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ABAIR 2024 Returns with Star Studded Line-up of Irish, Welsh, Scottish and U.S. Artists

Wednesday 21 February

SPF Garveys Ghost Garvey Emma

Now in its 6th year, ABAIR is St. Patrick’s Festival’s flagship traditional arts strand, sponsored by the Arts Council Traditional Arts fund, which explores the Irish traditions of storytelling, song, and oral history and traces their links around the world.

Curated by traditional singer Macdara Yeates, and supported by the Arts Council Traditional Arts Fund, the multi-format programme offers a wide array of concerts, pop-ups and storytelling sessions that examine the relationship between the sung and spoken word in Ireland and abroad (the Irish word ‘Abair’ translates roughly as both ‘to say’ and ‘to sing’).

All events will take place in the historic grounds of TU Dublin, Grangegorman running from the 15th-17th March.

Garvey's Ghost (pictured above) opens the programme with an evening of folk music, poetry and discussion exploring the complicated history of Black-Irish solidarity from the Famine to the Ulster Civil Rights Movement. Taking inspiration from Marcus Garvey, the Harlem-based Civil Rights activist who became enamoured with the 1916 Rising, the event journeys through the music, words and social history of two peoples and examines the deep cultural links between them.

Hosted by author and political commentator Emma Dabiri, this exciting line-up features former MP and renowned civil rights campaigner Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, Cajun, Creole and Zydeco musician Cedric Watson, Irish singer and songrwrtier Niamh Bury, Irish poet, playwright and spoken word artist Dagogo Hart, Frederick Douglas expert Professor Christine Kinealy, Leni Sloan, a culture and heritage programme facilitator including Black and Irish experiences in the United States and Macdara Yeates.

Bothy/Bothán - An Evening of Songs and Stories from Ireland and Scotland is an international collaboration of music and shared history, co-curated by folk singers Macdara Yeates and Steve Byrne. Using the work songs of both countries as a central theme, the event brings together artists from Scotland and Ireland to explore shared traditions and folk customs, covering everything from songs of migrant farm labourers in the North East to the centuries-old ballads of emigrant Irish workers on the neighbouring isle.

This event features the evocative vocal folk of Landless, Scottish harmony trio Choras, Antrim born singer and storyteller Len Graham, Scottish singer Scott Gardiner, Steve Byrne, folk singer and Director of TRACS (Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland) and Macdara Yeates.

Holyhead - An Evening of Songs and Stories from Ireland and Wales is an international collaboration of music and shared history, co-curated by folk singers Macdara Yeates and Gwilym Bowen Rhys.

Using the Dublin-Holyhead sailing route as a central theme, the event brings together artists from Wales and Ireland to explore shared traditions and folk customs, covering everything from the Welsh and Irish harping traditions to the rich vein of emigration songs in which Holyhead port plays a central role.

Featuring Welsh composer and multi-instrumentalist Cerys Hafana, Fergus Russell traditional singer from Dublin and stalwart of An Góilín Traditional Singers Circle, folk singer and BBC Radio Cymru presenter Linda Griffiths, singer and Gaelic harp player Micheál Ó Catháin, prodigious Welsh singer Gwilym Bowen Rhys, and Macdara Yeates.

The Phoeno - A Musical Walking Tour of the Phoenix Park
To accompany the new publication ‘The Lamplighters of Phoenix Park,’ historian Donal Fallon (Three Castles Burning) leads tourists on a journey of two-hundred years of Dublin history, from the Phoenix Park assassinations to the foundation of the Zoological gardens, illuminated by a series of musical acts along the way.

Storytelling Sessions with Jack Lynch and guests
An afternoon of folk tales and songs from some of Ireland’s finest exponents of the oral traditions, curated by Dublin storyteller Jack Lynch, one Ireland’s foremost voices in the world of folk tales and mythology.

Held over two afternoons, these events feature world renowned song-writer and singer Colum Sands, Chicago-Irishman Pat Ryan, German-born, Irish based storyteller Simone Schuemmelfeder and Len Graham.