Tonn Nua, meaning a New Wave in Irish, is a festival presented by the Embassy of Ireland in Germany to showcase some of the talent representing a new era for Traditional and Folk music & dance in Ireland.
It is curated is partnership with the Irish Traditional Music archive (ITMA) and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and presented in partnership with Exberliner Magazine, featuring workshops and talks, concerts, céilí (a traditional Irish social dance), and the German premiere of the film ‘North Circular’ with Q&A - to illustrate the vibrancy of the culture in modern Ireland.
Irish traditional music and dance is beloved around the world, and very much so in Germany. For decades Irish artists have been welcomed by fans and enjoyed the German touring circuit; from The Dubliners to Planxty, Dervish to Sharon Shannon, and so many more. Each generation of Irish artists have taken the torch, guarding tradition and heritage, yet importantly, embuing it with the current spirit, and making it a living tradition.
Worldwide, there have been news pieces and coverage of an exciting new wave of Irish artists coming from this tradition. These artists represent an authentic, living culture - one that can be found in homes, pubs and concert houses across Ireland today, and we are certain
that this will ensure that there will be interest and opportunities for traditional Irish arts for decades to come.
We are delighted to be celebrating these wonderful traditional artforms with you this weekend, heartened by the enthusiasm that we see for the culture at the many Irish sessions, festivals and events as well as in our sold-out series of Irish music Sessions ‘A Different Kettle of Fish’ that have been taking place across Germany. We can see the community of our Irish diaspora and Irish music enthusiasts strengthening within these rooms, through the power of music and word. We are also looking forward to many more presentations of Irish traditional arts in the coming years, particularly during the upcoming Season of Irish Culture that will take place accross Germany in 2024, presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Culture Ireland.
To be kept up to date with news and events from the Embassy of Ireland, follow us on social media @irlembberlin and sign up to our monthly newsletter, the Monatsbuch on our website www. dfa.ie/germanyIllustration and graphic design by Robert Mirolo.
Cormac’s Begley’s career has gone from strength to strength over the past year; winning Best Folk Instrumentalist 2022 at the RTÉ Folk Awards and Irish Times Album of the Year 2022, with his second solo album ‘B’. The album ‘B’ celebrates the bass concertina, a very rare instrument and on this album Cormac uses two Dippermade Bass concertinas to record all 12 tracks. His bold choice to concentrate solely on the bass and baritone register, the first album of it’s kind in any musical genre, has not gone unnoticed for all the right reasons and it has been described as ‘Album of the decade’ - Donal Dineen, ‘The musical gift that keeps on giving’; The Irish Times, seven five star reviews and ‘Groundbreaking’; RTÉ Arena. The album and tracks from the album were nominated over three categories at the RTE Folk Awards 2022 for ‘Best Folk Album’, ‘Best Original Folk Track’, and ‘Best Folk Track’.
Cormac Begley hails from West Kerry, where his families’ roots are firmly cemented in traditional music. He plays thirteen concertinas that range from bass to piccolo register. Cormac’s daring and soul stirring approach to the playing of the concertina has opened up the instrument to a broader audience; garnering attention from renowned choreographer and director Michael Keegan-Dolan. Dolan’s award winning, sell out show ‘Mám’ heavily features Cormac’s playing and music and led to a documentary film based on the show, ‘The Dance’ (IFTA nominated 2022) directed by Pat Collins.
Cormac’s collaborates with several artists and appears on the latest and forthcoming albums of Lankum, Lisa O’Neill , Ye Vagabonds and Stephen James Smith and has toured extensively with artists Lisa O Neill, Liam O Connor, Liam O Maonlaí, Rushad Eggleston, Ye Vagabonds and Martin Hayes. His long-standing musical relationship with Lisa O’Neill saw them feature in the last scene of the BBC / Netflix series ‘Peaky Blinders’.
Cormac, his father Breanndán and his 40 year old camper van Beauty returned to TG4’s screens in the second series of ‘Slí na mBeaglaoich’ giving us a musical insight to Ireland’s southern coastline.
