Not even Covid can keep Comhaltas down as members release CD
The lockdown may have hit every aspect of life – but through it all, musicians kept playing and singers kept singing – albeit without sharing their space with a live audience.
The members of the Frank Gavigan Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Branch were disappointed to see what promised to be a busy schedule of events for the spring and summer put on ice.
Fans of their music can, however, buy a new 20-track traditional music CD produced by husband and wife Mick Foster and Moyra Fraser and featuring local artists and friends who regularly sang and played at club events.
“It has been selling very well,” reports branch treasurer Noel Heduan, who is handling sales and distribution of the disc – orders for which have come in from Scotland and England as well as Ireland.
“It has received great reviews on many radio stations and will feature on this Saturday (August 1) night’s Céilí House on RTÉ Radio 1 at 9 pm and on Midlands Radio 3 for the next few Sunday evenings on the Paddy Duffy show,” says Noel.
“The Rathconrath Ceili Band is led by none other than the great Mick Foster of Foster and Allen fame,” he continues. “Other band members include Moyra Fraser on piano, who produced and backed all artists playing and singing on the CD, while all-Ireland champions Noel Battle (mouth organ) and Willie Kavanagh (banjo) also feature.
“On fiddle and flute are Áine Ní Raghallaigh and Siobhán Ní Chonerain, with Eamon Seery on mouth organ, Liam McCormack on drums and the popular husband and wife, Paddy and Liz Maguire, on accordion and fiddle.
“Guest artists include singers Siobhán Scally and Damien Crinnegan with Catherine Devaney on bodhrán.
“The children of Milltown school do a superb job on a Fleadh Cheoil song written by Moyra for the event that was to take place in August. A group of talented young people from the Ballynacargy Comhaltas branch help to make the CD a splendid mix that will appeal to all who like a variety of traditional music and song.
“Our branch, which is named to honour the late great Frank Gavigan, also felt it only right to include a track from the one-time all-Ireland champion accordion player Frank himself.”
Sadly, during production, club members learned of the death of one of the performers on the CD, Nora Butler, a cousin of Mick Foster.
“This was to have been a busy year for The Frank Gavigan Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Branch starting with the Westmeath fleadh cheoil three-day event in Milltown, Rathconrath on the first week of May,” says Noel.
“During the summer we were to have various events involving local artists travelling to meet up with other clubs for concerts and sessions for young and old and the Frank Gavigan Comhaltas Branch members and guests were to have a major part in the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Mullingar on August 2-9.
“During the fleadh the Rathconrath Ceili Band and guests were booked to perform a two-hour concert in All Saints Church, followed by a half-hour concert on the gig rig in the town centre. The band were also hopeful of a live appearance on the popular TG4 show, Fleadh TV, with several other events planned for around Westmeath.”
The CD can be purchased for €10 or €15 with packing and postage; contact Noel on 087 7636848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Frank Gavigan Comhaltas branch would like to acknowledge with thanks grant aid received from Westmeath County Council under the Festival and Events Grants and an award from Mullingar Credit Union Social and Cultural Committee,” says Noel.