Manx Musicians to Represent Island at Lorient Festival


The dynamic appeal of the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival strengthens with each passing year, as it strides confidently into its fourth decade as undisputed champion of the European folk scene.
With 200 events and an astonishing 5,000 performers, this inter-Celtic extravaganza attracts in the region of 800,000 visitors over ten days in celebration of rich and diverse cultures, including the Isle of Man.
The Manx delegation has been organised by Dr Breesha Maddrell, Manx Music Development Officer for the Manx Heritage Foundation, who co-ordinates with the professional festival team based in Lorient to bring some of the best exponents of Manx music, song and dance to the Breton seaport.
Dr Maddrell commented, “This really is a partnership – we work closely with producers linked to DEFA and with officers within the Department of Community Culture and Leisure so that we can showcase the Island’s finest. It’s a great opportunity for us to get noticed, as we are only one of eight nations recognised at the festival. Our musicians, singers and dancers are just brilliant and always receive a warm welcome.”
Acknowledged locally as an opportunity to sell the Isle of Man to a wider audience, Peter Skelly will head the pavilion team of volunteers and chefs as they serve Manx beer, queenies and cheese to tourists, performers and representatives of the media from across Europe, North America and Australia. The pavilion will also act as an important conduit between the Isle of Man and the festival; and as a focal point for anyone who wishes to explore the many aspects of the Island’s unique culture.
The Manx musicians and singers representing the Island at this year’s festival will take with them a whole range of personal influences and a vibrant link to the cultural melting pot of the festival.
As Manx challengers for the coveted Tropheé de Musique, Scammylt, led by classically trained violin player Katie Lawrence, like to blend influences from rock and jazz into their mix of traditional and original compositions. Accompanied by guitar tutor/composer Mike Reaney and former member of King Chiaullee Russell Cowin on bass and bodhran, they will be promoting their first recording at the festival, featuring artwork by Bruno Cavellec.
Manx Gaelic choir Caarjyn Cooidjagh need little introduction, having represented the Island at many international events performing both traditional and contemporary Manx songs. Presenting award-winning arrangements by their musical director and conductor Annie Kissack, they will also perform secular music in other venues.
They will be joined by multi-instrumentalist and specialist composer David Kilgallon on the organ and world renowned trumpet/cornetto player Russell Gilmour who will explore both the Island’s Celtic and Norse heritage through their music, providing contributions to concerts of sacred music in some of Lorient’s most beautiful churches.
Valerie Caine
© August 2013
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)