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  • Writer's pictureTaralousie Zinc

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’.

Leitrim Calling

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 . A virtual PayPal tip jar will allow

people to donate directly to Bundoran Community Centre if they so wish.

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