Next week sees the start of a unique collaboration between two cities on either side of the Irish Sea. In the Stirling & Galway Sessions 2010 a group of 30 musicians, singers, dancers and exhibitors from Conamara, Galway, off-shore islands and the neighbouring counties of Mayo and Clare, will travel to Stirling for the first leg of the festival, opening on June 6th (the Stirling Sessions run from 6th to 12th June then the Galway Sessions run from 13th to 21st June).
Performers taking part in the Stirling shows include the sean-nós dance show Fuaim Chonamara, singers Dessie O’Halloran from Inisbofin, Caitríona Ní Cheannabháin and Don Stiffe, harper Kathleen Loughnane of Dordan, piper Cormac Cannon and the Doherty brothers Tom and Stephen from Foxford, Co. Mayo. They’ll share the stage with luminaries of the Scots tradition such as Iain McFarlane of Blazing Fiddles, Jenna Reid from Shetland, Canty and William Taylor.
The festival will also feature a photographic exhibition at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum by Jane Talbot, capturing an area in Galway City known as The West, entitled ‘Knock knock’. Also at the Smith there will be a daily ‘talk’ series with contributions from Simon O’Dwyer of Ancient Music Ireland, piper Jarlath Henderson, harper Kathleen Loughnane, storyteller Padraig MacNeil and Smith Museum Director Elsbeth King.
The festival crew will then head back to Galway for the second leg of the festival, opening on June 13th with the launch of Grada’s new album Natural Angle. Other highlights of the Galway festival include Shaskeen, Zoe Conway, Jimmy Crowley with Captain Mackey’s Goatskin and String Band. and the Bully Wee Band at the Crane Bar. On Thursday June 17th Galway’s newest venue Monroe’s Live will host a showcase of visiting musicians and performers from Stirling featuring pipers of the Royal Scottish Piping Academy led by Ian MacDonald, the Kinlochard Ceili Band, Champion dancers Narissa Home and Eileen MacRobert and much more, followed by a late night festival Club.
Galway City Museum will host an exhibition titled ‘The Men of Bannockburn’ depicting the men, arms and armour engaged in the Battle of Bannockburn (near Stirling) in 1314. The museum will also host a daily ‘talk’ series with Padraig MacNeil, Kathleen Loughnane and Simon O’Dwyer.
For more details of all the events and venues in both cities, more information about this exciting cultural exchange can be found at www.galwaysessions.com
The festival is funded and supported by Galway City Council, Stirling Council, Failte Ireland, Culture Ireland, Galway City Museum, Hotel Meyrick and DIAGEO.