London-based trad musicians star in new series exploring Irish music strongholds

London-based trad musicians star in new series exploring Irish music strongholds

A TELEVISION series which explores lesser-known traditional Irish music strongholds returns this week with a vibrant opening episode from London.

TG4's Ceolaireacht, which means ‘musical wanderings’ in Irish, is led by presenter Doireann Ní Ghlacáin.

In it, the fiddle-player takes her bicycle and sets off across Ireland – and further afield – to find the finest purveyors of trad music, who may not be where we expect to find them.

Following the success of the first series, which aired in October 2022, the second series will begin this weekend, featuring a range of familiar faces from the London Irish music scene.

Presenter Doireann Ní Ghlacáin is back for a second series of Ceolaireacht

Flautist Eimear McGeown is one of the stars of the first episode.

Born in Armagh but now based in London for many years, the award-winning musician has carved a hugely successful career with her versatile musical talents.

She has also cultivated a niche offering as a leading and much-sought after figure in both classical and traditional music circles.

Karen Ryan also features in the show. Born in London, to parents hailing from Mayo and Galway, Ms Ryan is a leading figure within the capital’s trad music scene.

An accomplished musician - and founding member of iconic trad band The London Lasses - she is alsao the founder and director of the Return to London Town Festival, which draws thousands of people to the capital each year for an event celebrating the best of traditional Irish music, song and dance.

Elsewhere, while in London, Ní Ghlacáin meets with the social historian Reg Hall, who was instrumental in the iconic recording 'Paddy in the Smoke', which captured the vibrancy of London's Irish music scene in 1968.

Later, during a visit to London’s renowned Irish pub, Brendan the Navigator in Highgate Hill, the presenter meets musicians Seáinín Phat Mhaidhle from Conamara and James Óg Carty, a talented fiddle player from the Carty family.

Presenter Doireann Ní Ghlacáin with musician Karen Ryan at the Irish London Centre

Announcing the new series this week, a TG4 spokesperson confirmed: “While Sliabh Luachra, Co. Clare, and Donegal are famous for their recognisable regional styles, Doireann is determined to uncover emerging uncelebrated and styles in other parts of the country, such as North Tipperary, Cork City, North Mayo, and even London.”

They add: “The series reflects the current renaissance of traditional Irish music, experiencing a flourishing resurgence throughout the country and beyond.

“Particularly noteworthy is the growing interest and innovation among the younger generation,” they explain.

“Traditional music, once confined to small pockets, is now thriving and captivating a whole new audience.”

Doireann Ní Ghlacáin pictured with musicians James Carty and Seánín Phat Mhaidhle

Later in the series, which airs every Sunday for four weeks, Ní Ghlacáin returns to Ireland where she explores the traditional music styles of North Tipperary, Cork, and Mayo.

There conversations with a diverse array of musicians and singers, including Jackie Daly, Matt Cranitch and Laoise Ni Chinnéide, as well as vocalists Con Fada Ó Drisceoil, Astrid Ní Mhongáin and Cáit Ní Riain, provide insights into the regional styles of their respective areas.

Directed by Feilimí O’Connor and produced by Edel Ní Churraoin, Ceolaireacht premieres on TG4 on Sunday, January 21 at 9.45pm and at 9.30pm on the following three Sundays.