Final episode of ‘Music of Mayo’ online performances with the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar this Friday 29 May @ 6.00pm
The Traditional Music heritage of County Mayo is at the centre of series of four online performances commissioned by the Linenhall Arts Centre for their Youtube and Facebook platforms.
The series has been running over the last three weeks and culminates this Friday 29 May, at 6.00pm with the final episode. Curated by musician Emer Mayock, it features performances by Emer on flute and uilleann pipes, alongside fellow Mayo musicians Peter Molloy (flute), Gráinne Hambly (harp) and David Munnelly (accordion).
The series forms part of the Linenhall Arts Centre’s ongoing commitment to reach and engage with audiences, and to continue to support artists during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on work undertaken during an Artist Residency project at the Linenhall Arts Centre in 2017, the music performed throughout this series ranges from tunes collected in Mayo in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to tunes that are associated with Mayo musicians who emigrated to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as more recent compositions. A strong thread of Mayo place names is noticeable in the tune titles throughout.
The series is rich in information about the repertoire performed, and musical heritage of Mayo. For example the opening set of reels, Tony Moran’s, The Chicago Reel and The Five Crossroads, is prefaced with an introduction in which Emer Mayock tells us about the provenance of the tunes. Tony Moran was a fiddle and accordion player who was born in 1899, we are told, and was a descendant of the Piper Caulfield from Liscat in East Mayo; The Chicago Reel, meanwhile, appears in Francis O’Neill’s collection and is likely a composition of John McFadden who emigrated from Newport in 1847 in the middle of the famine; and The Five Crossroads is a tune from John Henry of the Henry Family of Doocastle in the North East of the County.
Music from the collectors Patrick Weston Joyce (1827-1914) and Edward Bunting (1773-1843) feature among harp player Gráinne Hambly’s performances. The tune Barbara Needham, we’re informed, is from Joyce’s 1909 collection “Old Irish Fold Music and Songs” where it is noted that it is the air for a rowing song heard on passage to Clare Island. Hambly tells us that the tune Sunday Morning “…was collected in Westport in 1802 by the great collector Edward Bunting”. She continues, “Bunting is best known for his work at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792 collecting some of the old harp music, but he also travelled around Connaught and Mayo and collected music from pipers and singers and fiddlers as well as harpers”.
More recent compositions also take their place in the Music of Mayo series. The Corragaun Jig, written by Louisburgh accordion player Sheamus Heneghan, is included among flute player Peter Molloy’s performances, while in episode three David Munnelly gives us some insight into the creation of his own composition Blind Harbour. Written for the Accordion Samorai project in 2009, David explains that visits to the pier at the village of Tipp, eight miles outside Belmullet in North Mayo, at age 7 and later at 33 inspired the tune.
You can view the first three episodes right here:
The series culminates in a final episode, 40 minutes in length, this Friday 29 May 2020 at 6.00pm at the following: