Wednesday 20 January 2016

'Ireland 2016 - The Chieftains' commemorating the Easter Rising @ Celtic Connections 2016

Breath of Magic! Exhilarating! ..telling the dark days of fighting to the joy of freedom..
This fun night was to celebrate the Centenary of the Easter Rising 1916.
The concert began softly and poignantly with the fiddle of former Dubliner John Sheahan and the deep vocals of Declan O'Rourke and songs of the heroes of the Easter Rising.

We might have been fooled into thinking this would be a serious night - even while the warm firelights flickered up and down at the side of the stage. Upstairs the galleries were packed out and the stage was set for a much bigger gathering of musicians.

The main event was up next when the Irish legends The Chieftains took to the stage to play their reels and jigs and to take the energy up a notch with those tap-dancing rhythms.

Alyth McCormack read the Roisin Dubh over Maloney's whistle and then she sang impressive in Gaelic, music of the mouth, the Foggy dew into Poirt A Beul, when we were also treated to some Irish dancing by Canadian fiddler John Polanski and his brother.  

Next to sing was Karen Casey how sang The Mountains of Pomeroy - when she remarked 'Freedoms do not fall from the sky, they have to be fought for. To fight against Inequality and child poverty.'  Kris Kristofferson, with his shock  of silver hair, looked slightly bemused with the proceedings and he sang with his honey-toned deep vocals, Help me Make it Through the night and Bobbie McGee.

The second half was s celebration joy-filled party. A half orchestra was conducted by Robert Maxwell (my son played with him years back on a wonderful trip to Gozo). Scots singer Eddi Reader sang Light Over the Horizon and spoke of the Scottish connection to the Easter Rising, such as James Connolly.

The Glasgow Gaelic Choir performed Shenandoah and the Long Journey Home. To express those Celtic connections the Chieftains and orchestra played the Galician Overture with Moloney's uilleann pipes over the Spanish acoustic guitar. Several well known Scottish piers joined in for the March to Battle.
This was followed by an exuberant finale with also performances and was greeted with a rapturous standing ovation! A rip-roaring night of fun!   

Perhaps Ireland is just glad to have their freedoms - to be socially free and equal. The Easter Uprising of 1916, the concert was preceded by the launch of Luath Press’s thought-provoking essay collection, Scotland And The Easter Rising.  Irish Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, director-general of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, recently observed - "Our cultural identity was central to the aspirations and motivation of 1916", as embodied by the presence of several poets among the rebels, and the simultaneous artistic ferment, encompassing song, literature, theatre and journalism, which fuelled the nationalist cause."  Irish culture has increasingly flourished over the ensuing century
The Chieftains are a traditional Irish band form Dublin that consist of Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy.