The National Celtic Festival

The National Celtic Festival

Check out the National Celtic Festival

Year: 2017

Theatre Program

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Not just a great music festival, but a great festival of theatre!

The festival is committed to developing a rich and broad arts festival, where the performing and literary arts feel right at home within our festival program.

“The inclusion of a theatre strand within a festival program over the last few years, I guess was a bit of risk, as it goes against the expectation of music concerts and the like. But I can confidently say now that the National Celtic Festival is not just a great festival of music, but also a great festival of theatre! We have been true to our commitment of deeply engaging with Celtic culture through an exploration of language, literature, poetry and theatre. What has emerged is a real thirst for such a program, attracting interest from a broad spectrum of audiences, and artists of such high caliber from Australia and overseas.”

—Jim Lawson, Vessel Theatre Company.

First Announcements

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The first international headliners to be announced this year are Welsh five-piece Calan, Irish/US combo Kevin Crawford (flute), Patrick Doocey (guitar) and Colin Farrell (fiddle), and Scottish singer-songwriter Paul McKenna. Out from Ireland is traditional musician and teacher Dáire Mulher, and Scottish Gaelic arts school Feis Rois will also feature.

Those representing the local celtic circuit include folk storytelling icon Eric Bogle, and much loved all-Australian ensemble The Bushwackers. Melbourne’s Gavin siblings, An Gabhain will also play, alongside acoustic duo Anna & Jordan, Brisbane based the Barleyshakers, the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, and Australian Idol star Damien Leith – who returns to the festival for his second year in a row!

The National Celtic Festival is not limited to just music, with countless dance, theatre, comedy, literature and instrumental workshops included in the diverse range of activities on offer. Community arts project Lantunda will be one of two national theatre groups performing at the festival, bringing together a mix of shadow puppetry, stories and music focused on themes of place, belonging and Gaelic traditions in Australia.

Adam Sutherland + Marc Clement ( Scotland )

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Adam Sutherland (Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9 and Marc Clement (Session A9, Gordon Gunn Band) join forces for a night of tunes, songs and great highland craic. As well as Marc’s gorgeous interpretations of well known songs, the pair will be playing tunes from Adam’s newly released book ‘The Errogie Collection’ and his solo album ‘Squall’.

Calan (Wales)

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Calan bring together the remarkable talents of 5 young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With a contemporary and lively approach they breathe new life into the old traditions through their sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and spirited and energetic performances of Welsh step dancing.

They blast their way through some of the old favourite reels, jigs and hornpipes with fast paced and uplifting arrangements before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs.

Following the release of their debut album, ‘Bling’ in 2008, which attracted four star responses from the critics, the five-piece have been playing to big audiences and rave reviews at concerts and festivals around Britain and Europe, including the coveted Cambridge Festival, Celtic Connections, Glasgow, Shrewsbury Folk Festival; Moseley Folk Festival; Derby Folk Festival; Bromyard Folk Festival, Whitby Folk Festival, a concert tour of Italy, Austria and Belgium along with a number of performances at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany, where they’ve received the award for the best group.

The group, who’ve raised some eyebrows with a deliberate policy of eye-catching clothes and presentation, despite the ancient roots of their music, see themselves as a new generation of ambassadors, striving to take their new sound to new audiences, while raising the profile of Welsh traditional music on an international level.

With their unique instrumental blend of accordion, fiddle, guitar, Welsh pipes, Welsh harp and the percussive sound of the Welsh clogs, Calan have certainly found their musical niche and their plan is to continue to delight audiences far and wide!

http://www.calan-band.com/

 

Kevin Crawford, Patrick Doocey and Colin Farrell (Ireland / US)

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Kevin Crawford – Flute

A virtuoso flute player, Kevin Crawford’s life has been one long journey into Irish music. He was a founding member of Moving Cloud, the Clare-based band who recorded such critically-acclaimed albums as Moving Cloud and Foxglove. He now tours the world with Ireland’s cutting-edge traditional band, Lúnasa.

 

Patrick Doocey – Guitar

An All-Ireland winning multi-instrumentalist, Patrick is quickly becoming one of the most in demand accompanists on the Irish music scene today. Predominately self taught on guitar, Patrick’s exciting style on both nylon and steel string guitar combines influences from many genres. His talents have brought him all over Europe, Asia, America and Africa.  His musical journey so far has seen him perform with artists such as Sharon Shannon, Liz Carroll, Lunasa, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Teada, Buille, Cathal Hayden, Karan Casey, Sean Keane.

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Colin Farrell – Fiddle

Colin Farrell has made a name for himself performing and recording with an array of great musicians in Europe and the US, including such performers and groups as Flook, Grada, John Doyle, Tim O’Brien, Lúnasa, Karen Casey, the Elders, Project West, the Michael McGoldrick Band. Colin is also a composer whose tunes have been played and recorded by numerous bands and musicians.

Dáire Mulhern (Ireland)

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Dáire Mulhern hails from the west of Ireland, the home of traditional music. Having toured extensively, Dáire is also a dedicated teacher of traditional button-accordion music and a skilled composer. The award winning musician will now bring his spirited accordion music to Australian audiences.

Paul McKenna (Scotland)

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“Paul McKenna is a gifted song writer” Folk Radio UK

“Paul’s vehement vocal is strikingly distinctive and intense” fRoots Magazine

“Highly expressive and readily identifiable voice..McKenna delivers perfectly” Folk Words

Front man for the Paul McKenna Band, Paul is touring solo with his contemporary approach to songs, showcasing fresh and innovative arrangements while not straying too far from his Scottish roots.

The Paul McKenna Band have gone from strength to strength touring extensively throughout USA, Canada and Europe. The exciting sound of The Paul McKenna Band is created through Paul’s outstanding vocals and driving guitar, combined with intense fiddle playing, a warm pairing of flute and whistles and dynamic bodhrán and percussion.

http://www.paulmckennaband.com/

Fiona Ross & Tony McManus (Scotland)

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The National Celtic Festival is delighted to formally launch Clyde’s Water – the stunning new album from renowned Scottish traditional singer Fiona Ross, with master of Celtic guitar, Tony McManus. A superb example of the traditional style, this album brings together Fiona’s evocative vocals and Tony’s unrivalled guitar-playing to showcase the richness and diversity of the Scots song canon. The album also features acclaimed Scottish fiddler and multi-instrumentalist John McCusker

Feis Rois ( Scotland )

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Feis Rois provide exciting opportunities for young people to participate in traditional music, song, dance and drama and with all forms of culture celebrated through and connected with the Gaelic language. Through a cultural exchange opportunity, Feis Rois will bring four young and emerging artists from the highlands Scotland. Joining us this year will be:

Robbie Mackenzie (fiddle)

Rory Matheson (accordion and piano)

Ailis Sutherland (pipes, whistles and vocals)

Kaitlin Ross (guitar and vocals)

Anna & Jordan

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Anna & Jordan weave gentle acoustic sounds together with incredible songwriting and technical talent to produce a truly hypnotising performance.