Thursday, November 15, 2018

A MAGICAL weekend of music was celebrated in Portlaoise when stellar guest musicians joined students at a wonderful Tionól for Harps and Pipes.

The third annual festival from 2-4 November was a resounding success, bringing together more than 100 young musicians from Laois and all over Ireland and 20 music tutors from around the world.

The event brings young harpers and pipers and their tutors from Music Generation branches across Ireland together for workshops, master classes, sessions, reed-making and concerts. The Tionól also caters for non-Music Generation students, who can attend as day students.

Young musicians came from areas ranging from Cork to Mayo and Derry, while adult musicians came from across Ireland, Scotland, Venezuela and Japan.

Music Generation Laois (MGL) co-ordinator Rosa Flannery said: “It was truly a fantastic weekend. The final student concert was really brilliant and a credit to all the students and their tutors.”

Guest musicians included Anne-Marie O’Farrell (harp/konghu), Triona Marshall (harp), Catriona McKay (harp), Chris Stout (harp), Mick O’Brien (pipes), David Power (pipes) and Venezuelan musicians Eduard Jiménez (harp), Alis Cruces (cuatro), Nelson Echandía (electric bass) and Andrés Ortiz (maracas).

Young musicians had the opportunity to listen to their tutors perform at the opening Tionól concert on Friday 2 November in Portlaoise Further Information and Training Centre. The concert had a superb line-up, including: Chris Stout (fiddle), Grainne Hambly (harp), Leonard Barry (pipes), Billy Jackson (harp), Fionnán MacGabhann (pipes), Tim Doyle (pipes), James Mahon (pipes), Riko (harp), Siobhan Buckley (harp), Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla (harp), Joseph Byrne (pipes), Lauren O’Neill (harp) and Venezuelan band Compasses. Scottish duo Chris Stout and Catriona McKay also performed alongside the Music Generation Laois (MGL) Senior Harp Ensemble.

The following day saw a number of workshops with Venezuelan musicians, as well as reed-making classes. Fiddle-player Chris Stout worked with the MGL trad orchestra and junior trad group, culminating with a concert in Dunamaise Arts Centre to mark international uilleann piping day.

The weekend closed with a day of workshops and a memorable student concert in Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre, followed by an exhilarating closing party featuring the band Compasses in Andy Bergin’s on Main Street.

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By Carmel Hayes
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