduced presence of musicians in town over the weekend, concerns over the spiraling Covid-19 rates brought its own pressures to bear and community concerns and common sense prevailed.

On A Strictly Virtual Basis

Now the weekend is to be run on a strictly virtual basis with none of the festival’s old friends arriving early on Friday evening and packing the pubs where laughter and music mingled as it has since the first festival in October 1993.

Digital media PRO, Conor O’Mahony has done an outstanding and sustained job of work on the festival Facebook page over the past couple of months in stitching this event together.

Most Uncertain Times Ever

And all in spite of the most uncertain times ever in the almost 30 year history of the event.

An amazing aspect of the 2020 festival is the uptake by traditional Irish music lovers throughout the world for the on-line classes being provided this year.

Conor reports huge levels of interest from places like South Korea and from the east coast of America.

All Bodes Well For the Future

It all bodes well for the future of the festival, of course, but for more certain times in the years ahead.

He also provided a rundown on what we can expect in terms of on-line entertainment over the coming weekend:

Eight stand-alone events will take place over the weekend, and these will be streamed on the Patrick O’Keeffe Youtube channel.

Cormac’s Welcome to Viewers

The festival opens at 7pm with chairperson Cormac O’Mahony welcoming all viewers to the festival.

A ‘virtual session’ will follow with contributions from Timmy Connors, Raymond O’Sullivan, Mick Culloty, Séan Abeyta , P.J. Teahan, Con Moynihan, Denis O’Connor, Billy O’Gorman and Marie O’Gorman.

At 8pm Nicky McAulife presents ‘The Tune, The Title, The History’ in conversation with Eoin Stan O’Sullivan.

Zoom Masterclasses Free of Charge

Saturday begins early with classes on fiddle, accordion, flute, concertina, banjo, uilleann pipes, guitar accompaniment and  traditional singing. All classes at this year’s festival will be held over Zoom, and will be free of charge.

To register please email patrickokeeffefestival@gmail.com with your name, instrument and level of playing.

Aidan Connolly will host a class on the repertoire of Paddy Cronin, and the other tutors will be Aoife Ní Chaoimh, Connie O’Connell,  Peter Browne, Danny O’Mahony , Paudie O’Connor, Brian Mooney, Oisin Morrison,  Eibhlín de Paor, Greta Curtin, Liam O’Brien, Nell Ní Chróinín and Pádraig O’Dubhghaill.

Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Concert

At 8pm on Saturday a Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Concert will take place, and this will be streamed on the festival’s Youtube channel.

The host will be Matt Cranitch and will feature contributions from Aoife Ní Chaoimh, Connie O’Connell, Emma O’Leary, Aidan Connolly, Máire Ní Chaoimh, Con Moynihan, Nicky McAuliffe, Donal Cullinane, Aine O’Connor and Diarmuid O’ Brien.

The late Paddy Jones was a fixture of the fiddle recital, and he will be remembered at the concert with some never before seen footage of Paddy by John Reidy.

Máire Ní Chaoimh Lecture

Máire Ní Chaoimh will present the intriguingly titled ‘Jazzing with Mag Leary’ at 3pm Saturday. This will consist of field recordings from Sliabh Luachra in the 90’s contributions from Willie and Paddy O’Connell speaking about learning from Patrick O’Keeffe. Other musicians who will feature include: Denis Buckley, Sonny Reardon, Dan, Ned and Maurice O’Keeffe, Peg Kelliher, Denis O’Keeffe and Paddy Jones.

Sliabh Luachra All Star Concert

The Sunday night concert is always the showpiece event of the festival weekend. It will take place at 8pm and will be streamed on the festival Youtube channel. A few weeks ago we believed it would be possible to hold this event live in the Ivy Leaf Arts Centre with up to 50 people present, and streamed live online.

Alas with tighter restrictions that idea has proved impossible.

Nevertheless a full concert will take place virtually with some of the biggest names in Sliabh Luachra. The concert will feature: Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch, Paudie O’Connor and Aoife Ní Chaoimh, Nell Ní Chróinín, Michael and Kiril Healy, Derek Hickey and Liam Flanagan, Danny O’Mahony, Gearoid Curtin, Darragh Curtin, Darragh Horan and Mickey MacConnell.

Poetry Evening

Eileen Sheehan will host an evening of poetry at 3pm on the Monday of the festival. She is a nationally renowned poet, originally from Scartaglen. Eileen has read at festivals in Ireland and abroad including The Shanghai Literary Festival; the ACIS Conference in Davenport, Iowa; Writers’ Week Listowel and The Cork International Poetry Festival. She will lead what promises to be a fascinating evening of reflection and poetry reading. This event will be streamed on our Youtube channel.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

At 6pm on Monday Peter Browne will bring the festival to a close by taking us on a trip down memory lane.

Peter will go through the past winners of the ‘Dedication to the Music of Sliabh Luachra’ Award. Past winners include Paddy Cronin, Johnny O’Leary, Denis McMahon, Mikey Duggan, Jackie Daly to name but a few.

Youtube link to all events will be posted on the festival’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page.

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on…Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: jreidy@mainevalleypost.com

Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.