Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Mid-Atlantic Region

September 21, 2016, 1:08 pm
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This is the last New York Centennial Celebration to honor the heros of 1916, and what finer way to honor them than through music.

Fiddle-player, pianist and composer Dr. Charlie Lennon has recently released a new suite of 1916-inspired compositions. Áille na hÁille – A Terrible Beauty is a Suite in Honour of the Heroes of 1916. It was launched on 29 February at the Unitarian Church in Dublin by Mary Kennedy of RTE and since then has played to packed out venues throughout the island of Ireland. It will make its North American debut appearance when it is performed in St. Sebastian Church Woodside, New York on October 28, 2016.

The work contains several pieces that reference the 1916 proclamation signatories, including ‘Planxty James Connolly’, ‘Ceannt the Piper’, ‘McDonagh’s March’ and ‘MacDiarmada’s Dream’. Commissioned by Gael Linn, which recently received a TG4 Gradam Ceoil award for its contribution to Irish culture over 60 years, Áille na hÁille features a range of traditional and classical musicians.

This is a story in music of events leading up to the 1916 Rising and its aftermath. It is dedicated to all who died in the revolution, with specific reference to those who signed the Proclamation of the Republic and were executed shortly afterwards. It features song settings of ‘Fornocht a Chonac Thú’ and ‘I See His Blood Upon the Rose’, sung by Cathie Ryan, and ‘An Glaoch: Sonata for Violin and Piano’. ‘Out of the heartlands of the Connamara Gaeltacht, rises one of Ireland’s greatest traditional musicians and music-makers.

“In Áille na hÁille/A Terrible Beauty, Charlie Lennon builds sonic bridges unifying many of the sound communities that make up the Irish mind.” An tOllamh Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin

Performed by: NYC Con Tempo String Quartet, Charlie Lennon, Kieran O’Hare, Éilís Lennon, Seán Lennon, Cathie Ryan.

Dr. Charlie Lennon is a well-known composer of traditional tunes and of larger works which bring together orchestral and traditional musicians in a new and exciting manner. His previous suites include Island Wedding and Flight from the Hungry Land while his traditional tunes have been published in two volumes of Musical Memories.

Charlie Lennon was born in Kiltyclogher, County Leitrim approximately 4 miles from the birth place of Sean MacDiarmada. Charlie started piano at age seven. He also started on fiddle, taught by his brother Ben, who brought him through the music of the Sligo masters Coleman, Killoran, Morrison and Gillespie.
He went on to study classical violin in his late teens as well as studying classical and jazz harmonies. From age seventeen Charlie was a professional musician playing with several céilí bands, variously on piano, fiddle, drums and double bass. At twenty-two Charlie enroled at Liverpool University, eventually securing a Doctorate in Nuclear Physics. While in Liverpool he played with the ‘Liverpool Céilí Band’ from 1960 to 1968.

The ‘Liverpool’ won two All-Ireland titles, recorded two albums with Decca and toured in the United States. In 1969 he moved back to Ireland with his wife, sean-nós singer, Sile Ni Fhlaithearta from Spiddal.

In the late 1970s Charlie began composing tunes in a serious way, most of which ended up in two books of his compositions, Musical Memories (Waltons). His recordings include Lucky in Love (with Mick O’Connor), The Emigrant Suite, Flight from the Hungry Land (from which the show and video Waves was taken), Island Wedding, Time for a Tune and Turning the Tune.

Many famous Irish musicians and bands have recorded his tunes, including: De Dannan, Liam O’Flynn, Kevin Burke, Sharon Shannon, Altan and The London Lasses and Pete Quinn.

Along with his brother Ben, and Ben’s sons Brian and Maurice, he recorded the album Dance of the Honey Bees. He also appears on Ben’s solo album The Natural Bridge. Charlie has been piano accompanist on over twenty-five albums, among them Omos do Joe Cooley with Paul Brock and Frankie Gavin and The Bucks of Oranmore with Joe Burke.

On Friday October 28th in St. Sebastian Church, Woodside, Queens you will have the opportunity to see Aille na hAille – A Terrible Beauty, a beautiful and unique musical tribute to our Heros of 1916. Doors open 7pm, show starts 7:30pm. Adm $20. For further details & tickets pls contact Fiona Smyth 631 796 7217.

You can also see Aille na hAille – A Terrible Beauty on Saturday October 29, when it will be performed at the Edgerton Center at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.  Show starts at 8:00pm, $25 general admission, $20 senior citizen & faculty/staff/alumni, $10 students


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