This is the fourth year in which we have invited some of the finest acoustic musicians from both sides of the Irish Sea to meet up during Liverpool Irish Festival, to explore some traditional and contemporary songs and tunes, and to present the results in a concert hall setting. As well as presenting the show at Liverpool Philharmonic, we are honoured this year to be invited to appear at London’s Southbank Centre, too.
At the time of writing it is the seventh day of Liverpool Irish Festival 2013, and it’s been amazing so far! So many great concerts already, lots of other activity around the city, and we have met far more visitors from beyond the region and overseas than ever before: so to those joining us from Germany, Belgium, the USA, Spain and of course from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and everywhere else: a very warm welcome! We hope to see you in the Festival Club after the show.
Those who are familiar with previous Irish Sea Sessions proceedings will see that once again we have rotated the squad, with a number of new faces and new musical directions. As ever, we reflect on the sea, emigration and struggle in many of the song choices, including two specially composed pieces: Rob Vincent’s new single Weight of the Sea and High Tide, a musical setting by Emily Portman of lyrics by Birkenhead poet Eleanor Rees, alongside two poignant new songs from Declan O’Rourke that will appear on his next album, Famine.
Through the music we pay special tribute to the late great Sean McNamara, the inspiration for the event, who sadly passed since last year’s Festival. Sean was a gentleman and fiddle-player who attended the 2011 Irish Sea Sessions. He was a founder of Comhaltas Liverpool, a founding board member of Liverpool Irish Festival, and a member of the great Liverpool Ceili Band of the late 1950s & 1960s, several of whose finest tune-sets we will play during the Irish Sea Sessions, reuniting the Coyne Brothers from the generation that Sean so inspired.
Over the next 24 hours we will bring you biographies of this year’s artists and photos from rehearsals today. Stay tuned!
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We hope you enjoy the Irish Sea Sessions 2013!