On tap online: ‘Refractions’ and ‘Masters of Tradition’

Martin Hayes is artistic director for the "Masters of Tradition" series, and will be appearing in the first two installments. 

 “Virtual Celtic” explores online concerts, festivals, workshops, and other events that feature or include Celtic music. Please note that details may have changed, or the events may have been postponed or cancelled, since press time.  

•Dublin’s National Concert Hall and the Arts Council’s “Refractions” concert series includes the return of its “Tradition Now” showcase from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3, with an impressive array of performances that will be available online:

“The Golden Thread,” with Iarla Ó Lionaird and Steve Cooney – the former being an outstanding Gaelic singer who has been part of Afro Celtic Sound System and, more recently, The Gloaming; the latter one of the more ubiquitous and talented guitar players in the Irish folk/trad music revival. They’ll be joined by pianist Ryan Molloy, who bridges traditional Irish and classical music. 

Edwina Guckian, an acclaimed Irish dance performer and teacher who’s appeared with the likes of Altan, De Danann, and Dervish, among others; and All-Ireland champion concertina player Caitlín Nic Gabhann, one-third of the popular music, song and dance trio The High Seas.

Andy Irvine, who presumably shouldn’t need much in the way of an introduction by now, presenting “The Woody Guthrie Project” with fiddler/mandolinist/guitarist Rens van der Zalm.

Thomas McCarthy, who carries on the Irish Traveller song and storytelling tradition of his family, and was the 2019 TG4 Gradam Ceoil Singer of the Year award winner.

Austrian-born fiddler Claudia Schwab, noted for her genre-crossing works and collaborations with many Irish artists, including Dervish’s Cathy Jordan, who’ll be joining her for the premiere of Schawb’s commission, which draws on the rich, ancient mythology abundant in the landscape of her newly found home in Sligo. 

Clare concertina player Jack Talty, leading an ensemble in a collaboration that “honors the centrality of solo performance while also exploring sympathies between traditional ensemble playing and minimalist composition” – and inspired by the playing of the late, beloved uilleann piper Liam O’Flynn, no less.

You can buy tickets to catch the livestream of these events at  nch.ie/Online.

•The all-virtual West Cork Music “Masters of Tradition” weekly series also gets under way at the end of September, beginning on the 29th with a “conversation” between County Clare fiddler Martin Hayes – the series’ artistic director – and American/old-timey fiddler and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky (who’s a member of Irish/American/pan-European band Mozaik, with Andy Irvine, Rens van der Zalm, Donal Lunny and Nikola Parov).

On Oct. 6, Hayes will team up with aforementioned guitarist Steve Cooney and uilleann piper David Power, whose resumé includes appearances in theatrical productions (“Love’s Pure Light,” “The Field”) and with poets like Kerry Hardie and Clodagh Beresford-Dunne.

Musical settings of poems by William Butler Yeats will be in the spotlight on Oct. 13, with Irish singer and composer Christine Tobin, guitarist Phil Robson , and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turris. The program focuses on the full spectrum of Yeats’s poetry and draws on folk, jazz and 20th-century classical influences. 

A fascinating mix of genres and sounds for Oct. 20, as David Power adds his uilleann pipes to John Walsh’s flamenco guitar and Marja Gaynor’s baroque violin, integrating Irish, contemporary, baroque, and 19th-century music. 

Steve Cooney is back on Oct. 27 with accordionist Derek Hickey (formerly of De Dannan and Arcady) alongside Doireann Ní Ghríofa, a poet who writes in English and Gaelic and has six books of poetry to her credit as well as the award-winning “A Ghost in the Throat,” a blend of memoir, literary studies and autofiction. 

Each “Masters of Tradition” concert will be broadcast twice: first in Irish Standard Time (GMT +1) and then again in US/Eastern Time. Concerts will be available to view on demand for a period of 48 hours following the North American broadcast. For tickets, go to ourconcerts.live/masters; for more on the series, see www.westcorkmusic.ie/masters-of-tradition/programme.