TradFest 2020, showcasing the cream of Irish and international trad and folk artists runs from Jan 22 - 26 in Dublin's city center.
Ireland’s largest festival of traditional music, TradFest 2020, is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, running from Jan 22 to 26, and everyone's invited!
Tradfest showcases the cream of both Irish and international trad and folk artists, as well as providing a stage to promote the next generation of Irish musicianship. The Festival is one of the truly unmissable events on the cultural calendar featuring world-class artists, music and stunning venues, including some of Dublin’s most historic places, from the atmospheric Kilmainham Gaol to the grandeur of City Hall.
There is something to suit everyone, from large to intimate concerts, a taste trail, exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, masterclasses, children and family concerts and much more.
This is more than just trad, this is trad without frontiers.
Artists include Stephen Rea, Neil Martin, Matt Molloy, Hothouse Flowers, Jon Boden, and Screaming Orphans, Afro Celt Sound System, Skipinnish and Peatbog Faeries, and Aoife Scott, to name just a very few in the amazing four-day lineup.
For a full program, for tickets and to read more visit www.tradfest.ie.
Here's a full line up of TradFest 2020:
Join Aoife Scott for the launch of her new album at the Button Factory, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99
Catherine McEvoy is one of the most respected musicians of her generation. Join her and multiple All-Ireland winners Pádraig Rynne and Tara Breen at City Hall, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €24.99
Strap yourself in for Hothouse Flowers, whose shows last between two and three hours depending on the level of fever in the room. Alongside them we have Jon Boden, best known as the lead singer of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead and Screaming Orphans, the all-sister band from Donegal, who received their break when Sinead O’Connor asked them to join her on her Gospel Oak tour in Europe and North America. (Olympia Theatre, Doors 7pm / Show 8pm, tickets from €36.99)
Renowned for his eloquent Americana style, when John Craigie plays, it’s one of those special shows that can make you laugh and cry in the same song. He is accompanied by Laura Elizabeth Hughes is an artist fast establishing herself as a rising talent among a fresh new group of emerging Irish songwriters. (Lost Lane, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
Curated by spoken word Poet Stephen James Smith this promises to be a wonderful night of music and poetry. Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella make up the duo Lemoncello, whose sound borrows from traditional and alternative to create an immersive experience through a dynamic expression of lyrical story. Joined by Galway duo The Silken Same who draw on influences that are both familiar and exotic to the ear, with a sound firmly rooted between the traditional and the modern. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €19.99)
Sárán Mulligan is a musician and composer from Dundalk, Co. Louth. His playing style is influenced heavily by his Leitrim roots and he likes to explore the harmonic and rhythmic potential of the concertina in his playing. (City Hall, Doors 12.30pm / Show 1pm, €9.99)
Join the foremost voice of Irish folk song Daoirí Farrell for The Dublin Session, jam-packed with musicians including Sean Keane, Cathy Davey, Caoimhe Hogarty plus Kevin Glackin, Robbie Walsh, Paddy Kiernan, and Sean Potts. (Dublin Castle, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €36.99)
Emma Langford has woven herself into the DNA of the Irish music scene and she is shortlisted this year for Germany’s Eiserner Eversteiner folk prize. She is joined by the talented Katie Theasby, Clare Sands and Saoirse Casey. (Lost Lane, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
Seamie O’Dowd has been performing, broadcasting and recording for the last four decades. Quite simply, this is a hugely impressive musician and singer at the very height of his powers. (City Hall, Doors 12.30pm / Show 1pm, €9.99)
Expect sparks to fly when West Kerry accordionist and singer Séamus Begley joins forces with Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada and California dancer/pianist Samantha Harvey. This trio might be a recent collaboration, but each have a distinguished past within Irish traditional music. They will be joined by critically acclaimed Brona McVittie. (City Hall, Doors 7.30pm / Doors 8pm, €24.99)
Seth Lakeman has accompanied many musical giants including Tori Amos, Clannad, Jools Holland, Runrig, Billy Bragg and Robert Plant. His sound is a no-nonsense, organic, classic folk-rock approach with Lakeman’s trademark foot-stomping, fiddle bow-shredding and soaring vocals. (Button Factory, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €24.99)
Sibéal Ní Chasaide grew up in an environment that was immersed in all things Irish – Irish music, the Irish language, and Irish culture. Her innate mastery of the sean-nós tradition marks her out as a unique talent, with remarkable versatility in capturing mood and tonal quality. She will be joined on the night by The DkIT Ensemble who blend traditional, art music and popular styles while their music draws on an eclectic sound world. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €19.99)
Last Night’s Fun with Stephen Rea, Neill Martin and Matt Molloy, The Belfast poet and musician Ciaran Carson sadly passed away in October 2019. His world was one where a zeal for life fused effortlessly with his seeking out new twists and turns in words and music. In his nine anthologies of poetry and four prose works, music and Belfast were predominant themes. And over the last period of his life, an extraordinary final collection, Still Life, was published the week after his death. His novel, Last Night’s Fun, is an almost Joycean trip through music and musicians and life.