Cormac’s music has also featured in RTÉ’s ‘Epic West’ with Tommy Tiernan and ‘Steps of Freedom’ directed by Ruán Magan, ‘The Works presents..’ with John Kelly and Dancer Stephaine Keane’s short ‘Éist’, which made a huge impact of the European film festival circuit.
Cormac closed out the year of 2022 by headlining the closing performance of the Other Voices Festival in the famous St. James’ Church, Dingle and looks forward to his first headline show in Dublins Vicar Street venue on April 23rd 2023 headline show in Dublins Vicar Street venue on April 23rd 2023.
Cormac will play Tonn Nua on Saturday 6th May.
The Blackwater Céilí Band hails from the Clogher Valley region of County Tyrone, in the heart of Ulster’s musical landscape. Since their formation in 2015, the band have risen to prominence and are widely recognised as one of the finest exponents of Irish Traditional Music. They bring boundless energy and passion to every performance, creating fresh musical interpretations with distinctive character and detail, firmly rooted in the Ulster tradition.
In 2018, the Blackwater made history, claiming the prestigious Senior All-Ireland Céilí Band title at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Drogheda. Consequently, they became one of only three Ulster bands to accomplish this feat, cementing their place in the annals of céilí band folklore.
Building upon their landmark success, the band have toured extensively across Ireland and Britain, bringing their signature sound and rhythmical musical style to many captivated audiences. They subsequently released their debut album ‘Music In The Valley’, to critical acclaim in 2019. The recording has been described as “one to savour, showcasing a versatile and orchestrated band at the top of their game”. The Blackwater Céilí Band are now proud to present their long-awaited second studio recording, ‘Northern Landscape’.
Ryan Hackett (Band Leader), Eskra, Co. Tyrone - Piano Accordion
Michael Curran, Fivemiletown, Co.
Tyrone - Button Accordion
James McCaffrey, Dromore, Co.
Tyrone - Flute
Michael Coney, Coalisland, Co.
Tyrone - Flute
Rosie Ferguson, Newry, Co. DownFiddle
Lydia Warnock, Kinlough, Co. Leitrim - Fiddle
Eugene McKenna, Augher, Co.
Tyrone - Fiddle
Ursula McAdam, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan - Fiddle
George McAdam, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan - Drums
Mark McCrystall, Omagh, Co.
Tyrone - Piano
The Blackwater Céilí Band will accompany the Céilí at Tonn Nua on the 5th of May with calling and demonstration by Louise O’Connor. Members will also deliver Workshops during the festival.
The Len Collective are a group of traditional Irish musicians from Dublin. Though only officially forming the Collective in 2022, these musicians have been playing and attending festivals together since they were children.
Go into the Cobblestone (a pub in Dublin’s Smithfield, famous for it’s traditional Irish music scene) at any hour of the day or night, and there’s a good chance you’ll find at least one of them hanging about.
Last summer, the Len Collective performed at multiple festivals including the Otherside, All Together Now, Electric Picnic, Music in the Courtyard at IMMA, alongside their musical companions John Francis Flynn, Ispini na hÉireann, Skippers Alley and Caoivín.
This year they are due to perform in the Grand Social in Dublin as support for Ispíní na hÉireann, Me Auld Flower Festival for St. Patrick’s Day, Féile Nasc in Marlay Park, Lá Mór na Gaeilge, Otherside Festival in Slane, Féile na Gealaí and many more!
The band are:
Méabh Mulligan: concertina and singing
Libby McCrohan: bouzouki
Ruth McCrohan: flute and whistle
Liam Lonergan: piano, guitar, concertina and singing
Siún Glackin: fiddle and singing
Padraig Óg Mac Aodhagáin: uilleann pipes and saxophone
Sarah Flynn: concertina
Join the Len Collective for a set of traditional Irish music, singing and dancing on Friday 5th and Saturday the 6th May at Tonn Nua!
Thomas McCarthy is a renowned singer and storyteller, and a member of the Irish Traveller community.
He learned the vast majority of his songs from his mother and other members of the Travelling community. Thomas is a leading promoter of Irish Traveller culture and an activist for the rights of the Travelling community in Ireland.
