Bundoran Community Christmas Concert (online) 2020
In what has become something of local tradition, this Friday, December 4th will see
the premiere of the Bundoran Community Christmas Concert. The aim of the concert
is to raise funds for Bundoran Community Centre and to support the great work it
does. This year for obvious reasons it is online but in keeping with the theme of the
music from where the Erne and the Drowes meet the sea, the festive concert
highlights the rich tapestry of music that has emerged from this area that we call
home. MC on the night will be none other than the effervescent Marion Fitzgerald,
well-known entertainer, former Bunratty singer and broadcaster on Ocean FM, who
will also be singing and playing.
Some blasts from the past, present and future
The hard-working 3rd and 6th class students from St Macartan's National School
aren’t allowing a global pandemic to stifle their creativity and have produced some
lovely readings of Christmas poems for the festive concert. Special credit should be
given to the diligence and professionalism of the staff the school. They are an
integral part of the glue that bind us all as a community.
Country legend Philomena Begley will be introducing one of her favourite songs from
her extensive discography as well as recounting her fond memories and connections
with Bundoran, a small seaside resort that has had people literally dancing by the
sea for centuries. Ballyshannon man, Eurovision Song Winner, Charlie McGettigan
gives a lovely rendition of a song he wrote about growing up in Ballyshannon. Local
guitar god Johnny Gallagher, who has more than held his own on the same stages
as blues and rock legends like Buddy Guy, Johnny Winters and countless others, will
be serving up his voodoo sonic soup. Be thee warned! Staying in Bundoran, radio
presenter, producer, engineer and musician Jim Corbett is another very welcome
addition to this year’s show. Also featured in the concert is award-winning songwriter
and Bundoran businesswoman Áine O'Doherty, who will be providing yet another
mesmerising performance of her own material as well as a festive tune in her own
inimitable style. Speaking of Bundoran-based award-winning artists, composer,
guitarist Chris Fox, former music student at the North West Regional College, Derry
will be performing a sublime piece of music for the concert also.
Meitheal (from the Irish word for ‘working collaboratively’) are a specialist trad project
group that focuses on the music from their area, south Donegal, West Fermanagh
and North Leitrim, an area they refer to as the borderlands. Filmed before Covid
restrictions at the iconic McIntyre’s Pub (in partnership with the Ballyshannon Folk
Festival), a stripped down Meitheal, featuring the sublime vocal talents of Farrah
Bogle, play some local tunes and songs from their album Songs of Erne before a
transatlantic flurry via the 5-string banjo virtuosity of Bundoran man Rory Corbett
(Erdini member and currently studying for PhD in Musicology at UCC). Steve
Cooney’s haunting rendition of Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin’s composition ‘The Hawk of
Ballyshannon’, (composed in 1640) shows how resonant the traditional music of the
area remains, thanks largely to the Herculean educational efforts of fiddle player and
master teacher Seamus Sweeney. Meitheal were very proud to be part of this year’s
Ballyshannon Folk Festival which was also online due to Covid restrictions. The
committee, to their eternal credit, went online and ensured that the longest-running
folk festival in Europe continued unabated.
Staying in Ballyshannon, we are also featuring 3 of the finest musicians in the
Northwest, they are Michael Christie, Stephen Gallagher and Jason Kelly, ‘The Kings
of Cool’ with their gorgeous Beatles-esque ‘Border Song’.
Live from Kinlough, Richard Nelson, Van Morrison and Paul Brady’s steel guitar
virtuoso will be performing a sweet arrangement of a popular Christmas tune. From
the south end of Leitrim but a man with strong musical connections with Bundoran is
Ronan Gallagher, Leitrim’s hardcore troubadour and prolific songwriter (nominated
for best folk artist on Canadian Radio in 2019). He will perform one of his tracks from
his first album ‘Always Broke, Never Broken’.
There are a few more local treasures in store for what will be a great night of music
from rock, country, folk, trad, transatlantic tunes and festive songs.
The 90-minute concert begin at 8pm as a watch party on
www.facebook.com/BundoranCommunityCentre/ . A virtual PayPal tip jar will allow
people to donate directly to Bundoran Community Centre if they so wish.