The Friends of Sliabh Luachra group has had a fine and informative Facebook page going for some time now. It was a Dutchman, Martin Van Hensbergen – who mentioned Patrick O’Keeffe in a post and brought the following link to light.
Another fine example of bringing it all back home – if you like.
Martin and his partner, Caroline Vermeulen are regular visitors to the annual Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival in Castleisland and, more recently, great fans of the innovative Handed Down series of lectures and concerts in Scartaglin brought to being by PJ Teahan and Mick Culloty.
A click on the link will deliver you right into one of the most knowledgeable insights into the culture, mindset, music and spirituality of the once highly definable area we know as Sliabh Luachra.
This body of information is delivered here by the infallible Paddy Jones.
Paddy is widely regarded as one of the last surviving pupils of Patrick O’Keeffe and a most reliable ringside witness to provide the bow-by-bow account of the music and its history included in this clip.
The account includes extensive notes on the lecture on everything anyone wished to know and understand about an area and its people so imbued with the spirituality gifted by the love of music and poetry.
The late Dónal Ó Siodhacháin’s words written in 1983 are still relevant today:
“There is a current widespread interest in anything to do with Sliabh Luachra thanks to the awareness created by our music. This can certainly be enjoyed by all listeners, but in any discussion of its contents there is something there that cannot be identified.
Music cannot be taken in isolation from a culture. True ethnic or regional music distills the essence of a people, past and present. It is the sum of their laughter, their tears, their joys and their despairs. It is their statement of self, their resolution, their pride. It is their collective soul laid bare.
In this respect, Sliabh Luachra music has a definite ‘presence’, a sense of people and time and place.
Taken just as music, it can never be understood, but taken in context, as a facet of the total culture and experience of the area, then a new perspective appears,” – Dónal Ó Siodhacháin 1983.
“The idea for these talks came originally from musician Tim Browne, and poet Donal Ó Siodhacháin (R.I.P.). A committee was set up, however for various reasons the idea was put on hold. In 2014, Patricia Herron Ó Siodhacháin tried to revive the idea for the talks. With thanks to the enthusiasm and encouragement from the locals, Sliabh Luachra Lectures was finally initiated.
Patricia’s own house, The Poet’s House, Teach an Fhile, was chosen as the venue as it had large reception rooms and a homely welcoming atmosphere.
“Perhaps because I was conscious of how short our time on this earth is, and perhaps because our culture is so precious and deserves to be preserved, I decided to videotape the lectures and to upload them onto a website as an archive of the culture of this area. The website hosts videos and transcripts of each lecture. I feel this was well worth doing, as the content and quality of the lectures deserve an audience around the world,” – Patricia Herron Ó Siodhacháin
Incidentally: The 2015 Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival will be held from Friday, October 23rd to Monday 26th.
The Handed Down programme of monthly lectures and concerts will kick off on Saturday night, October 10th from 8pm to 10-30pm.
Now, fill yourself a glass of something good and click on the link here: http://sliabhluachralectures.weebly.com/traditional-music.html