Wednesday 1 October 2014

Friday night celebration for World Fiddle Day

Published 15/05/2013 | 05:36

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n Three local men who played the fiddle and are now gone to their eternal reward. From left: Con O'Flynn, John Joe O'Connell and Martin Kelliher. They and many others will be remembered at the World Fiddle Day event at Browne's Bar from 9pm on Friday night. Photo by John Reidy

World Fiddle Day will be celebrated in Castleisland on this Friday night, May 17 from 9pm.

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A programme of events is being polished at present. However, be assured that it will include fiddle music - a lot of fiddle music in the course of the night.

Sticklers for detail will wail that WFD is not until Saturday, May 18. Tell them to stop. The celebrations, at Browne's Bar in Castleisland, will most surely spill over into Saturday anyway and it will set the town apart as the first in the world to mark the great day in 2013.

It sounded like a great idea from the minute I heard of it. PJ Teahan and fellow musicians: Tom O'Connell, Mick Culloty and Charlie Nelligan were joined by Jimmy Cullinane and aided by Dermot Horan in the hunt for photographs of past and present exponents of the instrument.

They confined their search this year to Castleisland and its immediate hinterland and they managed to rise a remarkable collection through hill and valley around their own place. That collection has been distilled and poured into a poster in preparation for the big night.

World Fiddle Day was dreamed up last summer by Caoimhin Mac Aoidh from Donegal. President Michael D. Higgins became its patron for this the inaugural year of 2013. It is for anyone throughout the world who plays, or simply enjoys, the music of the extended family of bowed instruments in any genre of music.

The event at Browne's Bar on Friday night will be launched at 9pm by Tom Fleming, TD. He will talk about the traditional musicians associated with the area and with the instrument. Deputy Fleming's platform was well set in his native Scartaglin with years of involvement in the organisation of the Feile Cheoil there.

Dave Buckley, a nephew of Francie Davy O'Connor - one of the most influential of his generation of local fiddle players, will perform a song he composed for the occasion. Jimmy Cullinane from Cordal will recite a poem he wrote and first aired at Patrick O'Keeffe's graveside on a cold Friday evening last February to mark the 50th anniversary of the great man's passing.

Paddy Jones - one of the few and youngest survivors of O'Keeffe's pupils - has been asked to play a slow air for all traditional musicians from the area who have gone to their eternal reward.

PJ Teahan will say a few words then and it's resin the bow time from there until first mass.

While a poster remains one of the oldest forms of advertising, in this case it is more. It is and will be more of a discussion document because of the diligence of the collectors. There are people on this poster whose association with the fiddle has hardly been known or remembered outside of their own family circle.

The collection also highlights the popularity the instrument held and still holds in this area and there are many young people featured.

Of course, the event has also generated an appetite for this October's Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival. This year's festival will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of O'Keeffe on Friday, February 22-1963 - an event marked locally earlier this year. It will also be celebrated as the 21st anniversary of the founding of the festival in 1993.

P.J. Teahan can be contacted on 087 8516695 or by email at or Tom O'Connell on 087 6228740.


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