Ireland in Song and Story – A Concert with the Council of Irish Counties.

The Council of Irish Counties held a wonderful evening of song and story at the London Irish Centre on Friday 11th November. The night was full of music, recitations, short drama pieces, comedic compere’s and intergenerational performances.

The night was opened by Hackney School of Folk Music. HSOF is a local music school that teaches fiddle, tin whistle, guitar, cello, bodhran and song. They use the traditional method of learning by ear, (so no pesky bits of paper to get in the way!) and welcome students of all abilitles whoa re aged 8+. Their set included songs, solos and tune sets and went down a storm. The audience thoroughly enjoyed seeing and hearing the school perform, and the confidence and abilities of all the students was something really special to see. Congratulations to them all!

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HSOF were joined at the end of their set by the Irish Pensioners’ Choir for a special intergenerational performance of Patrick Kavanagh’s ‘Raglan Road’. Seeing musicians of ages 8-90 perform together was a truly special experience. There are more planned collaborations between these two groups, so watch this space!

The Irish Pensioners Choir closed the first half with a set full of songs that celebrates the different counties in Ireland including ‘My Donegal’, ‘Cunla’, ‘Ill tell me ma’, and ‘Galway Bay’. The choir were in fine voice and had the crowd singing along and shouting for more!

Billy Faughnan and Tom Wheeler closed the night with renditions of Fields of Athen Rye as the flags of all the Irish counties for processed around the McNamara Hall, and the National Anthem.

Both the Hackney School of Folk and the Irish Pensioners Choir very much enjoyed being part of this wonderful evening. Thank you to the Council of Irish Counties for asking both groups to be part of it. We hope there will be more collaborations in the future.

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