Pipes, and Harps, Calling on Achill

Posted in Connect on June 29, 2016.


Renowned Scottish composer, musical director and piper Allan MacDonald, who has been described as ‘the single most important living source of Gaelic musical culture’, is about to embark on a new musical venture which will embrace the rich historical and cultural connections between Achill Island and western Scotland.

MacDonald has been commissioned to compose a suite of music that will premiere at the inaugural Achill International Harp Festival on October 28. The commission, which will result in an arrangement for harp, pipes and traditional ensemble, is the first of its kind to incorporate the vibrant indigenous piping tradition of Achill.

MacDonald is collaborating with harper Laoise Kelly and producer Siobhán O’Malley in devising and staging this production, to be performed by Achill and Mayo musicians and internationally renowned Scottish musicians and singers. 

The Scotsman takes up the position of Artist in Residence in Dooagh, Achill, this week, during which time he will explore the stories and significant events of the shared history, including the seasonal migration to the potato fields in Scotland and the emergence of the vibrant bagpiping tradition.

During his Achill residency, MacDonald will perform live with the great Mayo harper Laoise Kelly in a one-off intimate concert at The Beehive, Keel, on this Thursday, June 30, at 7pm, as a fundraiser for Achill International Harp Festival.

Tickets for Thursday’s performance will be available on the door.

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