Féile Chois Cuain is a traditional festival celebrating traditional music, song and dance.
Féile started out in the mid-nineties as a very small intimate festival of fairly close friends originally, lots of whom continue to take the ‘Road to Louisburgh’ year after year! Through the years, what was a small group intermingled and got to know lots of the local crew and the festival has grown from strength to strength through the years. The visitors multiplied and that group of friends is now vast, all of whom hold “God’s Pocket”, dear old Louisburgh in the highest esteem. People from Louisburgh and its environs have always had the height of respect and grá for song, music and dance. This is as much a local festival, as it is, for the visiting singers, musicians, dancers and listeners. It’s fair to say everyone looks forward to the Féile and many of the locality’s migrants “come home” for the Bank Holiday weekend to see the town flourish and provide a “Céad Míle Fáilte” for the delightful crowd. The area, with superb natural beauty inspires one and all. On the traditional circuit of festivals, of which there are dozens, Féile Chois Cuain holds its own. Through the years, the festival has inspired many of the young locals to keep at the music with the result of a wealth of young musicians in the locality now, some who can proudly boast All-Ireland titles. In the mid-nineties, before the birth of Féile, you’d have to go a long way to get another youngster to have a tune with! What is noteworthy of the Féile is that it has a lovely balance of singing, music, set dancing and last year for the first time; sean nós dance. This year, 2017 sees the 23rd annual Féile Chois Cuain, to which we are all looking forward to. Let the fun begin!
The festival format changes very little from year to year, as it seems to be an unbeatable recipe, it’s the invited visitors who vary, thus providing outstanding musical, vocal and dance variety year on year. The weekend promises an array of all things traditional, to suit all ages. The fun begins on Friday evening at 7.30pm in The Parochial Hall with the “Mol an Óige” youth concert, featuring local and visiting musicians, entrance €5. At 9.30pm Féile welcomes one and all with a cheese & wine reception in the Derrylahan, followed by a CD launch from the renowned accordion player Hughie Grogan, of his album “Around the Rock”, in addition to music and singing sessions in all the pubs. Hughy is an amazing player and long-time visitor to Féile, therefore needing little introduction as his music speaks for itself. One not to be missed!
Saturday morning sees workshops and master classes kick off at 10.30 am, with registration from 10am. Anyone interested in pre-registering, for ease of pace on the morning, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form. Alternatively you can pay online here on the new website www.feilechoiscuain.com Weekend Tickets can also be purchased on the website at a price of €30. The classes break for lunch 1-2 and finish up for the day at 4pm. The Set Dance Workshop will take place in the Parochial Hall, tutors Róisín & Pádraic McEneany; admission €10. All singing, music and sean-nós dance master classes will take place in Santa Maria College with admission of €10. Tutors for each are as follows; Accordion: Vincent Murphy / Colm Gannon, Fiddle: Liz Gaughan / Breda Keville, Flute: Ferdia O Mongain / Sean Gavin (USA), Tin Whistle: Noreen O’Sullivan / Enda Seery, Banjo: Colm Naughton, Concertina: Liam O’Brien (TG4 Young Musician of the Year 2017) / Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Keyboard & Accompaniment: Jack Talty, Ballads: Orlaith Keane, Sean-nós Singing: Caitlín Ní Chualáin, Sean-nós Dancing: Pádraic Ó Dubháin / John Joyce. Club na Féile provides informal fun for younger children, preferably 4yrs-8yrs in the Pastoral Centre from 11.00am – 12.30pm. The Sean-nós singing session takes place in the Parochial Hall from 4.15pm – 6.00pm on Saturday afternoon, the Bean an Tí this year will be Nollaig Ní Laoire and admission in €5. The Grand Concert takes place in the Parochial Hall on Saturday night at 8.45pm, featuring music, song and dance from the tutors of the day among others. Admission is €10. On Saturday and Saturday night there will be sessions found throughout the town.
Sunday morning mass takes place at 11.30am with delicate traditional music to lift the spirits and get set up for the day ahead. If weather permits, there is always a lovely session on the square outside John Staunton’s Chemist after mass. The Sunday concert at 4pm in the Parochial Hall always takes a theme and this years it is entitled “Ceol le Cheile” which will feature artists who are coupled in both music and love, “couples in music”. Admission is €10. Artists will include Liz Gaughan & Brendan Quinn, Colm Gannon & Holly Geraghty, Colm Naughton & Orlaith Keane, Catherine McEvoy & Tom McGorman, Breda Keville & Cormac Cannon, Caitlín Nic Gabhann & Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, and Pádraig and Róisín McEneany. The Céilí takes place in the Parochial Hall on Sunday night from 9.00pm until midnight, with music provided by the Swallow’s Tail Céilí Band. Admission €10. On Sunday and Sunady night there will be sessions found throughout the town.
The “Slán Abhaile” sessions start at 12.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday in all the pubs. This is a lovely wind-down after the shenanigans of the weekend. Often tired, but extremely relaxed after the weekend in good company, these sessions are often the sweetest. What a lovely way to go out……..heads reeling with tunes, songs, dance-taps, laughter and good thoughts after a weekend with old and new friends, friends of Féile, friends of Cluain Cearbán.
Huge thanks to all who sponsor Féile Chois Cuain. A special word of thanks goes out to the local schools; Killeen Holy Family National School, St. Patrick’s National School Louisburgh and Santa Maria College Secondary School Louisburgh, who gave their time to Féile in designing a poster for the festival. These posters will be displayed during the music festival. For any further queries about the upcoming festival, please contact the Féile Committee on 0874345064 or at email@example.com.