Sunday 19 January 2020

Local links with Cork trad group's new album

Songs and melodies composed by DkIT-based researchers and lecturers Dr Adèle Commins and Dr Daithí Kearney feature on a new CD by Cork-based group Ceolta Sí, celebrating and inspired by the cultural heritage of Youghal.

The couple led the project, which was run by the Craobh Eochaile Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann supported by the East Cork Municipal District Creative Communities Fund, Creative Ireland and Youghal Credit Union.

The links between DkIT's Creative Arts Research Centre and Ceolta Sí developed informally when Ceolta Sí were the guest artists in the first concert performance by the Oriel Traditional Orchestra, Ensemble-in-Residence at DkIT. The younger members of Craobh Eochaille CCÉ then visited the wonderful facilities for third level studies in the Creative Arts at DkIT and discover opportunities to study in Dundalk. Graduates of the BA (Hons) Music programme were also engaged as facilitators for workshops during the project, sharing their skills and experiences of performing in the DkIT Ceol Oirghialla Traditional Music Ensemble before embarking on careers in Irish traditional music.

However, the story goes back further, as it's fifteen years since Kearney, now co-director of the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT, first met Ceolta Sí in his role as Artistic Director of the Cork International Folk Dance Festival as part of Cork's celebration of the European Capital of Culture. He later taught with the local branch of Comhaltas and lived in the area before moving to Dundalk. He was the Artistic Director of Ceolta Sí for a number of years, travelling to China and Mexico with the group and producing the annual Seisiún. Amongst the songs on the album, Kearney wrote 'McGrath's Clock Gate' based on conversations with John McGrath, the last resident of the iconic building, and 'Moll Goggins' based on local folklore.

Head of Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music at DkIT, Adèle Commins' first introduction to Youghal was during the series of concerts to launch the critically acclaimed album 'A Louth Lilt', when she performed with Kearney at the Brú na Sí cultural centre in the town. She went on to facilitate a number of workshops with local musicians and her composition, 'Lighting Capel Island' was chosen as the music for a radio series, Oileán an Cháplaigh - The Lighthouse that never was, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The piece also features on the new album recorded by Ceolta Sí.

Continuing the link with the Creative Arts Research Centre at DkIT, the album design was undertaken by graphic designer and DkIT lecturer JJ Quinlan.

The Argus