North Atlantic Fiddle Convention

John Sheahan, the iconic fiddle player from The Dubliners, formally opened the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in McGrory’s of Culdaff , County Donegal, Ireland last night. Along from being one of the most recognizable musicians on the Emerald Isle, Sheahan writes poetry and took the time to both play a tune and read from a forthcoming collection in launching the event.

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) is an international gathering of fiddle players, fiddle music lovers and dancers which meets every two years.

It’s been described as part-fiddle festival and part-academic convention.

This is the 6th annual NAFCo Convention. The festival has previously been held in Scotland, Sweden and Canada. This is the first time that it is being hosted on the island of Ireland.

The cross-border event runs from June 26 until July 1.

This year’s event includes 7 major concerts, 74 organized pub sessions,

7 lunchtime concerts, 28 Youth Camp Master classes, 11 Free Community Outreach Events, 8 Fiddle Master classes, 25 classes in the NAFCo Fiddle School, 1 Donegal Bus Trip, 1 Ceili –with dances and dancers from Canada, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, 2 Exhibitions in the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, 1 Family Fun Day at the Waterfront in Derry (in conjunction with Clipper), 8 Dance Workshops and 7 Fiddle Talks.

More than 500 visiting musicians are scheduled to play in Derry, Donegal, Buncrana, Letterkenny, Culdaff, Moville, Ballybofey, Ballyshannon and Glenties.

Among the artists appearing at NAFCo are The Chieftains, String Sisters, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Fidil, Four Men and a Dog, Fidil, Tommy Peoples, and Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh.

International guest musicians and dancers include Frikar, Majorstuen and Annbjorg Lien (Norway), Goran Premberg and  Pernillla Stendahl (Sweden),

Habadekuk and Fiolministeriet (Denmark), Chris Stout & Catriona MacKay, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Simon Bradley and Anna Wendy Stevonson, The Wrigley Sisters, Paul Anderson, Mary Ann Kennedy, Fin Moore and Caroline Reagh (Scotland), Andrea Beaton, Troy MacGillivray, Shane Cook, Jake Charron. Pierre Schryer Trio, Eric Favreau & Sabin Jacques, Pierre Chartrand, Janine Randall, Chrissy Crowley, Dawn & Margie Beaton and Oh My Darling (Canada), Cleek Schrey & Stephanie Coleman, Nic Gareiss, Liz Carroll, Mick Moloney, Seamus Egan and Liz Knowles (USA).

New works presented at NAFCo this year include 4 World Premieres, with commissions from Chris Stout (Shetland), Breandan de Gallai (Donegal), Neil Martin (Belfast) and a special dance project, Step-Off.

As well, over 200 students will be enrolled in Youth Fiddle Camp, and more than 100 attendees will be enrolled for Academic Convention. 84 Conference Papers will be delivered at the University of Ulster, Derry, also.

In addition, 10 film documentaries will be shown during the festival.

NAFCo 2012 is expected to generate of £3 million for the economy of Northwest Ireland.