He has released four albums of traditional songs, and in 2019, he was awarded the prestigous Traditional Singer of the Year award at the annual Gradam Ceoil.
In 2021, Thomas initiated a song collecting project with the Travelling community in conjunction with the Irish Traditional Music Archive.
The documentary film ‘Songs of the Open Road’ by Pat Collins (‘Song of Granite’, ‘The Dance’), was released in 2022 profiling Thomas’ great work.
In 2022/23, Thomas completed a six month performance residency in Théâtre Équestre Zingaro, Paris, as part of a show which highlighted the role of Irish Travellers throughout the history of Irish culture.
Thomas will sing on Friday 5th and Saturday the 6th at Tonn Nua as well as present a talk on collecting songs on the 6th.Photographs by Colm Keating
VARO are Dublin-based singersand fiddle players Lucie Azconaga (from France) and Consuelo Nerea Breschi (from Italy) who perform Irish traditional songs and tunes with arrangement influences from the Folk, Baroque and Classical traditions, weaving around the melodies with harmonies, drones and countermelody.
The duo met in 2015 having moved to Dublin to pursue their love for Irish traditional music, and immediately started a fruitful collaboration.
They travelled to Ireland along different musical paths, Lucie from jazz, classical music, and French folk, Consuelo from Irish trad, folk, and world music.
They performed in numerous festivals in Ireland and abroad, including Quiet Lights Festival, St.Patrick’s Festival, Folk Alliance International and for film productions such as Philip Doherty’s ‘Samhlú ’ hosted by Tommy Tiernan. Varo have also featured on rotation on radio programmes such as Arena RTE Radio 1, Marty in the Morning RTE Lyric FM, Simply Folk RTE Radio 1, Mise Freshin’ (RTÉ), The Ticket BBC Radio Ulster, Folk Club BBC Radio Ulster, & Raidió na Gaeltachta.
Alasourse, The Nomadic Piano Project; and now, they putting the final touches on a collaboration album.
“Varo is the name of a river that, centuries ago, used to represent the border between France and Italy, then went from being more French to more Italian, basically through time, it couldn’t really choose a nationality... as the two of us, coming from two different countries and finding ourselves falling in love with the Irish music and its culture” - Lucie Azconaga and Consuelo Nerea Breschi (Varo)
“It is an exciting time for Irish folk music, and Varo’s accomplished debut should position them at the forefront of the scene.”
- Folk Radio UK
“The delicious austerity of the baroque intertwined with the current Dublin traditional music scene. Varo have mastered the art of subtle layering of tunes…”
- The Irish Times
“Varo do magic things to traditional tunes…”
- Hot Press
Over the years, Lucie and Consuelo have had the pleasure of working in various other projects, such as Landless, Lisa O’Neill’s Band, Ye Vagabonds, The Morning Tree,
VARO will play Tonn Nua on Saturday 6th May.
Raw, wild and pure Donegal fiddle music interwoven with piano, harmonium and concertina; the musical conversation between pianist Natalie Ní Chasaide and fiddle player Iarfhlaith Ó
Domhnaill represents a fresh new take on the great melodies of the Donegal fiddle tradition. This is a collaboration of two emerging musicians who have learned at the feet of the masters and who are now ready to showcase their own musical expression and interpretations. Their much anticipated debut album, “The Devil’s Dream” will be released in October 2023.
Natalie Ní Chasaide Hailing from the famous musical family “Na Caisidigh”, Natalie Ní Chasaide is a renowned multi-instrumentalist from Dublin. Natalie is one of Ireland’s leading piano accompanists of traditional music and is most well known as a key member of traditional Irish music group “The Bonny Men”. Predominantly a pianist, Natalie adopts an innovative approach to accompanying Irish traditional melodies including the use of harmoniums, organs, concertina, vocals and fiddle. “Natalie’s musical abilities and arrangements have shone through and her unique style of playing has shaped the sound of The Bonny Men to what it is today.” The Spirit Store venue, Galway.
