NYAH — County Cavan Traditional Festival, March 10th–28th

As Cavan prepares to move centre-stage on the Irish traditional music, song and dance calendar later this year when it hosts the All-Ireland Fleadh, what better way for the Breffni county to get in the mood than through its annual NYAH Festival, which moves into top gear with a packed programme of events between March 10th and 28th.
Indeed, the NYAH Traditional Arts Festival has in its own unique way been bringing towns around Cavan to the centre of the traditional roots music and arts scene for quite some time over the last few years. Now in the seventh year and well established, the festival celebrates the traditional music, song, dance and culture of Co Cavan, placing a strong emphasis on the county’s very own musical style within the Ulster Tradition.
Top of the list in an all-star cast of top-rate artists this year is button accordion legend Joe Burke, who heads a Gala Concert at the Farnham Hotel on Saturday 13th March. Featuring a host of talented performers, many who have great futures ahead of them in the music, this concert, compered by Kieran Hanrahan of RTE’s ‘Ceili House’, will celebrate the election of Cavan’s champion lilter Seamus Fay as All-Ireland Fleadh President 2010 (adm €15, book tickets at 086 234 2270)or at Farnham reception..
Other features over the two and a half weeks of NYAH 2010 include concerts celebrating the musicians of old as well as saluting the up-and-coming performers of the future.
The ‘Celebration of the Music of Eddie Clarke’ at the Ramor Theatre, Virginia on Friday 19th March will pay a well-deserved tribute to the traditional harmonica music of the late, great Eamonn (Eddie) Clarke of Virginia featuring fellow harmonica virtuosos like 12 times All-Ireland champ Noel Battle of Mullingar and Mick Kinsella from Clare, who is also a great exponent of the concertina. This event, hosted by Cavan fiddle king Antóin Mac Gabhann will also mark the launch of a four-CD compilation of Eddie’s tunes and songs (adm €16 and €14, tickets at Ramor Box Office 049 854 7074).
A special Meitheal Summer School 2009 concert in the Farnham Hotel on Friday 12th, hosted by Martin Donohoe, will showcase the talents of the younger musicians from all over Cavan and around the country as well.
If this year’s NYAH festival is a forerunner for the Fleadh, it nonetheless boasts and extensive programme of events around the county in its own right, including sessions in venues like The Widow’s, Belturbet, Smith & Wilson’s and the Farnham in Cavan and Boylan’s of Kilnaleck, and shows like the Dr Brian Galligan Memorial Concert in Kilnaleck on Thursday 25th and the 41st Annual Mullahorn Concert on Sunday 28th March.
Tuesday 23rd will see the NYAH spread its wings, bringing a Cavan flavour to Dublinfor the second time in two months, when ‘A Wild Night of Cavan NYAH’ hits the Button Factory in Temple Bar. The cream of the county’s singers and players will be there, with the old guard Antóin Mac Gabhann and Seamus Fay leading the way in a Fleadh-year celebration of all things Cavan hosted by Martin Donohoe.
The NYAH Festival draws directly on the word “nyah” (pronounced neeyah), a term that describes an Irish music performance that comes from the depths of the heart. It refers to the very expression of the tradition and to the soul and feeling that makes it so unique.…it’s about the lift the music can give to the hardest heart!
The festival is a wonderful community event scattered around the county that uses the pure drop as a magnet to attract musicians and followers to different areas.
So let’s remember to dance and sing, perform, and share our culture for the sheer fun of it.… and to say we are here!
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