Friday, 15 March 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day weekend!

Dear readers, I have put together a posting to highlight some of the activities this weekend. Besides the usual green beer swilling (I'm not really into it and never was!) there are some family activities available sans the green beer (and by the way, the beer isn't green in Ireland...). Still, if you're of legal age, have a few pints, and enjoy them responsibly. Let's not be reading about you in the news on Monday!

The Irish Society of the National Capital Region (ISNCR) has been going all week long so far, and tomorrow (Sat. 16th) is the big parade in downtown Ottawa. The Parade will leave the intersection of Laurier Avenue West and Elgin St at 11:00 AM, and proceed west on Laurier Avenue West, turn right on Bank St., then left on Wellington St., and continue west on Wellington St. to an area near the Library and Archives Canada building, arriving there at approximately 12:00 – 12:30. After the parade, revellers will make their way by any route back to St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts for the annual Grand Irish Party. St. Brigid's is also home of the National Irish Canadian Cultural Centre – a likely place to hold a St. Patrick’s Parade Party. The Party will run from 12 noon until 4:00 PM, with food and beverage service provided by St. Brigid’s (I haven't checked...will the beer be the horrid green?). Get the black stuff, better for you anyway!

On Saturday night the other major Irish organisation in Ottawa, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE), is hosting their annual St. Patrick's Day Ceili and Dinner at Blessed Sacrament Church, 194 Fourth Ave in the Glebe at 6PM. This is a major event, with approximately 150 people served a delicious catered multicourse meal, followed by a large Irish ceili at 8PM. Paying for the dinner gets you into the ceili. But if you skip the dinner, your entry to the ceili will depend on the number of people in the hall when you arrive to keep within fire limits. The ceili will involve all participants young and old dancing to a large and live ceili band playing all traditional Irish dance tunes. At the halftime break there will be live entertainment from an outside group, typically Irish dancing, or a musical troupe, all of high calibre. Yet another break typically occurs at around 10:30pm where members provide free of charge tea and home made Irish soda bread with jam and cheese. These events generally have a cash bar as well, but it is not a drinking event, there are many children and the events are quite family friendly. I hear that the event is practically sold out, as it does EVERY YEAR!

On Sunday, which is actually Saint Patrick's Day, there are the usual packed bars offering liquid refreshments and live, overly amplified, music, and there are still a few places where one's sanity may remain in tact. First, start off your morning by listening to the weekly Irish radio program on CHIN FM,  The Gaelic Hour with host Austin Comerton at 8-10AM.

There is the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon, Noon to 3PM, at St. Brigid's Centre (Kildare Room), 310 St. Patrick Street at Cumberland street. Enjoy live entertainment, song and dance. Seating is limited seating and advanced ticket sales only ($35.00).  With hardly a half-hour to spare, the 2013 Rose of Tralee Ottawa Centre Selection takes place at the official Residence of the Irish Ambassador, Park Road, Rockcliffe Park at 3:30 PM. During the selection one of 9 extremely bright and talented young woman will be selected to represent Ottawa at the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Ireland in August. Attend this afternoon reception and enjoy onstage interviews and party pieces of all Ottawa Rose applicants. Interviews will be conducted by CTV's Michael O'Byrne. Refreshments will be provided and a portion of event proceeds going to the Ottawa Valley Aid for Chernobyl Children. Finally, if you can't make it out to any of the fancy events, on March 17 head over to Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Pub on 1211 Wellington west, near Parkadale (the bowling alley and Fil's Diner) and listen to some authentic Irish music, un-amplified, with the regular session players (they are also there every Thursday night!). They are supposed to play around 3PM. If you miss it, there's no guarantee of hearing some traditional music.

If you really want to hear the very best in Irish traditional music this March, on Tuesday 26 March head down to St. Brigid's and listen to Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly on fiddle and accordion. These are two very famous Irish musicians with an impeccable background and musical pedigree. For more information, see the story in this blog, as it is presented by Irish Music Ottawa! This really will be the absolute best quality in Irish traditional music you will hear in Ottawa this spring. Advance tickets are highly discounted!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, and if you must drink, drink responsibly!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Atlantic Voices Choral Composition Contest 2013

Atlantic Voices: The Newfoundland and Labrador Choir of Ottawa is a mixed-voice (SATB) community choir that sings music from and about Atlantic Canada. This is our third Choral Composition Contest, and the choir is looking for quality choral music with an East Coast flavour. We are offering two prizes, a 1st prize of $500 and a 2nd prize of $200, for original choral works by Canadian composers. The winning works will be programmed on Atlantic Voices' Spring 2014 concert. This competition is open to all residents of Canada, of all backgrounds and all ages. Note:
the winning entrant need not have a particular connection to the Atlantic region.

Contest submissions must fall into one of the following categories:
a) An arrangement of a folksong or set of folksongs from one of the Atlantic Provinces (Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward Island);
b) An original choral composition based on a text with an obvious direct connection to Canada's East Coast. This may include a text by an East Coast writer or a text with Atlantic Canadian subject matter. 

If in doubt concerning the suitability of a proposed text, please contact for clarification.

All styles of composition will be considered, but one of the judging criteria is the suitability of the work for performance by Atlantic Voices, so entrants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with our choir and particularly with some of our recent concert programmes. In addition, although all submissions will be accepted and adjudicated equally, entrants are strongly encouraged to avoid submitting new arrangements of songs which have already been repeatedly arranged for choral performance or songs which Atlantic Voices has previously performed on multiple occasions. For a list of choral arrangements that Atlantic Voices has performed please visit our website:

Contest entries must be received electronically or postmarked no later than October 31st, 2013. Late submissions will not be accepted. Changes or modifications to any submitted score will be accepted until midnight on the closing day of the contest, October 31, 2013.

