Held annually in the Moorlands Suite of the magnificent Ramada Lough Allen Hotel, this summer concert features singers and musicians from Leitrim and its surrounding counties. The extraordinary performers at the 2007 Concert included Suaimhneas (pron. "swanis", Gaelic for "peace"), a chorale group of forty members accompanied on piano and a premier CD debut for John Wynne (flute) and John McEvoy (fiddle) called Pride of the West.
The chorale group, Suaimhneas, under the direction of Derek Mahady, led the performance with two memorable tunes: "When I Was Young and Foolish," and "The Last Rose of Summer." It was a haunting Gaelic love song, though, called "Ho Ro Minion don Bhoidhea," with solo by Imelda Gaffney that was the highlight of the evening. The extraordinarily touching melody and the voice of the soloist were unforgettable. Lively renditions of popular Irish ballads like "Bluebird" changed the tempo while a solo by talented young artist Gavin Sweeney, who sang "If I Were A Rich Man" put a decidedly different spin on an otherwise traditionally Irish performance.
Following the chorale group was the incredibly talented duo of John Wynne (flute) and John McEvoy (fiddle). Guest performer Jacinta McEvoy, wife of John, played a guitar accompaniment, and once the music started, tunes like "Pride of the West" (composed by McEvoy and the title song of the new CD), "King of the Pipers," and "Up Sligo" brought their own accompaniment in the form of toe-tapping, hand-clapping, whoops, and hollers. These traditional Irish jigs and reels had the place "hoppin and rockin."
Closing numbers, traditional Gaelic ballads like harpist O'Carolan's "Madame Maxwell" and "On Lough Erne's Shores" topped off the performance amidst shouts of, "More...More!"
The gifted artistry of McEvoy and Wynne-two of Ireland's foremost musicians-kept the audience not only entertained but thoroughly engaged. Irish or not, this is music that captures the heart, fuels the imagination, and stirs the soul.
How to get there:
From Dublin, N4 to Carrick-on-Shannon, then R280 N to Drumshanbo.
From Belfast, M1/A4 to Enniskillen then to Blacklion. 4km W of Blacklion, take R207 South to Dowra then to Drumshanbo along the Eastern shore of Lough Allen.
Summer Festival Opening Concert
Ramada Lough Allen Hotel
Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim
T: 071 964 0100
Organizer: Mrs. Nancy Woods, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007