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Saturday 20 January 2018

100 years on, Kilfenora band adds a new string to its bow

Gordon Deegan

A COUNCIL chamber in the west of Ireland is a long way from Glastonbury. But the Kilfenora Ceili Band weren't complaining as they were honoured with a civic reception.

Clare County Council last night honoured one of the country's best-known traditional bands, which has been in existence for more than 100 years.

Last summer, the band -- which includes a farmer, a carpenter, a social worker and several teachers -- shared the limelight at Glastonbury with music legends Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young.

The band, which marked its centenary last year, is made up of three fiddlers, two flautists, a pianist, an accordionist, a drummer, a banjo player and a concertina player.

The current line-up has been together for 17 years under the leadership of John Lynch.

The mayor of Clare, Tony Mulcahy, said: "In hosting a civic reception in honour of the Kilfenora Ceili Band, the council is also recognising the contribution over the years of traditional Irish music artists and groups throughout county Clare to the preservation of a unique part of Irish culture and heritage."

The Kilfenora Ceili Band has its origins in a fife and drum band which was based in the north Clare village in the 1870s.

In the early days, the band's engagements included house dances. Later, it progressed to local parochial halls and eventually took its music to venues far beyond the boundaries of the parish.

Speaking at last night's civic reception, the band's leader, John Lynch, said: "In granting the band a civic reception, Clare County Council is recognising Kilfenora's unique style of music, which has been nurtured through the different manifestations of the band ever since the flame was lit in 1909".

Irish Independent

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