Fiddle player Iarfhlaith Ó Domhnaill hails from southwest Donegal,
a region famous for its vibrant traditional fiddle style. Iarfhlaith’s own playing and repertoire is strongly reflective of the musical expression of the past masters; a clear, sweet tone employing unusual and distinct technical aspects of the fiddle music of southwest Donegal.
“He has meticulously studied with those master players in the tradition who were available to him at the time. Each of the latter have confirmed that his commitment to absorbing the beauty and subtleties of the tradition and performing, as well as passing it on with dedication is profound.”
- Caoimhín MacAoidh, Author of “Between the Jigs and the Reels, The Donegal Fiddle Tradition”
Natalie and Iarfhlaith will play Tonn Nua on Friday 5th May
Louise O’Connor is a sean nós dancer, fiddle player & céilí dance instructor from County Clare.
She loves sharing the steps and tunes she grew up with and has taught sean nós dance and céilí dance at various festivals and venues in Ireland and around Europe. These include Creative Connexions Sitges, Hastings Fleadh and Fleadh Cheoil Éireann.
She manages and performs with Lasta Dance, a social céilí dance project which Culture Ireland in their 2019 review described as ‘innovative’ and one of the highlights of Irish ‘emerging voices’ performing at London Irish Centre.
She regularly curates and hosts events in Ireland and abroad including;
- Set Dancing Classes at The Cobblestone Pub, Dublin
- Irish College Céilí reenactment night ‘Are ya Dancin?’ at various venues.
- St Patricks Festival Céilí events at London Irish Centre, 2023
Website: www.louise.ie/lastadance Instagram:www.instagram.com/ louiseoconnor.ie
Louise will lead the dance workshop and céilí on Friday the 5th May
North Circular is a documentary musical that travels the length of Dublin’s North Circular Road, from the Phoenix Park to Dublin Port, exploring the history, music and streetscapes of a street that links some of the country’s most beloved and infamous places.
Told in black and white 4:3 Academy ratio, the film evokes many narratives from the history of the city and nation, from colonialism, to mental health, to the struggle for women’s liberation while also engaging with urgent issues of today, including the battle to save the legendary Cobblestone Pub, centre of Dublin’s recent folk revival, from destruction at the hands of cynical property developers/ through property development.
The film also includes musical performances from artists local to the North Circular, including John Francis Flynn, Séan Ó Túama, Eoghan O’Ceannabháin, Ian Lynch & Gemma Dunleavy.
Director Luke McManus is a filmmaker based in Grangegorman, just off the North Circular Road. Luke has produced and directed award-winning documentary projects for NBC, Netflix, RTÉ, Virgin Media Television, TG4, NDR/ ARD, Al Jazeera and Channel 4, winning four IFTAs, one Celtic Media Award and the Radharc Award in the process. His debut feature as producer was The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid, which premiered in the Main Competition at IDFA in 2018, won the George Morrison Award for Best Feature Documentary at the Irish Film & Television Awards and the Best Irish Film Award at the Dublin International Film Festival. North Circular is his debut feature documentary as a director.
North Circular is a personal film. I have lived just off the road itself for two decades and remain fascinated by its variety, by its contradictions, by the competing tensions that it finds within itself. North Circular is a film in a tradition of the great documentaries of urban place, such as Gianfranco Rosi’s, Sacro GRA and Zed Nelson’s The Street, choosing a physically proximate geography to be the thread connecting a diverse collection of narratives and characters.
The use of music as a specific technique of storytelling is both an aesthetic and a editorial decision - to make a documentary which combines the musical and the factual film in a way that isn’t simply a documentary about music but is more a documentary musical. This narrative form reflects the traditional of musical storytelling and narrative in Dublin that began with Peader Kearney and Dominic Behan and that continues with Lankum, John Francis Flynn and Gemma Dunleavy today.
The use of black & white imagery reiterates the connection between the values and culture of the past and those of today - there is a timeless quality to the challenges that face our characters with yesterday reflecting in their eyes as they live their present lives. There are numerous themes, characters and issues bubbling beneath the surface of the North Circular Road when you walk along it. A certain darkness at times, a celebratory energy at others: this single road encompasses so much diversity of human experience.
North Circular will be screened at Kino Central on Saturday 6th