05/08/2021

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Limerick prepares to host world-renowned fiddle convention

Limerick prepares to host world-renowned fiddle convention

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention is being hosted by the UL-based Irish World Academy of Music and Dance

THE Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in partnership with Limerick City and County Council and Creative Ireland has  announced the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention will take place (virtually) at the University of Limerick later this week.

The convention (NAFCo) is a cultural exchange and meeting place for artists, academics, and enthusiasts that brings together scholars, practitioners, teachers and other stakeholders to share ideas, practices, research and knowledge about the field of fiddle performance and related dance, from the cultures and diaspora of the North Atlantic region.

Uniquely structured, it combines a festival with an academic conference, featuring interactive workshops, concerts, interviews, public lectures, academic papers, and more. 

The showcase of fiddling and dancing was started by Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone Institute in 2011 and has subsequently grown in size to include events in Canada and Scotland.

Among this year’s line-up is Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens and renowned English folk group, The Unthanks.

This year will also feature the acclaimed group The Provenance. Led by Frankie Gavin, The Provenance comprises Sorcha Costello, Eadaoin Ni Mhaicin and Ciara O’Brien, three powerful, highly experienced fiddle players and stars in their own right.

They have won numerous awards and All-Ireland competitions, and toured the world both in a solo capacity and in a range of groups and orchestras.

Speaking ahead of the convention, festival Director Dr Niall Keegan said: “I am delighted to facilitate this year’s event with its focus on the fiddle traditions of the Ireland and our nearby cousins. We are bringing this virtually to the world. Of course, we still miss the opportunity to meet in person but we will continue to show the value of music and place in the new digital spaces we have lived in for the past fifteen months.”

Dr Pippa Little, Culture and Arts Officer and Creative Ireland Programme Co-ordinator, Limerick City and County Council added: “We look forward to this celebration of the fiddle tradition and to developing knowledge and understanding nationally and internationally through this convention, held here digitally in Limerick. For music lovers there are on-line performances and educational materials are available for our schools.”

Dr Sandra Joyce, Director of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance said the convention will be a unique experience and will be presented in a distinctive way given the pandemic.

"A wealth of academic discourse, performances, workshops and more awaits participants, centred on the fiddle and related areas, such as song and dance. We look forward to welcoming the world, virtually, to Limerick for NAFCo 2021,” she said.

The convention is a partnership between the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, Creative Ireland and Limerick City and County Council.

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