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May 9 2021 - May 15 2021
Lucie Azconaga, Josh O'Keefe,
Fiachra O'Regan, Alana & Leigh Cline
|Varo are Lucie
Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi, a fiddle and vocal
duo who perform traditional Irish songs and tunes with
arrangement influences from the baroque and classical
traditions. Lucie, from France, and Consuelo, from Italy,
met in 2015 after moving to Dublin to pursue their love
for Irish traditional music, and immediately started a
As they release their eponymous debut album, Lucie writes for Culture about their musical journey.
They met about 5 years ago in Dublin after moving from France and Italy, sitting beside each other at a session in The Cobblestone pub, in Smithfield. This place became a second home for both of them from the day they arrived, and it still is. They became instant friends and decided that they wanted to play music together.
Many years ago the late British humorist Neil Innes released a single in which his character induced some discordant notes from his harmonica and acoustic guitar before declaring: “I’ve suffered for my art. Now it’s your turn.” That was a parody of Bob Dylan. And very funny it was too. What young Nashville-based British singer-songwriter Josh Okeefe offers on his debut album is a pastiche.
From the carefully throwaway clothes on his back to the cap on his head; from the simple urgency of his acoustic guitar and harmonica to the directness of his world-weary voice; from the way his songs don’t hesitate as they pick their way through the moral maze of the world as we knew it (pre-Covid-19), Okeefe evokes the spirit of Dylan circa 1963, the year he released his first album of self-penned songs, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. So welcome to the latest in a long line of new Dylans. Good luck with that.
“Fiachra’s piping is particularly impressive, sometimes wild like Paddy Keenan, sometimes more delicately restrained like Liam O’Flynn could be, and always spot on”
“Fiachra’s pipes shine on the modern irish jig Sport”
“…O’Regan’s piping is characteristically subtle, unfussily anchoring the trio…”
The Irish Times
Fiachra O‘Regan, from Connemara, on the West Coast of Ireland, plays Irish music on the Uilleann Pipes and Whistle, He is a senior All Ireland Champion on both these intruments. Fiachra has performed throughout the world, touring in his own group as well as with many other artists and groups. He is also saught after as a teacher in private lessons and at festivals. In 2008, Fiachra recorded Aisling Gheal, his first solo album, and has since recorded three albums with quebecois fiddler Sophie Lavoie, as well as appearing as a guest on many other albums. More info can be found on his website: www.fiachrapipes.com.
Alana & Leigh Cline are a Toronto-based Celtic fiddle & guitar instrumental duo who combine Irish, Cape Breton and Scottish styles to create their own sound. They also include occasional Balkan tunes in their sets. The duo specializes in telling the history and stories behind tunes and musical styles, and many of their tunes are from the 1700s and 1800s. They also specialize in performances and workshops comparing different Celtic fiddle musical traditions.
Having performed in Canada and the US, a small selection of performances include the Great American Irish Festival, Celtic Island Music Festival, Trenton Scottish Irish Festival, Irish Real Life Festival, Chris Langan Weekend, City of Toronto's Canada Day Celebrations, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Music Niagara, Toronto Public Library, Burlington Public Library, folk clubs, and at private corporate events for Tourism Ireland, Corus Entertainment,
Enterprise Ireland, Maple Leaf Foods, and Destination Halifax.
Alana & Leigh have a self-titled CD.
Alana first started playing at the age of 8 under the tutelage of Cape Breton fiddler Sandy MacIntyre. Alana also studied privately with All-Ireland Fiddle Champion Maeve Donnelly over a period of two years. Alana is currently studying the North-East Scottish fiddle style with Paul Anderson, whose teaching lineage goes back directly to Niel Gow and the Golden Age of Scottish fiddle music. She has augmented her playing style with private lessons from Irish fiddlers Kevin Burke, Liz Carroll, Tony DeMarco and Patrick Ourceau. In 2008 Alana became the first Canadian to be accepted to the auditioned Meitheal School of Irish Traditional Music in Limerick, Ireland with Paul O'Shaughnessy of Altan as one of her instructors. She has also studied fiddle at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts in St. Ann's, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
Leigh was part of the Toronto/Yorkville folk scene of the 1960s, travelling throughout North America as a folk music performer. For the Mariposa Folk Festival, in the '60s and '70s, Leigh was Artistic Director, Stage Manager and Technical Director, and did World Music Research. Leigh was able to learn musical styles and guitar firsthand from the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White, Maybelle Carter, Lonnie Johnson, Bill Munroe, Merle Travis and Doc Boggs. He also worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation doing music research for TV documentaries.
Leigh was sound engineer for many performers including The Chieftains, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, John Allan Cameron, Fleetwood Mac, Aly Bain and the Boys of the Lough, Procol Harum, Bruce Cockburn, Rod Stewart, as well as touring with Ian & Sylvia & The Great Speckled Bird.
For many years he worked in Greece and Turkey with top folk and nightclub singers and musicians. These included Nikos Xilouris, Domna Samiou, Stathis Nikolaidis, Tasos Halkias and Mihalis Kaliontzidis, as well as many others, both in the folk and bouzouki nightclub genres.
Leigh is the author, with fiddler Sandy MacIntyre, of the Mel Bay publication “Cape Breton Traditional Style Fiddle Sets with Guitar Tablature”. Leigh has three solo CDs “Orient Express”; “Galatia”, a Celtic/Pontic Greek fusion CD single; and “Al Asha Bi Daha”, all of which are available on iTunes.