Fiddlers keep it reel at top trad summer school
SCHOOL is out but scores of students are still scurrying to class this week.
Yesterday, fiddlers of all ages made sure they were at their seats on time at St Joseph's Secondary School for day three of lessons at the 40th annual Willie Clancy School, which is being held in Milltown Malbay, Co Clare.
Students making their way to Class 15 have the daily morning treat this week of being taught by renowned musician Martin Hayes.
The enthusiastic applause from crowds at his gigs across the world has this week been replaced by a studied intensity from his 18 students as they watch him play the fiddle and then join with him in playing tunes.
Before playing a Peadar O Riada tune, he joked: "I'll go slow for the people with recorders here."
Speaking after yesterday's class, Mr Hayes said the summer school is a touchstone event in Irish music every year.
"It is not sanitised, it is not glamourised, this is how it is," he said.
"For anyone who wants to know about the reality of the music and the cultural reality of it, this is a great place to come.
"The music is in good shape, I am impressed with the kids, not just with their technical playing, but with their thoughtfulness as well."
On his way into the school, RTE producer and sean nos singing tutor Ian Lee described the Summer School as "one big happy family."
"It is a very friendly festival and the same people come back year after year."