The Irish Sea Sessions was an annual event held from 2010 – 2013 bringing together some of the finest traditional musicians from Liverpool, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Irish diaspora, together with singers and songwriters from Liverpool, Ireland and Northern Ireland, to explore and celebrate tunes and both traditional and contemporary songs inspired by Liverpool, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Sea and the shared heritage and connections between them all. The event was devised and produced by Simon Glinn of Liverpool Philharmonic and presented by Liverpool Philharmonic in partnership with Liverpool Irish Festival. The Musical Director was Bernard O’Neill. The Liverpool events were presented as an annual highlight of Liverpool Irish Festival.
The Irish Sea Sessions first convened in Liverpool in October 2010, with a performance at Liverpool Philharmonic on Friday 22nd. The show, and the response of both audience and critics, was tumultuous, with Liverpool Confidential magazine rating the show “15/10 (honest)” There is video footage of the Irish Sea Sessions 2010 on this website, along with downloadable reviews and the programme. A CD of the 2010 event is now released and is available through this website.
The 2011 Irish Sea Sessions were held in Liverpool, Belfast, and Derry/Londonderry. The Liverpool event again drew very positive reviews, with Alan O’Hare of Seven Streets magazine saying “We don’t do marks out of ten here at Seven Streets, but here’s a verdict for you: better than last year,” Liverpool Confidential being slightly more orthodox in awarding 10/10, and the Belfast Telegraph ****
In 2012 the destinations were Liverpool and Belfast; in 2013 the Irish Sea Sessions convened in Liverpool and London Soutbank Centre.
The line up changed every year as the crew of Irish Sea Sessioners developed; for details of everyone who has been involved so far, and 2013’s year’s line up, click here.
CDs of the live recordings for 2010, 2011 and 2012 are available. 2013 was recorded but not released.
In 2014 the Irish Sea Sessions were not convened: Liverpool Philharmonic was undergoing refurbshment, and producer Simon Glinn moved to a new role away from the city.
We’d like to thanks John Johnson, Mark McNulty, Paul McErlane and Simon Glinn for photographs on this site.