When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Nyah County Cavan Traditional Music Festival 2009
The Nyah must go on - so forget the recession and enjoy the session!
We might not be proud of the way our economy is being managed but we can
still take pride in our culture. “For the month of March in the Breffni
County, immerse yourself in the music and culture, and rejoice in being
Irish”, is the message from the Nyah committee, headed by Martin Donohoe.
And traditional music enthusiast, Martin. has been conscious of leaner times
with this year’s programming - apart from the workshops only a handful of
events have a cover charge, with the majority being free.
Preparations are well underway for the Nyah County Cavan Traditional Music
Festival 2009, which will see hundreds of musicians and artists descend on
the Breffni territory throughout the month of March to take part in a packed
programme of events across the county. The line-up ranges from major
concerts to intimate pub sessions, with a host of extras including music and
song workshops, the Jig of Life awards, and book and CD launches.
So where does the Nyah Festival’s name come from?
“The word ‘Nyah’ refers to the very expression of the tradition; to the soul
and feeling that makes it so unique,” explains Martin. “It’s about the lift
the music can give to the hardest heart. And what better time than the
present to let the hair down and enjoy a collective ‘lift’ from all the
doom, gloom and depression?”
There’ll be no shortage of top musicians, dancers and singers in seisiún at
the Nyah Féile Ealaíon Chontae an Chabhán 2009. The likes of accordion
legend Joe Burke and melodeon master Johnny Connolly are just the tip of the
iceberg, as a host of top performers will not only showcase their talents,
but share them in the extensive workshop teaching sessions that have also
The 2009 Nyah Festival will see events in Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet, Cavan
Town, Cootehill and Kilnaleck - while Virginia, on the shores of scenic
Lough Ramor claims pride of place on this occasion, and will host two gala
concerts featuring the best of the best, as well as a series of workshops in
every instrument and aspect of the tradition.
The Nyah aims to immerse people of every age, from schoolchildren upwards
(through the school programme and masterclasses) in the music of the
drumlins, giving everyone a chance to work with world-class performers and
learn from them. So be sure to put a bit of Nyah into your life and visit
some of the events planned for County Cavan Festival 2009, from March 11-20.
Jig of Life awards
Every year, a highlight of the festival is the presentation of the Jig of
Life awards, which are given in appreciation of outstanding contributions to
traditional arts. Recipients receive handcrafted impressions created by a
local crafts company, Captured in Time (www.capturedintime.ie). This year,
the awards are going to:
•Johnny Connolly (melodeon)
•Kathleen and Michael McGlynn (sean-nós dancers)
•Brian and Eithne Vallely (uilleann pipes, fiddle and songs)
•Mattie Joe Shéamuis Ó Fatharta (sean-nós singer, musician)
•Joe Burke and Ann Conroy (button accordion)
•Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin and Len Graham (singers)
The presentation ceremony will take place at the Ramor Theatre this
Saturday, March 14, at 8.30pm, during a Gala Concert, with special guests
including Padraic O’Reilly on piano, vocalist Stephanie Makem, Tiarnán Ó
Duinnchinn on uilleann pipes, and the Cavan Set Dancers. The MC for the
night is festival organiser Martin, who has also his own radio show on
Shannonside Northern Sound. (There is limited seating for this concert, and
booking is at 049-8547074 and admission €20/€15.)
The week of St Patrick’s Day is what Martin calls ‘Green week’ in honour of
our national day of celebration. This is when the festival really takes off,
with the entire county being filled with ‘nyah’ through a series of
sessions, concerts, workshops, recitals and other events.
Sunday, March 15, is worth noting as being a free-for-all of sorts, with a
variety of free events on the programme. These include a lunchtime session
in the Riverfront Hotel, Virginia; an afternoon workshop and recital in
Cavan County Museum followed by seanchai old-style storytelling in the same
venue; Sean-Nos dancing workshops and exhibition at Crowe’s Corner,
Ballyjamesduff; a gig by Fiona Fitzpatrick and band in the Widow’s Bar,
Belturbet; and a session also in the Widow’s Bar.
Remember to keep an eye out for other Nyah events, which continue on a
An addition to the programme is the Dr Brian Galligan Memorial Weekend,
which will starts on Friday, March 27, with the official opening at 7.30pm
in the Johnston Central Library, Cavan Town. Guest speakers will include;
Jack Keyes, Cavan County Manager . This celebration continues throughout
that weekend at venues in Cavan Town, Mountnugent, Kilnaleck and Mullahoran.
Martin Donohoe presents The Wind that Blows radio show on Shannonside
Northern Sound (www.shannonside.ie). This one-hour weekly Irish
traditional/folk radio show, every Friday Night from 9pm to 10pm, is part of
the Nyah Co Cavan arts group work in keeping music live and giving all
access to the culture.
The Nyah Arts Festival Programme 2009 is subsidised by the Arts Council,
Cavan County Council Arts Office, Comhaltas, Wrangler and Fáilte Ireland.
The Nyah gives grateful thanks for this support and acknowledges all those
others who have provided generous backing over the years.
For further information, contact Martin at 086-2342270 or see
Golf Links Rd Cavan Town
Mobile: 00353 862342270
Nyah Festival info website
Email: [log in to unmask]
Email: [log in to unmask]
Martin Donohoe presents, "The Wind that Blows" Show every Friday Night on
Shannonside Northern Sound Radio A one hour weekly Irish traditional/folk
9.00pm to 10pm The show is a gathering place for all things "folk"- artist
info, resources like the folk festival listings, and most especially good
music and song and lots of it. .The radio show is on the web for family and
friends overseas - http://www.shannonside.ie/
The show is part of the Nyah Co Cavan arts group work in keeping music live
and giving access for all to the culture
Each week, you can count on hearing the finest selections from new releases.
If you have a CD you wish to have played or if you want to promote your
tour/Gigs, share news etc