Young musicians from across Ireland descended on County Laois this Halloween for the annual Tionól, the world’s only festival for Harp & Pipes.
Music Generation Laois were delighted to finally to host their annual gathering again through to face-to-face performances and real-life music making
The weekend itself, sandwiched between International Harp Day and International Uileann Piping Day, celebrated these unique and ancient genres through a series of dedicated music workshops for young harpers and pipers.
"This is where all the Music Generations of Ireland come together to share music, share creative ideas and compose new pieces of music to release with the world." Oisin – Music Generation Louth
A series of workshops was led by a feast of well-known musicians including Michael Rooney , Catriona McKay, Siobhan Buckley, Niamh O’Brien, Jill Devlin, Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla, Grainne Hambly and William Jackson on harp, and Pádraig McGovern, Joseph Byrne, Alain Carroll and Leonard Barry on uilleann pipes.
The busy weekend of workshops culminated with a live and streamed concert in The Malt House, in Stradbally showcasing new harp music by music-by-Music Generation Louth, Waterford, Laois, Clare and Mayo composed in collaboration with Catriona McKay, Artistic Director of the Tionól ’21 Harp Programme. Young pipers from Waterford, Sligo, Tipperary and Laois performed arranged music they rehearsed with guest piper from Co. Monaghan, Pádraig McGovern.
Pipers and harpers also came together and performed a beautiful rendition of ‘The Eagle’s Whistle.’ The livestream concert also included collaborations with Liam Ó Maonlaí of the Hot House Flowers and double bassist Martin Brunsden, joined by Music Generation Laois percussionist Ros O’Meara. A very special part of the Saturday evening concert included a performance of Liam Ó Maonlaí’s ‘Worry Not’ accompanied by over 30 young harpers.
"‘Tional 2021 has been a most magical weekend. We kept Tionól going by moving online in 2020, and I think that really helped sustain our connection with young harpers and pipers across Ireland. We are delighted to say that over 110 young people took part in Tionól 2021.’" Rosa Flannery, Music Development Officer with Music Generation Laois
The festival ended with a series of closing parties, a student closing party in the Hall of Dunamase College Tower Hill campus, featuring Catriona McKay on harp, Leonard Barry on pipes joined by the wonderful Shetland fiddle player, Chris Stout. The trio took to the stage once again on Sunday evening for a Tionól ’21 Closing Party in Andy Bergin’s bar, bringing Tionól ’21 to a brilliant musical finalé.
Participating Music Generations in Tionól ‘21 included Louth, Mayo, Waterford, Clare, Sligo, Tipperary, Donegal and Laois.
Music Generation Laois’ Annual Tionól is funded by the Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership Creativity and Collaboration Fund. Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, initiated by Music Network and Co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, and the Department of Education. Locally Music Generation Laois is part of Laois Offaly ETB and supported by Laois County Council.
See musicgenerationlaois.ie for more details.