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Comment - No 13

Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann

Enniscorthy, Co Wexford - 27th / 29th August 1999

Held on the last weekend of August annually, taking in 2-3 days either side of the weekend, with 130,000 - 150,000 visitors expected.

Contact: Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, Fleadh Office, Templeshannon, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
Phone: 054-37950  Fax 054-36499  e-mail: fleadh@tinet.ie


A celebration of the English roots tradition - Fri 24 / Sun 26 Sept 1999 - London's Barbican Centre

With English Originals, the Barbican Centre continues its exploration of global culture with a three day festival devoted to a 'world music' found much closer to home.  For a country renowned for exploring and assimilating the musical traditions of other cultures, it is ironic that the English have neglected their own.  While the resurgence of Irish, Scots and Welsh identity is re-inforced by living, breathing folk traditions, the notion of what defines Englishness remains much more elusive.  Long derided by many as irrelevant, 'English Folk' has been reclaimed and rebranded by a generation as at home with Beth Orton as they are with The Prodigy.  Although this festival does not attempt to define English traditional music, or indeed Englishness, it does present an eccentric array of singular artists who all draw from the deep well of the English roots tradition.

( ... or so it says in the Press Release, though the guest list includes several non- Anglos and precious few with much of a connection with English traditional music)

Guest performers include: Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Billy Bragg, Eliza Carthy, Bert Jansch, Eddi Reader, Beth Orton, Bernard Butler, Ben & Jason, June Tabor, Boo Hewerdine, Chris Wood & Andy Cutting, Edward II, Equation, Flook!, Martin Stephenson, The Men They Couldn't Hang, Spiro, Tarras, 6 Foot 3, Roy Bailey, Christine Collister, Hugh Cornwell, Dick Gaughan, John Jones and members of The Oysterband, Tom Robinson, Martin Simpson, Tim Van Eyken, Boris Grebenshikov, Robyn Hitchcock, Nigel Kennedy and Nick Laird-Clowes.

Further info from:

Gill Keeble - GKEEBLE@barbican.org.uk
Box Office - 0171 638 8891 9am-8pm daily (Bkg fee)

Québec's International Festival of Traditional Arts

October 7th to 11th 1999  84 Dalhousie Street, Québec Old Port, Québec City, Canada

... more than 100 artists from Québec and Louisiana in more than 50 activities

Performers / Instructors / Tellers:

From Louisiana: Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys; Lynn August zydeco group; Mardi gras delegation from Basile; film director Glenn Pitre; Barry Ancelet; and more!

From Québec: Les Batinses; La Volée D'Castor; Josephine, Tess; Grouyan Gumbo; André Gladu, and many more!

Workshops: Dance ( cajun and zydeco); musical instruments (accordion, guitar, fiddle, etc ...); crafts; making of masks and costumes.

Admission / Cost : Workshops: free to $4 Can. / Concerts: $8 to $16

Facilities: Lodging Infos Number: 1-800-665-1598 (ext.25) Campsite only for trailers or campers (October too cold for tents)

For more information, contact:

Chantale Coulombe, Centre de Valorisation du Patrimoine Vivant, 310 Langelier Blv, Box 241 QC, Québec, Canada, G1K 5N3.
Phone: (418) 647-1598  Fax: (418) 647-4439.
E-Mail: cvpv@videotron.ca  Web Address : http://pages.infini.net/cvpv/fiat

Obituary for Paddy Malynn

Paddy Malynn died in London on 19 April 1999, and in the evening of the day of his funeral, by mere coincidence, we were recording a get-together ceili band at the Lord Napier in Croydon for Radio Telefis Eireann - Austin Dawes (fiddle), Joe Whelan & Sean McDonagh (accordeons), Paul Gallagher & James Carty (flutes), Liam Farrell (banjo), yours truly (piano) and Bobby Ramsey (guitar).  Since we all knew Paddy, we decided to call ourselves The Paddy Malynn Ceili Band.  The broadcast went out on 12 June.  The following week The Irish Post published this short piece:

RTE's radio tribute to Paddy Malynn went out in 'Ceili House' last Saturday.  He will be remembered for his recent accordeon playing in the pubs around Holloway Road and Islington, but the story of his life in traditional music spans just about every important development in the music since the mid-1930s, and he rubbed shoulders with all the great performers of his day.

Brought up just outside Longford town, his parents held country-house dances in their kitchen, and the now famous travelling uilleann piper, Felix Doran, called in to the house regularly.  At the age of nine Paddy was learning the accordeon completely unaided, and soon afterwards he became a member of the Longford Ceilidh Band, a group of ten year olds trained by their school teacher, Liam Glennon.  The band broke new ground in the next ten years, playing at dances all over the Midlands and the West and broadcasting every six weeks or so.  His first broadcast solo, in fact, was while he was still only nine.  "I was scared," he said, "but I did it all right!"  Trips to the radio studio and The Pipers' Club in Dublin brought him into contact with Leo Rowsome, Michael Grogan, Sonny Brogan, the Moate Ceilidh Band and many more pioneers and key figures of the time.