Borrowing the title of that tune and book for this evening’s performance, actor Stephen Rea and musicians Matt Molloy and Neil Martin have drawn from his musings, both poetry and prose, and will through words and music celebrate a life well-lived (6pm, Kilmainham Courthouse, Kilmainham Gaol)
Boxing Banjo is one of the most exciting new acts on the Irish traditional music scene. Together they conjure a unique blend of traditional Irish music and song, old-time and bluegrass music. Connla has been quickly making an impact on the folk/traditional scene with sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs and has enabled them to create a unique and immediately recognizable sound. Réalta is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist group that present an enchanting program of Irish traditional dance music interspersed with the occasional air and song. (Button Factory, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
What do you get if you cross an American bluegrass banjo and an Irish tenor banjo? In the case of Coleraine’s Damien O’Kane and California’s Ron Block you get fireworks – and a spectacular debut duo album that confounds expectations. (Lost Lane, Doors 8.00pm / Show 8.30pm, €24.99)
Doireann Glackin and Sarah Flynn are neighbours hailing from the Northside of Dublin. Their music and their performance is as much rooted in the unique social history surrounding their tunes as it is in the Dublin style of traditional music they play. (City Hall, Doors 12.30pm / Show 1pm, €9.99)
Lisa Lambe is one of Ireland’s most sought after performers both at home and overseas. Described by the Irish Times as “the finest singer and actor of her generation”. She is returning to TradFest 2020 with new music and new songs from her forthcoming album ‘Juniper’. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €21.99)
Join multi-award-winning traditional singer and musician, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, the leading exponent of the sean nós style and one of the most distinctive voices out there. She is accompanied by Gerry O’Beirne, whose own compositions blend the passion found in traditional music with the freshness of contemporary song. (City Hall, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €24.99)
Stockton’s Wing began their musical odyssey in the town of Ennis sometime in 1977, taking their name from the Bruce Springsteen song ‘Backstreets’. They have evolved into an exciting blend of traditional and contemporary Irish music and song, performed with power and precision by some of the finest players in Ireland. They will be joined on the night by Maurice Lennon, Ralph McTell, The Henry Girls, Leslie Dowdall, Tara Breen, Gavin Glass, Phelim Drew and many more. (Dublin Castle, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €36.99)
The Ark presents a series of special gigs for children of all ages from popular and multi-award-winning quintet Goitse, a band at the forefront of new Irish trad music. Performances demonstrate for children the particular skill of traditional musicians for learning and performing music from memory. (The Ark, 24th of January: 10am & 12.15pm, €12.50/€9.50*, 20% off for members)
Don’t miss this special acoustic performance of Barbara Dickson and her pianist Nick Holland explore her catalogue of songs at an intimate level. The intimacy of their musical rapport will doubtless prove contagious for the TradFest audience! (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €34.99)
John Davidson, Shane Booth & Ros O’Meara of Cua bring together dynamic and contrasting instrumentation and vocal arrangements creating an expansive acoustic soundscape - blending guitars, fiddle, bouzouki, percussion, and three-part harmony arrangements to create a world music folk sound that the group call ‘Atlantean’. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 2.30pm / Show 3pm, €14.99)
Recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA in the US, and Ireland’s prestigious Gradam Ceoil award, fiddle legend Kevin Burke is considered one of Irish music’s luminaries. He is acknowledged as a master of the tradition, not to be missed. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 11.30am / Show 12.00pm, €14.99)
An inherently and instinctively musical trio, Maurice Lennon, Ciara Brennan and Chris Dawson combine their unique performative talents to create a dynamic and diverse repertoire of traditional and newly composed music. (Rathfarnham Castle, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
Mícheál Ó Raghallaigh is one of the foremost concertina players of his generation, he is in demand both at home and abroad as a tutor of the concertina. (Rathfarnham Castle, Doors 3.30pm / Show 4pm, €14.99)
An intimate Song Session presented by folk singer Aoife Scott will invite some of the most notable female artists to perform in The Secret Song Circle. (Tailor's Hall, Doors 12:30pm / Show 1:00pm, €15.99)
