There are many music festivals throughout the Irish summer, but Farmleigh's is a bit special. Now in its second year, The Farmleigh Affair brings the world's leading jazz, world and traditional artists to the big stage set in the estate's scenic Pleasure Grounds, with historic Farmleigh House as a dramatic backdrop, and its all free.
Sunday 6th, its all about latin and soul, with uplifiting spirituals from The Dublin Gospel Choir, tango and other grooves of The Argentine from Dunne & Hernandez, sweet samba and bossa nova from Rio de Janeiro songstress Joyce, and old school r ‘n’ b from London’s Omar. There will be nothing like it. Monday 7th is roots and trad, with Ireland’s undercelebrated world champions, the mighty St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band, Nordic fiddle meets West African kora with Ellika & Solo, hip Galician trad with Xose Manuel Budinho and his band, and Donegal’s finest export, Altan. Craic will be had.
There’ll be refreshments available, along with tasty treats from organic producers, and Farmleigh is the perfect spot for a picnic if you want to bring your own goodies. While you’re there, you can have a stroll in the gardens, a gander in the new galleries, or take a tour of the historic house.
The Farmleigh Affair is completely free but you will require tickets, limited to four per person . They’re available online from Friday 21st July onwards from www.farmleigh.ie or you can drop into one of the following Dublin outlets:
Central: Temple Bar Cultural Trust, 12 East Essex Street, Temple
Bar, D2 Northside: Raheny Library Howth Road, Raheny, D5 Westside:
Ballyfermot Library, Ballyfermot Road, D10
Southside: Rathmines Library, 157 Lower Rathmines Road, D6
County: Dun Laoghaire Tourist Information Office, Ferry Terminal Building, Dun Laoghaire.
Space is limited so don’t be dissapointed, get your tickets early for what promises to the best musical experience you’ll have this summer. The Farmleigh Affair is brought to you by OPW on its 175th anniversary and produced by Improvised Music Company
14.00: St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band
Put aside any misguided notions you might have about pipe bands for this rousing opener to bank holiday Monday at The Farmleigh Affair. When the pin sharp phrasing and perfect intonation of the pipers projects over that bed of syncopation from those immaculately drilled snare and side drums, you'll be swept up on a rollercoaster of melody and rhythm. You'll also be in the presence of a venerable Irish musical institution. Founded in 1910 by, among others, Padraig Pearse, Douglas Hyde and Arthur Griffith, the band's first secretary was playwright Sean O'Casey, and found itself firmly embroiled in the Great Lock Out of 1913 , and later in the War of Independence. In the intervening years, they've gone on, under the brilliant leadership of Pipe Major Terry Tully, to dominate the Irish and International pipe band scenes, and if you ever wanted a revealing insight into one of Ireland's most undercelebrated musical cultures, this is it!
15.00: Ellika & Solo
From a casual encounter in a Stockholm club, where they were mistakenly billed to play together, Ellika Frissell and Solo Cissokho have become staunch musical soul mates, their unique rapport yielding one of 2003's most entertaining releases Tretakt Takissaba, with further recognition to come at the prestigious BBC World Music Awards. Solo Cissokho is a seventh generation kora player from Casamance in Southern Senegal, and a troubadour of the unique music and culture of the griot storyteller, while Ellika Frissell is one of Scandinavia's leading fiddlers. Deeply rooted in Sweden's rich and enigmatic music, she was at the forefront of the Swedish folk revival, most notably with the adventurous group Filarfolket. Together they've found fertile common ground without diluting their respective cultures, Ellika's lilting polkas fitting seamlessly with Solo's voice and the rippling phrases of the West African harp to make uplifting music where the sum is infinitely greater than its parts.
16.00: Xose Manuel Budino
Famed for its music and celebration of a Celtic identity that mirrors our own, Galicia's emblematic instrument is the gaita , and Xose Manuel Budino is one of its greatest exponents. Along with Carlos Nunez, he's spearheaded the revival in Galician piping, with an innovative approach that delves deep into the region's tradition of local bandas, spirited dance tunes and unique percussion instruments. Nor is he afraid to mix it up, sometimes evoking the grooves of Afro Celt Sound System with programmed loops and samples, as he carries his hybrid band into new terrain. What emerges is a rich encounter between contemporary sounds and rooted tradition, joined at the hip and sometimes indivisible from one another, with high energy and subtle grace at every turn.
Who better to end the affair with, than the unique and enduring partnership that is Altan, for they are a motif for all that’s best in Irish traditional music. Over the last decade they have traversed the globe, most recently in Japan and Korea, animating the world’s greatest stages with the life affirming music of their native Donegal, the place to which they always return. Local Ground (Vertical) is their tenth studio album, an aptly named endorsement of local roots in a globalised world, and evidence that, twenty years since their inception, their love of the haunting songs and rich fiddle music of the rugged north west remains undimmed. In performance, they evoke its hearths and snugs where nights are shared, summoning up the spirit of players past, the music moving unfettered between singular reflection and collective abandon. Artistry and conviviality have rarely been so compatible.