If mailing your work, please send one copy of each entry to:
Atlantic Voices Choral Composition Contest 2013
82 Prince Albert Street
Ottawa, ON
K1K 2A1

Submissions in .pdf format are also welcome.

For more information (much has been edited out of the above text): and cc

Thurlough O'Carolan and The Italians, a concert, 23 March 2013

Thourlough O'Carolan and the Italians: The Life and Times of an Irish Harper and his Italian Contemporaries, Marcello, Geminiani and Tartini.

There are many of Carolan's compositions on the program, music that he wrote for patrons and friends.  The Baroque Italian music which he so admired and which influenced his musical style is also represented. Tickets are available at Granata Music on Merivale as well as at the Leading Note and The Folklore Centre. There will be a ticket draw at the concert. The door prize is Canadian author Charles Foran's novel " Carolan's Farewell."

Performers: Mary Muckle, harp & Harpsichord; Kirsten Carlton, flute; Kelly Aminian, Kahlan Miron, harps; and Doug Brierly, violin.

Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 pm
St. Luke's Anglican Church,
760 Somerset St. W
Tickets $12, $10 for seniors and students
For more information, call 613-825-1379

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly in Concert - Tuesday 26 March 2013

Please join us on Tuesday March 26 to enjoy the music of master fiddler Matt Cranitch and master accordion player Jackie Daly at St. Brigid's Centre for the Arts (also home of the National Irish-Canadian Cultural Centre) - Doors at 7PM (entrance to Kildare Room via Cumberland St.). We are very lucky to have these two world reknown musicians come to Ottawa so close to St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

To understand the breadth of Matt's experience, you really must visit his excellent webpage, where you will find a wealth of inspiration, and a long list of very good reasons to go to this concert! Suffice it to say, Matt has won many awards, featured on many recordings, television and radio appearances, festivals throughout the world, and given master classes and lectures on all aspects of traditional Irish music. Now we come to Jackie Daly. So many of the top musicians in Ottawa have told me that Jackie Daly is quite possibly the best traditional Irish accordion player alive today. These local thoughts are totally commensurate with his world reknowned playing. Like so many top performers, Jackie knows and lives the music, and the music comes from the heart, never overstated, smoothly and richly played, and with nothing more to prove to anyone. His past 'gigs' include stints with such iconic super-groups in Irish music covering the last 40 years such as De Danann, Patrick Street, Buttons and Bows, Arcady, Reel Union and Kinvara, higlighting his versatility. He is truly legendary.

In 2010 Matt and Jackie, with Paul De Grae (guitar) and Bríd Cranitch (piano), cut a highly acclaimed recording, The Living Stream, available for purchase at CD Baby, and no doubt for purchase at the concert. Borrowing from Matt's website . . . In the booklet accompanying the album, Jackie Small, of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, states the following:
On this CD, two of the most prestigious performers of Irish traditional music, Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly, join together to celebrate their common musical heritage – the Sliabh Luachra tradition. Each in his own right has had a long and distinguished career in Irish music; each has left a lasting influence on that tradition.”

We hear sparkling dance tunes in all the favourite rhythms of Sliabh Luachra – polkas, jigs, slides, hornpipes and reels. An integral part of the Sliabh Luachra tradition was a wonderfully rich culture of playing slow airs, and both the musicians on this CD are acknowledged masters of the slow air. This CD contains a superb example of slow-air playing from each of them.
Tickets are available onlineheavily discounted ($15 and $22) for advance purchase (hint hint) at:
Irish Music Ottawa is volunteer run and non-profit.
All profits go to the musicians.
See you there!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Irish Music Workshops with Steafan Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins - 10 March (Kingston)

Irish Music Workshops with
Steafan Hannigan and Saskia Tomkins
202 Main Street, Barriefield(Kingston)

Sunday, March 10.
· Bodhrán, 12 to 1:30. top end or single stick $15
· Flute, whistle and low whistle, 1:30 – 2:30 ...ornamentation ...breathing and tunes techniques part 1 $10

· Fiddle Technique, 12: 1:30, with Saskia Tompkins $10

All levels can be accommodated. We will have extra bodhráns to lend if you want to try one out. And if you'd like to try a whistle, very inexpensive whistle will be available

Steafan Hannigan is a renowned multi-instrumental musician, playing among others, the Bodhrán, Uilleann Pipes, flute, whistle, and guitar. He created the Bodhrán DVD, the premier tutor for the bodhrán. He has performed with the Chieftains, Loreena McKennitt, Michael Flatley, Uriah Heep, Bjork and others. give more information.

Saskia Tomkins is Steafan's wife and a very accomplished fiddler/violinist - a former All Britain champion. She has appeared on over 30 albums as a musician and performed with most of the same artists as will give more information.
Harp of Tara, Kingston Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann
Contact, Harp of Tara: Robert MacDiarmid 613-544-1055 or
Driving directions are up on the web:

Bodhran workshop at Mississippi Mills Musicworks with Ken Harper - 8 March

March 8, 7pm. Bodhran and Irish Session Music workshop led by Ken Harper. $30pp

This workshop will be of interest to anyone who would like to learn or improve their skills in bodhran, as well as anyone who is interested in playing Irish session music on other instruments. This highly informative workshop will be delivered by Ken Harper, who also instructs at the Ottawa Folklore Centre. Ken is a drummer with many years of performing and teaching experience, and in addition to a career-long interest in jazz drumming, he is widely regarded in traditional Irish music circles throughout Canada as a first call bodhran player.

Questions can be directed to Kathryn at the store 613 256 7464.