Virtuoso fingerstyle guitarist and composer Shane Hennessy amazes audiences worldwide. RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan wrote of Shane: “There is part of me that didn’t really believe that he could do what he does on one guitar [...] He is amazing – what a talent!” (Rathfarnham Castle, Doors 12.30pm / Show 1pm, €14.99)
"Songs of Longing" Sean Nós Workshop: Join talented young singer Oonagh McArdle for a workshop that explores the art of Sean-nós. (EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, 2pm, €10.00)
In the space of little more than a decade, Teesside trio The Young’uns, have become one of UK folk music’s hottest properties and best-loved acts. (Button Factory, Doors 8.00pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
In case you didn’t already know, Cherish the Ladies is a Grammy-nominated, Irish-American supergroup that formed in New York City in 1985 to celebrate the rise of women in what had been a male-dominated Irish music scene. Beyond music – theirs is a movement! They will be joined by The Shandrum Céilí Band, one of only a handful of céilí bands in the long history of the coveted Senior Ceilí Band Competition to achieve the elusive “3-in-a-row” and Lau – traditional music’s most celebrated innovators, strip away their banks of electronics, loops and wild effects for a fully acoustic show. (Dublin Castle, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €42.99)
Turin Brakes is an indie band characterised by fine musicianship with an intricate folk sensibility have sold over 1 million records worldwide. They are joined by Sound of the Sirens who have built their fan base through connecting with their audiences with unforgettable performances predicated on energy, warmth, humour and, above all, real conviction. (Lost Lane, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €21.99)
25 / 26 January
Join the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra of Ireland and special guests for a fitting and unique tribute to some of the seminal moments of Kilmainham Gaol’s history. (Kilmainham Gaol, €24.99)
Children’s Crafts Club: Try your hand at a variety of fun crafts using different materials. Children Ages 4+. Drop-in sessions will take approx. 30 minutes; last session starts 4.30pm (The Ark, 12 – 5pm, Free entry)
Give Trad a Try: Have a go at playing traditional music on one of a range of instruments at our popular drop-in sessions for beginners. (The Ark, 11am-1pm, Free entry)
Winners of the Songlines 2017 Best Group award and nominated for the same in the 2019 Awards, Afro Celt Sound System have forged a reputation for energetic and uplifting shows. Skipinnish are without a doubt one of Scotland’s most exciting exports, with a strong mix of powerful bagpipe, fiddle and accordion led tune sets, they encompass the very best of traditional and contemporary Scottish music. Likewise, Peatbog Faeries have created a glorious mixture of traditional sounds and dance-floor grooves that have been embraced worldwide. This is set to be an unforgettable night! (Olympia Theatre, Doors 7pm / Show 8pm, tickets from €27.99)
Della Mae has established a reputation as a charismatic live act comprised of some of the finest players in bluegrass, Americana and beyond. (Lost Lane, Doors 8pm / Show 8.30pm, €19.99)
Louise Mulcahy is an internationally renowned performer and tutor on both uilleann pipes and flute, she has been hailed a virtuoso and one of the finest of her generation. (Rathfarnham Castle, Doors 3.30pm / Show 4pm, €14.99)
Maria Doyle Kennedy is an acclaimed singer and actor, expect a passionate performance from this consummate pro. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 7.30pm / Show 8pm, €24.99)
‘Just about the best Tin Whistle player this century’ is how the Irish Times referred to Mary Bergin in a recent interview. Her appearance is obligatory for all fans of the whistle. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 2.30pm / Show 3pm, €14.99)
Michelle Mulcahy is one of Ireland’s most talented multi-instrumentalists in Irish traditional music today. Her array of instrumental mastery spans concertina, harp, fiddle, accordion, piano and melodeon, a player at the very top of her craft. (Rathfarnham Castle, Doors 12.30pm / Show 1pm, €14.99)
Tim Edey is rated by many to be one of the world’s finest ever Melodeon and Guitar players in the folk & contemporary scene. His live solo shows are a stunning mix of world music, inspired instrumental virtuosity and passion with a strong Celtic theme. (Pepper Canister Church, Doors 11.30am/ Show 12.00pm, €14.99)
Children’s Open Trad Sessions: If you’re aged 6+ and play an instrument, this is your chance to come and play in a real trad session! Please note that the session is not suitable for beginners, it is recommended for children who have been learning music for one year or more. (The Ark, Sun Jan 26: 12.30 – 2pm, Free entry)
Family Workshop: The Ukulele Céilí: Learn to play a well-known céilí tune on the ukulele. You’ll also learn the steps of an Irish céilí dance to go with the music. (The Ark, 2.30pm, €11.50/€8.50* (20% discount for Members)
For a full program, for tickets and to read more visit www.tradfest.ie.