A RENOWNED musician from Sweden and fiddlers from throughout Donegal will be among those heading to Glenties this weekend.
The occasion is the 31st annual Donegal Fiddle Weekend, organised by Cairdeas na bhFidleiri and based at the Highlands Hotel.
A highlight this year is the appearance of Peter Puma Hedlund, one of the world’s greatest players of the nyckelharpa.
He’s long been regarded as a cultural treasure in his native Sweden, and played at the Royal Wedding in 1976.
Peter will feature at the centrepiece of the Fiddle Weekend, the fiddle concert in the Highlands on Saturday night, starting at 9pm.
Also on the programme there are three leading Donegal players – Thomas Strain from Burnfoot, Ronan Galvin from Dublin and Carrick; and Martin McGinley, originally from Raphoe and now living in Ramelton.
Rab Cherry from Cairdeas said it promises to be a great night’s music.
“Naturally a lot of attention will focus on Peter and the nyckelharpa, which many people won’t have seen before. It’s a fascinating instrument, played like a fiddle, with four main strings and then usually 22 strings which resonate.
“It is really a beautiful instrument with a very distinct sound, and in Peter we have one of the great players.
“But of course this weekend exists to promote Donegal fiddle music and we’re delighted to have three of our finest players on the stage in the Highlands.”
The Donegal Fiddle Weekend kicks off tonight (Friday) with musicians and music fans gathering in Glenties for informal sessions.
On Saturday from 11.30am to 1pm there’s a fiddle class in the hotel for players who already know a few tunes.
At lunchtime there’s a great chance to hear about the nyckelharpa when Peter Hedlund gives a talk about it and plays some tunes between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
Saturday afternoon is time for one of the great traditions of the weekend – the bus trip to the monument to fiddler Mickey Doherty on the back road to Ballybofey. And invariably that also involves a visit to the Glen Tavern for a few tunes (at least!)
Saturday night brings the concert and more sessions, and there’s often music on Sunday until early evening.