The Joe Heaney Festival of Traditional Singing takes place this May bank holiday weekend ( May 3 - 6 ) in Carna, Connemara. This festival commemorates the life and musical legacy of the renowned ‘Sean Nós’ singer from Carna, who died in Seattle in 1984.
The festival is held annually in Heaney's honour since 1986. Naturally, the main emphasis is on Sean Nós singing, closely followed by traditional singing in other languages. That said, a strong strand of traditional music and dance runs through the whole weekend.
A wide and varied programme of events is featured with the aim of showcasing the rich musical tradition of the local area and also inviting representatives from other cultures to introduce and share their traditions over the course of the weekend. Apart from lots of informal sessions, this year's programme includes an art exhibition from local school children, workshops, album launch, a traditional concert, a children's singing competition, céilí and a visit to Heaney's grave.
Some of the artists performing at this year's festival include:
Danny O’Mahony and The Shannon Vale Céilí Band (pictured), Cyril O’Donoghue, Johnny Ringo McDonagh, Bríd Ní Mhaoilchiaráin, Seán McKiernan, Emer Mayock, Gearóidín Bhreathnach, Rosie Stewart, Róisín Ní Mhainín, Allan MacDonald, Mairí Smith, Calum Mac Millan, Nathan Pilatzke, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Mick O’Brien & Family, Néillidh & Caoimhe Mulligan, Liz & Yvonne Kane, Toner Quinn, Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Don Stiffe, Marcus Hernon & Family.