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The Irish fiddle player Colm Mac Con Iomaire is probably best known for his work with the Frames.
He’s also toured extensively with Swell Season.
But, like many talented musicians in a band set-up, he’s always had that yearning to produce a solo album that reflects his personal views and vision.
Derry has launched a campaign to host the largest Irish music festival in the world.
The festival, known as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year and pumps an estimated £30m in the economy of the city where it is staged.
No wonder cities from all over Ireland are competing for the honour.
Like many Americans, I grew up with a very fixed idea of Irish traditional singing. I cut my musical teeth on The Irish Rovers, The Dubliners, and The Clancy Brothers in the 1970s, and cherished fond images of someday finding myself singing in an Irish pub, belting out rebel songs and drinking songs, accompanied by guitars, banjos, bodhráns, and tin whistles.
Then I discovered sean-nós singing.
Sean-nós (pronounced shan nohss) means “old style” in Irish. When applied to singing, it refers to the classical style of Irish traditional song: unaccompanied, usually solo, and in the Irish language.
Someday, I’m going to catalogue the responses I get from people when they learn that I taught myself to speak Irish. I don’t imagine there are many languages that elicit such a range of reactions: from obnoxious (people who just have to demonstrate their “Stage Oirish” brogue) to perplexed (“They have their own language?”). The question I get the most often, however, is “Why?”