Ceardlann Earraigh 2016

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Ceardlann Earraigh, Celbridge, Co Kildare, will for the 18th consecutive year, provide students and followers of traditional Irish Music with the best of tuition and performance in music and song. This year’s event, under the auspices of the Kildare County Board of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, takes place on March 19th, with a lineup that can only whet the appetite of all.  No doubt but that many of the jewels of the Irish Music scene have been assembled for Ceardlann 2016, musicians at the top of their game who are constantly in demand. 

Tutors at Ceardlann Earraigh 2016 include Johnny Óg Connolly (accordion), Edel Fox (concertina), Neill Byrne and Declan Folan (fiddle), Conal Ó Gráda (flute), Angelina Carberry (Banjo), Micheál Ó hAlmhain (Tin Whistle), Junior Davey (Bodhrán), Matt Griffin (Guitar Accompaniment) and Elle Marie O Dwyer (Ámhránaíocht Gaeilge agus Béarla).

The Tutors


Edel Fox is one of Ireland’s foremost concertina players. She has travelled extensively as both a teacher and performer, appearing at some of the most renowned and prestigious festivals nationally and internationally in Europe, America, Canada, and Asia. Her solo CD  ‘Chords and Beryls’ was released to critical acclaim in 2010. Edel has appeared on numerous television and radio programmes on RTÉ, TG4 and on BBC. She has also presented the popular, music programme ‘Geantraí’ and she self directed and produced her own programme ‘Croch Suas É’ both on TG4. We are delighted to have Edel on board this year as we are to have fiddler Neill Byrne. Neill, from Waterford, is widely recognised as one of the most accomplished exponents of the fiddle around. He too, like Edel, has widely travelled both as a musician and teacher. Together, Neill and Edel have produced the celebrated CD ‘The Sunny Banks’. Their performance in the Ceardlann Grand Concert is awaited with much anticipation.


Conal Ó Gráda, from Cúl Aodh in Cork, is making his first apperarance at Ceardlann. He has long been at the forefront of traditional Irish flute-playing and truly has one of its most distinctive sounds. A multiple All Ireland winner in his youth, Conal’s debut recording ‘The Top of Coom’ is still regarded as a seminal recording of flute-playing. His fast, rhythmically precise playing has an earthy raucous tone and is driven by a spirit from the true heart of traditional music. His second solo recording ’Cnoc Buí’ was released in 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. Conal is a much sought after tutor both at home and abroad. He is also a profilic composer of unusually titled tunes and pupils attending his class will surely get a mix of the old and the new from Conal.


Mícheál Ó hAlmhain will be tutoring tin whistle at Ceardlann 2016. Micheál, although a Dub by birth, has lived on the Aran Island of Inis Oirr for many years. He is an expert player and teacher of many instruments and is a fountain of traditional and cultural knowledge. Mícheál is the founding member of the famed, annual Bodhrán festival ‘Craiceann’. He has played with many of the ‘greats’ of traditional music and was a member of the renowned Ceoltóirí Laighin group. Micheál will be honoured as Árd Ollamh at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis this year. Students at Ceardlann will greatly benefit from the expertise of this true traditional master.


Johnny Óg Connolly form Connemara is a virtuoso of the two row button accordion and melodeon. This is Johnny’s first visit to Ceardlann. He, like all the other tutors, is widely travelled and toured with the show ‘Lord of the Dance’ for many years. Johnny has composed many new tunes and his compositions have featured on recordings by his father Johnny as well as the duo of Michael Rooney and June McCormack. He has featured on many CDs and his solo CD ‘Aisling Yoshua’ is highly regarded.


Returning to tutor at Ceardlann after a break is the incomparable Angelina Carberry. From a family in Longford steeped in the tradition,  Angelina has few peers on her chosen instrument. She has many fantastic albums to her name, including her solo CD ‘An Traidisiún Beo’. Angelina has taught at most of the big music festivals at home and abroad including Scoil Éigse at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. One’s banjo skills can only be improved after a few hours with Angelina. 


Bodhrán genius Junior Davey is welcomed to ‘Ceardlann’ again this year. Junior is seen by many to be the leading bodhrán player of his generation and a listen to his CD ‘Skin and Bow’, a duet with Declan Folan, substantiates this view. There’s always high demand for places in Junior’s classes so early booking is advised to avoid disappointment.


Declan Folan is regarded as one of the finest exponents of the ‘Sligo fiddle style’ and his album 'Skin and Bow' with the aforementioned Junior Davey is a classic. Declan has featured on many traditional recordings and has toured extensively in the UK and Germany. His rhythmic Sligo style has gained him wide acclaim as a concert artiste and session musician. He tutors at many of the prestigious summer schools throughout the country annually including Tubbercurry, The Joe Mooney Summer School, Drumshanbo and Scoil Éigse.


Matt Griffin, originally from London but now residing permanently in Dingle, Co Kerry, will tutor guitar. Matt’s style is both innovative and original and his feel for traditional music is clear in the ‘heart pulling’ and enhancing chords heard in his accompaniment. He has recorded and performed with a huge array of artistes including Séamus Begley, Micheál Ó Suilleabháin and the famed Chieftains. After a session in Matt’s company you’ll be playing the guitar like never before!


Elle Marie O Dwyer from Freemount in Co. Cork will tutor singing at Ceardlann for the first time. She is a most accomplished traditional singer in both Irish and English and has won many awards including that of Senior All Ireland Traditional English Singing Champion in 2011. She has toured extensively with the Comhaltas touring groups and recorded her debut solo CD ‘Where the Allow Waters Flow’ to critical acclaim. If you would like to broaden your singing portfolio and perhaps charm the birds from the trees a day with Elle Marie should set you in the right direction! 

Timetable of Events

The day at Ceardlann Earraigh begins at 11am when students are graded and formal tuition starts at 11.30am. Lunch, provided free of charge, is at 2pm where lorry loads of sandwiches and brack, freshly made by the many volunteers, await all students. Classes resume at 2.30pm and continue to 4.30pm.

Later that evening, at 8pm, a Grand Concert featuring all the tutors takes  place in ‘The Glenroyal Hotel’, Maynooth and who wouldn’t want to attend it when one looks at the aforementioned artistes! All junior partcipants in the classes are admitted free of charge.

Beidh fáilte is fiche roimh gach éinne ag Ceardlann 2016. The committee looks forward to welcoming old and new friends again this year to what has become a constant in the calendar of traditional music festivals.

Ceardlann Earraigh, March 19th 2016, Celbridge, Co Kildare. Bígí linn!!