The festival kicks off Friday night with a concert at the Bangor Arts Exchange (189 Exchange St) ballroom at 7 pm with Gerry O’Connor and Kevin McElroy.
Gerry O’Connor and Kevin McElroy in Concert
Celebrated Irish fiddler Gerry OConnor (Skylark, Lá Lugh) will be joined by Freeport, ME-based guitarist and singer, Kevin McElroy. Gerry grew up in a family of musicians, dancers, and singers and plays in the fluid, lyrical style of the great Sligo masters. He has recorded 14 albums and toured with various members of legendary Irish ensembles including Planxty and the Chieftains and is considered one of the great fiddlers of his generation. He has just released his second solo album “Last Night’s Joy”
Guitarist, singer, banjo and fiddle player Kevin McElroy has performed regularly in New England for three decades as a soloist and with such luminaries as Seamus Connolly, Brendan Tonra and Joe Burke. Combined wit, prodigious talent and infectious sincerity promise enjoyment for seasoned aficionados of the music and newcomers alike.”
Saturday, the festival opens at 10 am at the Bangor Public Library.
- 10 am children’s Gaelic Athletic Games with coach Michael Keim. Coach Keim will lead the children in some Gaelic Athletic games such as hurling and Gaelic football.
- 10-12 Piper and musical instrument petting zoo (with local traditional musicians). Local musicians will bring bagpipes, whistles, fiddles and other musical instruments used in Celtic music and will show children how they are used.
- 11-12 Celtic story time
- 12-1 Irish author lecture with Gerry O’Connor The Rose in the Gap. Irish fiddler and author Gerry O’Connor will present a lecture/performance about the background of the Gaelic Cultural Revival of the early 20th Century. He will discuss the Irish instrumental music from the South East Ulster area located by the author in the archives of the University College of Dublin and featured in his book “The Rose in the Gap” highlighting the rich body of dance music, song and dances that were in circulation in Counties Louth, Armagh, Monaghan and Cavan over 100 years ago. The influence of Scottish music and culture celebrated in this area will also be examined. His presentation includes landscape images of the area, maps locating the music to place, and quality images of the original hand written manuscripts of the music. Gerry will also play some of the music for the audience. Refreshments: Irish Soda bread and tea.
- 2 pm Genealogy workshop with Librarian Betsy Paradis
Also on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 120 Park St the festival continues with workshops, music and dance. Headed by Irish fiddler Andrew Finn Magill accompanied by Dan Faiella, the evening will end with a performance and Scottish Country dancing.
Afternoon workshops 1:30-3 Saturday
- Shore to Shore. Songs from Ireland and Maritime New England. – Kevin McElroy
- Beginning DADGAD guitar – Dan Faiella
- Irish Fiddle Workshop – Andrew Finn Magill
- Scottish Country Dance – Members of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society from the Belfast Maine class will demonstrate and teach the dances. Scottish Country Dance is the traditional social dance form of Scotland. It involves sets of couples dancing a sequence of figures to Jigs, Reels and Strathspeys. The dancers move through the patterns, which are related to those used in English, Irish and Contra dancing, but using specific footwork technique, the pointed toe and foot placement influenced by ballet. The dance form has been standardized by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society and one can go anywhere in the world and find a class or dance to take part in.
Open Irish music session 3-4:30
Ceili /Andrew Finn Magill and Dan Faiella Saturday night performance and Scottish Country dance 7-9pm
Multi-instrumentalist, All-Ireland fiddle finalist and Ropeadope Recording artist Andrew “Finn the fiddler” Magill has watched his career surge ever since the 2016 release of his 2-disc concept album Roots (which debuted at #46 on the Folk DJ charts) & Branches. Raised at The Swannanoa Gathering, Magill has learned and carved out a name for himself in Irish, American and Brazilian music, collaborating with everyone from Rising Appalachia to John Doyle. He has toured five continents and self-released four albums in everything from traditional Irish music to African fusion.
Dan Faiella has been building a reputation throughout New England’s traditional music communities for his sensitive and innovative interpretations of traditional tunes and songs from the Celtic traditions. His harp- and banjo-inspired approach to fingerstyle guitar playing brings grace and energy to the music, and his skill as an accompanist for traditional melody players is increasingly in demand. He studied with folk musician David Surette and classical guitarist David Newsam and he has performed with some of the Northeast’s premier fiddlers including Dan Foster, Alden Robinson, and Winifred Horan, among many others.
Enjoy the music of Twisted Strings at Paddy Murphy’s Pub from 12-2.
Gaelic Athletic Games with the Portland Hurling Club will take place from 12-2 pm at the Bangor Public Library grounds. Enjoy demonstrations of Irish Hurling and Gaelic football.