Monday 16 September 2019

Usher art of music

There are hundreds of events planned for this year's Fleadh. Hubert Murphy gives a glimpse...

The 2019 Fleadh Cheoil will offer something for everyone and the local area won't be found wanting when it comes to celebrating their own.

Away from the thousands of people, there will be moments to catch one's breath, with a certan event on Wednesday August 14 at 2pm in Drogheda Library well worth catching.

Jim McArdle will give a talk (and hopefully a few tunes) from the annals of the Usher family of Tenure.

For generations, they have performed all over the region and Jim will outline their story.

Mary Ann Carolan, Pap Usher, Pat Usher, Petie Curran, the list of outstanding musicians spans tthe decades.

Mary Ann, from the Hill of Rath, was a special one. Today, her haunting "The Bonny Light Horseman" remains a classic.

She passed away in 1985, but late in life, found fame, with her works recorded, after she was 'discovered' by Sean Corcoran in 1966. Her concertina playing was simply incredible.

The recordings for the album of her music were made at her home in the Hill of Rath in 1976 and seven years later, was finally released.

Her father, Pat Usher, who died in 1962 was a noted singer and concertina player, her brother Pat Usher who lived in Tenure was a fine fiddle player and a singer and her cousin Petie Curran from Tenure was a well known singer and played the war pipes.

Jim is a wonderful story-teller so this is an event not to be missed.

Visit the Augustinian Garden

Another spot to catch is the Augustinian Church. They will have concerts and also, their remembrance garden at the rear is set to become a great little spot for reflection and maybe the odd song.

The church will host a great 'Drogheda' concert on Tuesday August 13th when Michael Holohan leads out an array of stars, based on airs of old Drogheda and the works of Seamus Ennis. I know Michael has spent months perfecting this show and gathering a huge amount of songs. The Boyne Valley Chamber orchestra will be performing and amongst the singers is the quite stunning Hannah O'Brien. Hannah would be worth the admission price alone.

Martin Hayes and Steve Cooney are in concert on August 12, Scoil Eigse on August 15th and Legacy on August 16. There will also be events in the garden at various stages.

Meet John Wayne!

The Dominican Priory and Church will be a hive of activity this year with the Fleadh TV headquaters based there.

They have really taken to the spirit of the Fleadh with the best 'photo op' available in town, John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara and Michilin from The Quiet Man taking residence at the front of the building.

The thatched cottage and fence are stunning.

Stevie is the Clogher banjo king

Stevie Dunne from Clogherhead will be performing - with banjo in hand - and he's a sensational player.

With a few albums to his name, Stevie has been playing the banjo for 20 years and in the past, his dad owned and skippered The Wisemans and The Fairweather out of Clogherhead.

These days he lives in Belfast and plays all over the place.

Healys coming from Australia to McHugh's

They have become the pride of Australia and now they are coming home for four nights during the Fleadh.

The Healys will perform in McHugh's on August 15, 16, 17 and 18.

The Drogheda brothers brought their passion for Irish & folk music to Australia in 1998, where they now reside and have spent many years perfecting their song writing, sound & performance creating a truly authentic but more modern version of what is deemed to be a folk band.

The band have performed with and supported many Australian & Irish greats while the eldest Healy brother, Nigel, also performed and recorded with Irish legends Mary Black & Daniel O'Donnell in his teenage years.

The band were a part of 'The Vast Project', an initiative that saw a group of Australia's finest artists come together in the Pilbara region of Western Australia to create an album, a documentary/movie and many physical art works. The Vast Project concert then saw The Healys perform the role of house band for the event and also performed their own songs 'Tradition' which features on 'The Vast Project' album.

Alongside a decade long residency at the famous J.B. O'Reilly's, their music ranges from traditional Irish classics to the ultimate in contemporary Irish Rock/Pop, plus all your favourite classic hits from around the world and their own popular original songs.

They'll rock McHugh's.

Ceili Picnic in Duke Street car park

The Ceili Picnic takes place in the Duke Street car park throughout the week with admission free from Thursday to Sunday.

They have some star names performing, including MickeyJoe Harte, Thin Az Lizzy, The Wednesday Gang, The Enemies, The full Shilling, Rapscalllion and more.

There will be a silent disco at midnight, a jig rig, a frying pan workshop and of course, The Absurdist Pipe Band.

They are billed 'Expri-mental musicians pushing back the boundaries of absurdist piping, currently dipping toes into the clowny waters of extreme pipe-banding...' and they feature the one and only Kieran Gallagher. Don't miss them in action.

Ella Roberts and Fusion Fighters

The sensational Irish dancing stars, the Fusion Fighters, are back in town and well worth seeing.

They have a main stage slot on the gig rig with 50 of the dance fest cast on stage on Sunday 18th at 2:30pm.

They also have a Fleadh Tv slot with Jiggy on Friday evening to kick off Fleadh TV

They will also perform all over the Fleadh week, with their St Peter's plaza steps amazing. Chris Naish is their mentor and a highly accomplished artiste.

Performing with them this year will be Ella Roberts from Australia. Female Artist of the Year 2019 at the Australia Celtic Music Awards, Ella Roberts has been acclaimed as one of the country's biggest stars.

Her latest singles are haunting renditions of 'North Wind' and 'Loch Lomond'. Also an actress, she has featured in Home and Away and the film, 'Submerged'.

Ella, who is based in Sydney, says she is really looking forward to the Fleadh and experiencing the atmosphere in Drogheda,

Drogheda Independent