Celtic connections to celebrate music and common culture

Capercaillie'Yn Chruinnaght

Capercaillie'Yn Chruinnaght

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YN Chruinnaght, the annual Manx Inter-Celtic festival, kicks off on Monday, with what promises to be an action-packed programme.

Around 50 performers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany will be participating in this year’s festival, as well as a host of Manx artists.

Landat Moisson

Landat Moisson

Monday (July 18) sees a prestigious opening to the festival, when internationally renowned Scottish super-group Capercaillie perform at the Villa Marina in Douglas.

Support will be from David Kilgallon and Some Thoroughly Nice Folk – a new collaboration between some first-class Manx musicians.

Tickets for Capercaillie start at £16, and can be bought at the Villa Marina box office on 600555 or at www.villagaiety.com

On Tuesday (July 19), the festival heads to Ramsey for the Ian O’Leary Lecture, held at Ramsey Town Hall at 7.30pm.

Guidewires'Yn Chruinnaght

Guidewires'Yn Chruinnaght

This year’s speaker is Cass Meurig, a respected academic and performer from Wales. She will be giving a lecture recital on ancient Celtic instrument the crwth and Welsh music in general.

The talk is free and provides a unique chance to hear this stringed, fiddle-like instrument being played.

Afterwards, there is a chance to join in a singing session at the Brittania Hotel in Ramsey. This will be led by Manx choir Cliogaree Twoaie and starts at 9pm. Bring a song to share, join in the choruses, or simply sit back and listen!

Then the ever-popular Breton Dance Night takes place at the Freemason’s Hall in Ramsey on Wednesday (July 20) at 8pm. Tickets cost £5 or £3.

Music will comes from talented Breton duo Landat-Moisson, led by well-known singer, Lors Landat, who has previously appeared at Yn Chruinnaght.

Also performing will be Manx dance group Ny Fennee and young Irish band Mo Chara.

Making a welcome return to the festival will be The Whitehouse Experience, a group of friends who have been playing Manx music together in sessions for more than 40 years.

During the afternoons of Thursday (July 21) and Friday (July 22) there will be regular bite-sized performances at the House of Manannan in Peel by Irish band Mo Chara.

And on the Thursday evening there will be a free concert of Celtic music at St John’s Church, starting at 7.30pm.

This has always proved a popular concert in the past, so get there early to ensure a seat.

There will be an eclectic mixture of music from around the Celtic world, including Cornish pipe music, Irish unaccompanied singing and another chance to see Cass Meurig play the crwth.

From Friday (July 22), the festival box office will then be open all day in the Atholl Room of the Centenary Centre in Peel. Drop in to buy tickets, Yn Chruinnaght merchandise and a range of CDs.

At 6pm that evening, there will be a free talk by Mererid Hopwood in the Atholl Room, entitled Singing in Chains: the Art of Welsh Poetry.

Mererid is a Welsh poet, academic and TV presenter, who has the distinction of being the first woman to win the bardic Chair at the Eisteddfod Geneglaethol.

Following this the superb Irish band Guidewires will be performing at the centre at 8pm. Tickets cost £12.50 or £7.50.

Guidewires play a lively mix of music from Ireland and Brittany, as well as their own original material. Supporting them will be new Manx band Scammylt, led by talented Manx fiddler Katie Lawrence.

Yn Chruinnaght then hits Douglas on Saturday (July 23) for a day of dancing.

There will be displays at the War Memorial on Douglas promenade and on North Quay (outside St Matthew’s Church) starting at midday and 2pm.

The dance groups involved will be Perree Bane and the Manx Folk Dance Society from the Isle of Man, Kemysk from Cornwall, and Shoostring, a troupe of Appalachian clog dancers from Wales.

Kemysk and Shoostring are also holding a free dance workshop at St Matthew’s Hall at 3.30pm, where people have the opportunity to learn some of the dances they might have seen in the displays.

Another workshop on Saturday is being held at Douglas Masonic Hall at 6pm. Declan Dillon from Irish band Mo Chara is offering people the chance to try the Irish bagpipes. He is bringing some practice sets over with him. Anyone is welcome to have a go.

Saturday’s entertainment will then be rounded off with a Giant Ceili in Douglas Masonic Hall, starting at 8pm. Tickets cost £6 or £4.

Shoostring and Kemysk will give displays, before a ceili led by Kemysk, and the Tarroo Marroo band from the Isle of Man. There will be an optional fancy dress theme based around flags from the Celtic countries!

The final day of the festival, Sunday (July 24), starts off in Ramsey, with a relaxed afternoon of music and dance in the Mooragh Park, starting at 2pm.

Performing at the outdoor bandstand will be Shoostring, Ny Fennee, Kemysk, and the popular Ellan Vannin Pipes and Drums.

The festival finishes on a high note, with the beautiful Gaelic singer, Maeve Mackinnon performing at the Centenary Centre in Peel at 8pm. Tickets cost £12.50 or £7.50.

Maeve has been recognised in the Traditional Music Awards and as Gaelic Singer of the Year. Support will be provided by Manx band Staa.

For more details on the festival and the performers visit www.ynchruinnaght.com or search for Yn Chruinnaght on Facebook.

Tickets are available from Shakti Man (Ramsey), Celtic Gold (Peel), Thompson Travel (Port Erin) and Peter Norris Music and Mostly Manx (Douglas).

Alternatively, phone the Yn Chruinnaght hotline on 425957 for more information and tickets.

The festival is offering a special discount to people buying tickets for both Guidewires and Maeve Mackinnon. The price for both concerts is £22 or £14.

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