Organisers of the Isle of Man’s largest Celtic festival unveil the line-up of visiting and Manx performers and release tickets for this year’s Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering in Peel, 15th – 21st July.
Opening the festival’s evening concert series on Wednesday 17th July will be Welsh Celtic supergroup, Mabon, who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and will be just back from a tour of Australia. With seven albums under their belts, Jamie Smith’s Mabon present a wide dynamic range, from quiet, reflective melodies and songs to loud and exciting music which has brought audiences to their feet around the world.
Sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, the Mabon concert in the Centenary Centre will also feature Manx music legends, The Mollag Band who will be setting off to represent the Isle of Man at Festival Interceltique de Lorient in August. The following evening, top Scottish harpist Rachel Hair will be joined by guitarist Ron Jappy and they will be promoting their new album, ‘Sparks’. Rachel is already well known in the Island as Culture Vannin’s harp teacher and she currently teaches over 20 young Manx harpists. Friday evening will see the premiere of an exciting new Breton-Manx collaboration between two charismatic performers from Brittany; singer Lors Landat and accordionist Thomas Moisson – and two well-known Manx performers; harpist Mera Royle (winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Musician 2018) and keyboard/fiddle player and composer David Kilgallon (King Chiaullee, Chronicles and Mec Lir). This unique concert is sponsored by Thornton Chartered Financial Planners, and it promises to be an unmissable evening of new and traditional music celebrating the firm friendship between these two Celtic nations!
Headlining the final concert on the Saturday night will be Irish singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell, accompanied by bodhran player Robbie Walsh and uilleann piper Michael O’Connell. Recently awarded ‘male vocalist of the year’ by LiveIreland, Daoirí has been described as “one of most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent years”. Armed with several BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and a new album produced Irish music legend Donal Lunny, the rich vocals and charming personality of this ‘True-born Irishman’ (title of his 2016 album) is bound to ensure a sell-out concert. Organisers extend grateful thanks to Culture Ireland for their sponsorship of this evening. Providing musical support for Daoirí Farrell’s concert will be Peddyr Cubberley Trad Trio – Manx flautist and talented tune-smith, Peddyr Cubberley, with Malcolm Stitt (guitar) and Russell Cowin (bodhran). Prices for the individual evening concerts cost between £15 – £18, and a limited number of special festival passes for all concerts with after-show access to the ceilis are available for just £55 each.
Now in its 41st year, Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering is one of the longest-running Celtic festivals in Europe, and its ethos of bringing together the Celtic nations for an annual celebration of music, dance, language, and culture still holds strong. The festival is looking forward to welcoming back a Cornish family of several generations who have supported the festival since its early days. The multi-talented Davey Family will perform music and dance at various events, lead workshops and call ‘Troyl’ dances during the inter-Celtic ceilis on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th July (£5/3 or special offer weekend family ceili pass £20). Other visiting artists this year include Falkirk Piping & The Glenbervie Folk Duo from Scotland, which consists of bagpipe player Neil Clark (host of YouTube tutor channel, Falkirk Piping) and his multi-instrumentalist wife Kathryn Grainger, and they will be performing and participating in educational outreach projects during the festival. A special guest all the way from Kentucky, USA is Appalachian banjo player Randy Wilson who will be joined by his son Gabe Dansereau who specializes in old-time fiddle. There will be several opportunities to hear stories and learn about Appalachian music and dance and its connections with the Celtic world from Randy and Gabe during the festival. Many of the visiting acts will also take part in the invaluable ‘Inspire’ educational concerts and workshops organized for local schools. Furthermore, lots of Manx performers and dance groups of all ages will be involved in making the festival a fun and inclusive event for everyone.
2019 also happens to be International Year of Minority Languages, and Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering is particularly pleased to welcome Clive Boutle, of Francis Boutle Publishers, who will bring a selection of his minority language publications to the festival, including the Manx Gaelic anthology, Manannan’s Cloak. As well as Celtic language taster lessons, the festival programme will also include readings and a discussion about Celtic literature by Manx and visiting experts.
A popular part of the festival is the outdoor displays of music and dance by visiting and local groups. Cathedral Isle of Man will provide the hub for a busy afternoon of free community events on Saturday 20th July with outdoor entertainment, acoustic recitals inside the Cathedral, children’s activities, refreshments, workshops and the eagerly anticipated Artisan Craft Fair. The Celtic entertainment continues the next day at the House of Manannan (Sunday) with outdoor displays of music and dance and other activities on offer indoors.
Of course, informal music sessions are an integral part of the overall festival atmosphere, whether it’s background music during the ‘food and folk’ lunchtime sessions in Douglas or lively after-concert tunes in the pub. Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering would like to thank The Whitehouse Hotel, Noa Bakehouse, and other premises in Peel and Douglas for hosting live music during the festival.
Yn Chruinnaght Celtic Gathering is grateful to its sponsors; Culture Vannin, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Culture Ireland, Thornton Associates Ltd. Chartered Financial Planners, Malcolm Scott Dickinson Charitable Trust, as well as the invaluable support of Manx National Heritage, Cathedral Isle of Man, Department of Education, Sport and Culture, Peel Town Commissioners, Department of Enterprise and local venues. The volunteer-led and not-for-profit festival is always happy to hear from other potential sponsors who would like to be part of this vibrant cultural festival.
Concert and ceili tickets are available to buy from www.celticgathering.im which is also where the exclusive online-only festival pass can be bought for £55. Individual tickets are available from Celtic Gold in Peel and from the Festival Office – ring 07624 302200.
Yn Chruinnaght, meaning ‘The Gathering’ in Manx Gaelic, was founded in 1978 in Ramsey by Mona Douglas. In recent years, Yn Chruinnaght committee has joined forces with Cooish Manx language festival to organise Gaelic events and entertainment during the winter. For more information about the Yn Chruinnaght organisation and its history spanning over four decades visit: www.ynchruinnaght.com
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