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EARAGAIL ARTS: Four leading ladies of traditional song

Eddi Reader

Eddi Reader

THE Songfest, a project which celebrates the best in Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English vocal traditions will come to a close with a concert featuring four leading ladies at An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny on July 20.

Song Sisters will mark one of the highlights of this year’s 25th annual Earagail Arts Festival closing weekend, featuring Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), Julie Murphy and Jackie Oates.

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Eddi Reader has worked with Mairéad and Altan on several occasions, including performances in Donegal, so the Gaoth Dobhair woman knows her very well.
“I know Eddi for a long time and have worked with her on many occasions. And of course she knows the strong connection her native Glasgow has to Donegal so she always feels right at home here,” said Mairéad.

“Eddi is an incredibly intelligent and intuitive performer. She’s very open to new things and is willing to try anything, no matter what language it’s in,” she laughed.
“I think the fact that she is willing to try anything shows the great artistic ability she has; she is in complete control of her art and that’s what makes her an amazing performer.”

Mairéad has met Welsh traditional singer Julie Murphy at festivals all around the world, but they have never performed together. Mairéad said: “I think the fact that we are both fiddle players is nice that we have something in common and I look forward to working with her.”

The Altan front woman said she has never met Jackie Oates, a rising star of the English folk singing tradition before and therefore is looking forward to meeting her.

“We are going to have a house band backing us all, there will be Eddi’s husband John on guitar and then I am bringing members of the band so there will be a nice blend.”

Tickets priced €25/20 available in person and over the phone at the festival box office at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny tel. +353 (0) 74 9120777 or via www.eaf.ie(Booking fees apply).

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