A music historian and fiddler from County Down and a noted singing trio from Ramelton are among the guests at the latest ‘Night of Ulster Scots’ at Monreagh Community Centre in Carrigans this Thursday night.
Nigel Boullier, who is from Bangor, will play some tunes from County Down and talk about links between the country fiddle traditions in the north of Ireland and Scotland.
Singers Leslie Buchanan, Tommy Logan and Stevie Coll will be performing some old favourites, from ‘Fiddlers Green’ to the folk spiritual ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.
The night runs from 7pm to 9pm, and admission is free. Those who go along can expect songs, music, recitations and chat.
Regular guests at the Ulster Scots nights include multi-instrumentalist and singer Stuart Buchanan, poet and storyteller Ian McCracken, and Colm Clarke, renowned for his knowledge of old ways in the area.
The fiddler Martin McGinley, Ramelton, will be along to play with Nigel Boullier.
Kieran Fegan of the Ulster Scots Centre at Monreagh, who’s organising the night, said it will be informal and contributions from audience members will be warmly welcomed.
“We had one of these nights back in November, when Covid precautions were still very much to the fore. We had a good turnout and everyone really enjoyed it, so we’ve decided to go again. We’re delighted that Nigel can make it along, and our special guests from Ramelton.”
Nigel Boullier is well-known in music circles as both a fiddler and a banjo player. He’s also an authority on country fiddling and dancing in the north of Ireland, and particularly in his own County Down.
In 2012 he produced a remarkable book called ‘Handed Down’ in which he gave details on more than 300 fiddlers active in County Down within living memory. He also presented tunes and discussed the dances performed in the area. A majority of the fiddlers were from the Protestant community, and a lot of dancing took place in Orange halls.
Nigel Boullier said his book covers fiddlers from both the nationalist and unionist communities. However, what he’s found is that “the fact that traditional fiddle music and dancing has been carried on for several hundred years within what is described as the unionist community is now almost totally forgotten.”