Fleadh To Fly North

One of Ireland's largest traditional music events may be coming north of the border.

Comholtas Ceoltoiri Eireann (CCE) is considering holding the all-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil at a Northern Ireland venue because it is said to offer new opportunities to develop an important aspect of our shared future.

Commenting, the SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA and Irish Language spokesperson Dominic Bradley said it was great news: "The statement from CCE Director General Senator Labhras O Murchu will be warmly welcomed by all lovers of Irish music and culture," he said, noting that an ad hoc cross-border group of elected representatives met with Senator O Murchu and the leadership of CCE to discuss the idea.

Mr Bradley continued:"It would indeed be a great achievement if the all-Ireland Fleadh could be held in the North, but this is not just a matter of geographical equality or the millions of pounds that the Fleadh can inject into our local economy.

"The Flead Cheoil is now a major international cultural event and the organisers have developed great skill and expertise in making it a genuinely inclusive event and the time is right to bring that spirit of inclusiveness."

He insisted that traditional music in particular has never lost its ability to act as a bridge between the two communities.

"This is because it is virtually impossible to draw a firm line between its Scottish and Irish origins," he said.

"The music of the Ulster-Scots tradition is a tremendous repository of our common musical culture and a northern Fleadh would present a great opportunity to recognise it as such.

"When musicians of both sides get together they will both know the tunes and hopefully find new harmonies," he enthused.

Artists such as Harry Bradley, (no relation) the south Belfast-born musician (pictured) who proudly boasts of the influence of the music of Orange marching bands on the development of his own flute playing is a case in point.




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