Expect a Bigger, Bolder Programme for Mike Kenny Weekend 2017

Abbeyfeale concertina player, Maura O'Connor receiving the Young Musician /Mike Kenny Memorial Cup from sponsor, Ted Kenny with adjudicators and musicians, Aidan Coffey (left) and Connie O'Connell at Browne's Bar on Saturday. Photograph: Courtesy of Browne's Bar
Abbeyfeale concertina player, Maura O’Connor receiving the Young Musician /Mike Kenny Memorial Cup from sponsor, Ted Kenny with adjudicators and musicians, Aidan Coffey (left) and Connie O’Connell at Browne’s Bar on Saturday. Photograph: Courtesy of Browne’s Bar

One of the earlies and surest signs of the success of a first-time event or festival must be that the organisers are talking about next year as the current one is just winding down.

And that is the plan with the Mike Kerry Arts and Music Weekend which enjoyed its initial airing to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the death of the Killarney Road artist.

That it did justice to his memory in a way he would have approved of is beyond doubt. It also made a great impression on people who just happened to be here.

The Friday night opening session involved an informal gathering in the function room at the back of Browne’s Bar.

Life and Times

There, a room full of people who knew the late Mr. Kenny on one level or another heard aspects of his life and times discussed.

Local poet for all reasons and seasons, Jimmy Cullinane recited a cradle to grave run-down on Mr. Kenny’s life and times. We also heard his voice on a segment of tape from an old Kingdom Céilí programme with Mary Conroy and Máire Begley-O’Shea.

The occasion was the promotional programme Radio Kerry used to do with the two ladies in advance of the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival. Mr. Kenny was at his happiest on that occasion and there was more laughter than speech in the course of the 15 minute or so slot.

Amala CD Launch

In the main bar in Browne’s Paul de Grae and Reidun Schleisinger were launching their CD with a circle of musical friends.

Saturday’s busking competition, which was pitched at various locations along Main Street, proved another winning ingredient in the overall offering of the two-day event.

The young musician competition, which was adjudicated upon by two of Mike Kenny’s favourite musicians and friends, Aidan Coffey and Connie O’Connell was won by concertina player Maura O’Connor.

Great Reception

Maura, from Abbeyfeale and Conor Daly from Rockchapel, on fiddle, have been playing together at events over the past few years and they got a great reception during their appearance in Scartaglin at one of the Handed Down nights there last November.

Expect a bigger, bolder programme of events for the Mike Kenny Art and Music Weekend in August 2017.

It has the wind at its back after this experiment and will flourish with ‘All Sails Aloft’ – as the man himself would say when things were going right for him.

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