John Dwyer Trad Weekend and Centenary Trad Concert to be celebrated at Imagine Arts Festival, Waterford

John Dwyer Trad Weekend and Centenary Trad Concert to be celebrated at Imagine Arts Festival


The annual John Dwyer Trad Weekend is set to be a highlight on the Imagine Arts Festival events schedule, the weekend will see workshops, sessions, concerts that feature the best traditional musicians from Ireland and further afield from October 21st to 23rd in Waterford City.

Expect sparks to fly when West Kerry accordionist and singer Séamus Begley joins forces with Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada and Californian dancer and pianist Samantha Harvey as they get the weeknd off to a lively start.

Séamus Begley is the quintessential Irish musician, an eager storyteller known for his sharp wit and famous for pumping out tune after tune at all night sessions with an energy that is sometimes alarming. Displaying a frisky spontaneity in his accordion-playing, he has toured extensively with performers such as Altan, Steve Cooney and Mary Black and Téada. TG4 recently awarded Séamus the prestigious ‘Traditional Singer of the Year’ award in recognition of his major contribution to Irish singing.

Fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, founder of noted group Téada, has been described by The Irish Echo’s Earle Hitchner as “one of the most gifted and creative traditional fiddlers playing today” and he will be joined by masterful accompaniment on piano, Samantha Harvey originally from Ventura, California now living in Sligo, is also an award-winning step dancer. Join the trio in concert at St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre on Friday, October 21st.

A gala centenary concert will feature a plethora of well-known traditional musicians, singers, poets and dancers from the County Waterford Gaeltacht of An Rinn and an Seanphobal as they join their Waterford City counterparts to showcase the best of Irish traditional music, song, poetry and dance at the ‘East meets West Trad Concert’. This collaboration, which is being organised by the Irish Office of Waterford City & County Council, will be the culmination of Waterford’s Centenary Programme and will feature newly-composed works, as well as the best of well-known traditional music and song.

Amongst the performers will be the Gaeltacht male voice choir, Cór Fear na nDéise; John Dwyer on fiddle, Edel Fox on concertina, Neill Byrne on fiddle, Jimmy O’Brien-Moran on uileann pipes, poet Áine Uí Fhoghlú, sean-nós singer, Seán Mac Craith and many more. This concert takes place at City Hall on the evening of Saturday, October 22nd and tickets are available to pre-book at

The John Dwyer Trad Weekend celebrates the music of composer and fiddle player John Dwyer, is fast becoming one of the most popular music weekends in the country.

Commenting on the upcoming weekend and the gala concert Máire Seó Breathnach, Irish Officer with Waterford City & County Council said, “Each year, the John Dwyer Trad weekend attracts musicians from all over the world and always boasts a stellar line-up of world class performers. As Irish Officer I am delighted to partner with them this year to stage the East meets West 1916 Centenary Concert, which will be a cultural embodiment of the Centenary Celebrations in Waterford, as this special year draws to a close. The concert will showcase top class artists from Waterford City and County and will reflect the continuing efforts to bring City and County closer together post-amalgamation. As we say, “‘Ní neart go cur le chéile” (united we are stronger).”

Many more events are set to take place during the John Dwyer Trad Weekend including the unique under-18 composition competition, which is judged by John Dwyer himself, Traditional music workshops and Trad music sessions.

The weekend takes place as part of the 10 day Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford, which takes, place from October 20th to October 30th and promises an exceptional programme for everyone to enjoy. The 2016 festival is an exciting multi-disciplinary series of events that promote the best of local arts mixed with top national and international work. Some 2016 festival highlights include a wonderful visual art exhibition opening at Greyfriars Gallery on feauting the works of Artists Colin Martin, Martin Gale, Mick O Dea and Eithne Jordan RHA. Musical highlights include gigs with US indie country rock band Richmond Fontaine and Little green Cars, writers Mia Gallagher, Declan Hughes and Willy Vlautin (US) along with a new opera, films, theatre and lots of music.

The annual ‘Booze, Blaas n’Banter’ event celebrating the City’s Quayside and maritime heritage will also offer lots of interesting chats and craic with speakers including RTE’ s Marcus Connaughton, and even local historian David Toms flying in especially from Norway for his presentation and many more.

Join in the fun this October in Waterford from the 20th to 30th – see

Oisin Mac Diarmada, Samantha Harvey and Seamus Begley, photographed at City Hall, Dublin on Thursday, 28 January 2016.Photography by Brendan Duffy.

Oisin Mac Diarmada, Samantha Harvey and Seamus Begley, photographed at City Hall, Dublin on Thursday, 28 January 2016.Photography by Brendan Duffy.

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