He arrived in London in 1949, just as Irish music was finding a public platform for itself in the back street pubs and the small dance halls.  He replaced the Galway accordeon player, Joe Cooley, as the resident musician in The Tavistock Hotel at Westbourne Park for the Sunday lunch-time sessions, and he played on Saturday nights in the Emerald dance hall at Hammersmith.  The arrangement then was for the modern band to play the modern dances, and for every third or fourth dance Paddy, backed by the pianist and drummer, played the Irish music for old-time waltzes, the barn dance, the Seige of Ennis and the Walls of Limerick.

In 1957, John Byrnes opened the Galtymore dance hall in Cricklewood, and Paddy and a Scottish pianist, Jimmy Taylor, were called upon to organise a resident ceili band.  Paddy called in at The Eagle in Camden Town, and rounded up some of the best West of Ireland musicians in London, like Roger Sherlock, Martin Byrnes and Kit O'Connor.  Paddy ran the band for a year or so, and it still does the same job to this day under the leadership of Johnny Minogue.  Paddy, like so many other traditional players, supported the early day of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, and he was a finalist in the All-Ireland in 1960.  He played long stints at the Manor House dance hall and later in The Favourite with the Waterford fiddle player, Jimmy Power.

In recent years, he became very much a community musician, playing for his friends and neighbours and the old folks around his home in Essex Road.  His was a unique style, owing much to his heroes of the thirties, as well as the doyens of latter-day accordeon music, his friend Paddy O'Brien, and his other great favourite, Jimmy Shand.  The large number of musicians and music followers who attended his funeral says a great deal about his place in Irish music in London.

Reg Hall - 4.8.99

Death of Ken Penney

Huge numbers of people in the south west of England, and beyond, will be sorry to hear of the death of Ken Penney from motor neurone disease this week.

Ken was a stalwart of the Exeter Folk Club in the '60s and '70s and the inspiration of the music scene in his local Tiverton area ever since.  One of the nicest, kindest, most generous men I ever had the honour to know ... he will be very much missed by all his friends.

Rod Stradling - 29.7.99

Sheila Stewart releases:

Doc Rowe tells me that his Sheila Stewart cassette of storytelling (plus a few songs) is now available, and a review copy is heading our way.  Also - her ballads CD on Topic will be ready to roll in late August.

The Roaring Lion of Calypso dies:

Trinidadian Calypso legend Roaring Lion died last week (11.7.99), aged 91 years.  An appreciation of his life and work can be found in Ray Funk's Kaiso Newsletter No 25 in these pages.

Musical Traditions Club dates:

At the King & Queen, Foley Street, W1
For further information: Peta Webb or Ken Hall on 0181 340 0530

Isle of Bute 23-26th July

8th year of a great festival - Full access weekend ticket only £25 !

Also the World Ceilidh Band Championship, Children's Festival and The Danny Kyle Open Stage

Further details from:  http://isle-of-bute.com/folk99  or phone Peter Morrison: 01700 504140

Death of Eithne ní Uallacháin

It will be a great shock to many to learn of the recent tragic death of Eithne ní Uallacháin, from Dundalk, County Louth.

Eithne, a leading member of the band La Lúgh, was the wife of fiddle player Gerry O'Connor, the sister of sean-nós singer Pádraigín ní Uallacháin and the sister-in-law of singer Len Graham.

Those who knew her as a performer knew her as a fine singer in Irish and English and as a great flute player.  Those who knew her as a friend knew her as one of the kindest, most warm-hearted people it would ever be possible to meet.  She will be very sadly missed.

Is go Dia tú.

Fred McCormick

Summers gets computer!

The most unlikely news story of the year, possibly of the decade, is that our co-edtor Keith Summers - a man who normally only answers the telephone once a week - has finally given in to the perpetual nagging he's been getting from me and almost all his American friends ... and bought a computer.

He can now see the magazine for himself, without me having to print it out for him, and is amazed by the colour and the sound clips.  What's more - he now has an e-mail address:


... so if you'd like to deluge him with mail for the next week of two, it might make him feel as if he's part of something again.

4th Annual Appalachian Heritage Festival

September 27-October 3, 1999.  Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV, USA

A week-long celebration of Appalachian culture featuring old-time music, traditional dance, and the literature of the mountains.  Join in on jam sessions or a community sing, share in the community meal, browse through exhibits or art galleries, enjoy the free workshops and demonstrations all day Saturday, and relax at the evening concerts.  This year's featured artists include old-time singers/musicians Phil and Ann Case, John Lilly, Betty Smith, Diane Jones, and Cari Norris; author Sharyn McCrumb; the Samples Brothers String Band; and the Swiss Dancers of Helvetia, WV.

Exhibitions will include Susan and Geoff Eacker's BANJO WOMEN as well as the quilts of Jane Hicks and Cari Norris.  Events featuring author Sharyn McCrumb will run September 27-October 1, and events featuring the musicians will run October 1 and 2.

NOTE: All venues are accessible to those with special needs; all venues are wheelchair accessible; workshops and exhibits are free; admission to evening concerts held at the Frank Center Theater on Friday and Saturday ($15; $10; $5; reduced price two-day passes also available); Saturday night dance sponsored by the Shepherdstown Music and Dance Society (admission charged).

Website at: http://www.shepherd.edu/passweb/festival.htm


Rod Stradling - e-mail: rod@mustrad.org.uk    Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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