Local musical ambassadors return from Catalonian Festival
Update published on: November 5, 2018
Musicians from the Mullaghbane-based Traditional Arts Partnership (TAP) took part in last week’s Creative Connexions Irish Catalan Festival in Sitges, Catalonia. The group of 28 musicians, singers and dancers were predominantly from the 15-18 Grupa Cheoil and performed throughout the weekend at concerts, sessions, interactive workshops, parades and street/impromptu sessions. They were kept really busy and between the different venues, they played, danced and sang for up to six hours every day – a serious amount of musical mileage which boosted their ability and confidence daily.
The children also performed for the Irish Ambassador Síle Maguire and for the Mayor of Sitges Miquel Forns, both of whom were presented with fine plaques, hand-crafted locally by Padraig Carragher Wood Turning and presented by Des Murphy on behalf of Newry, Mourne & Down District Council.
This is the third year that TAP musicians have taken part in the festival and the highlight of each trip is the visit to the Institute of Arts Barcelona, which is based in Sitges. This is a Performing Arts College and TAP is extremely proud to continue this valuable link.
This year the young musicians, signers and dancers performed in the courtyard and as always had the students up dancing the ‘Waves of Tory’. They then took an interactive workshop in one of the studios with the singing and acting students. In every performance we witnessed hidden talent emerging in our singers, dancers, public speakers, and leaders. They truly are fine ambassadors for their local area, county, province and country, not just musically but also in attitude, manners and general interaction with locals and visitors.
The festival featured four other young musical groups from Ireland and two adult choirs. The nightly ‘Cid Session’ in the hotel attracted people from all over the festival and, indeed, groups who were staying in other hotels, having built up a reputation for being “serious craic”. Fantastic friendships continued and friendship with Croabh Phiaras, Monkstown and with Bray CCE developed even futher, and a whole new horizon opens up with new links to Ballinspittle CCE, West Cork.
Elaine O’Sullivan is one of the trip organisers and performed daily along with her young protégées.
Reflecting on the successful trip, she said: “All in all it was a fast-paced, high-energy trip that left everyone feeling elated and proud, but exhausted. According to reports, there has been some serious sleeping going on since our return! Many thanks to all of the additional adults and young musicians from the South Armagh area who came over to Sitges to support the kids at all of their performances and sessions. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces around the beautiful town of Sitges.
TAP would just like to say a heartfelt thank you to each and every person who donated at any of our fundraising events throughout the year. This year the trip cost just shy of £25,000 and we have had numerous fundraisers throughout the year to ease the burden of the cost of the trip for the families of our young musicians. Our street collection last weekend brought in a fantastic £986. Many thanks to all who donated at the ‘Camlough toll bridge’! We are also very grateful to the Landscape Partnership Scheme who again provided welcome financial support and to NMDDC for continuing to offer us paid gigs throughout the year.”