The 41st International Pan Celtic Festival will be hosted for the first time by the residents of the historic town of Carlow, promising the best of food, music, singing and entertainment.
Situated on the River Barrow and nestling in the south-east of the Irish Republic, Carlow at one time played a major role in Irish history, but may yet prove to be an important musical milestone for the Isle of Man.
The Pan Celtic Festival is held just after Easter, providing an opportunity for representatives of each of the Celtic nations to gather together in a spirit of mutual harmony. It’s a strongly competitive festival, unlike many of its cultural siblings, where Manx representatives have been ploughing a steady, musical furrow in recent years.
Dominated by music, song and dance, a busy schedule of events, both in and around the town, will hold special significance for the Isle of Man this year as Margaid Bird of Ramsey will take over as President of the festival.
One of the highlights will be the Pan Celtic International Song Contest featuring an uncommon mixture of Celtic rock, folk, traditional and pop music from each nation. Despite its size the Isle of Man has provided a serious challenge of late in this competition and only failed to secure the top prize in 2011 by one point!
This year newly formed quartet ‘Mooinjerey’ hopes to prove that the Island can go one better and claim that elusive prize after selection during the local competition ‘Arrane son Mannin’ held at Peel Golf Club, with prize money awarded by the Manx Heritage Foundation. Performing their new composition ‘Cowrey ny Croshey’ (Sign of the Cross) at the Pan Celtic Festival with financial support from the Isle of Man Arts Council, this tightly knit group consists of Laura and David Rowles (co-writers of the song entry and part of last year’s group), Ruth Keggin vocalist and musician with ‘Nish as Rish’ who walked away with the prestigious top prize from the celebrated Lorient Festival and Russell Cowin, better known for his musical links with ‘King Chiaullee’ who were also past winners at Lorient. The song ‘Cowrey ny Croshey’, translated by Manx language expert Bob Carswell, focuses on both the beauty and spirituality of the Island’s distinctive Manx crosses scattered liberally across the Island, and questions what we may leave behind for future generations.
Local delegate for the Pan Celtic Festival, Fiona McArdle, will also be supported by members of northern based Manx Gaelic choir ‘Cliogaree Twoaie’ who will be making themselves heard at some of the many competitions and functions during a packed programme of events.
Also joining them will be local dynamic duo ‘Strengyn’ (Strings) who have been growing rapidly in popularity with their synergistic combination of musical genres and unashamed enthusiasm for their music.
© April 2012
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)