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Ten young traditional musicians from Music Generation Laois have been invited to perform at the prestigious Celtic music festival ‘Creative Connexions’ in Sitges, Spain this October bank holiday weekend. The group of musicians, include harp, flute, pipes, bodhran and fiddle will travel to Spain for the 4 day Fesitval, and perform alongside well-known Irish musicians including Colin Dunne, dancer, musicians Daire Bracken, Ellen Cranitch, Desi Wilkinson and Brian Fleming.


Speaking about the forthcoming performance, Co-ordinator of Music Generation Laois, Rosa Flannery, said that ‘the invitation to perform at an international festival is recognition of the high standard of traditional music among young people in Co Laois. Three young traditional musicians from Music Generation Laois were invited to perform in New York in May of this year, where they were introduced on stage by U2’s Adam Clayton. These international performances are an excellent passport for our young people to see the world, make international connections and promote Laois throughout their travels.’


Creative Connexions in Sitges, Barcelona takes place from the 27-30 October, and it will include:

  • More than 40 Festival Events throughout the day and night, many of which are free
  • A public, Opening Parade, Concerts, Parties, Cultural Walks, Workshops, Exhibitions, Sessions and Pop-up performances
  • 15+ Venues and Outdoor pop-up performance sites and 300+ performers, artists and musicians from Ireland and Catalonia.

Music Generation Laois Harpists at the O’Carolan Harp Festival.

The Music Generation Laois Harpists were delighted to travel to the international O’Carolan Harp Festival in Nobber, Co Meath, the birth place of Ireland’s most famous harpist Turlough O’Carolan, on Saturday the 1st of October.

This group of 18 harpists participated in workshops with some of Ireland’s most talented Harpists and competed in the festival competitions against young musicians from all around Ireland, with a number even having travelled from Scotland and Italy.

The Music Generation Laois Harp Ensemble was joined by their tutor Siobhan Buckley and in the workshops they learned new tunes, techniques and styles.

The O’Carolan Harp Festival, 30th September – 2nd October 2016, is in its 29th year and attracts harpers from far and wide to take part in its workshops and competitions. The three-day festival holds an array of events including excellent concerts, ceilís, lectures, exhibitions & tours with a special memorial ceremony to celebrate to life and work of Turlough O’Carolan.

‘Irish Songs We Learned at School’ with John Spillane.

Music Generation Laois, through the Laois 2016 Centenary fund, have initiated an ‘Irish Songs We Learned at School’ project with the legendary Irish Singer-Songwriter John Spillane.

National Schools across Laois, who participate in the Music Generation Laois Singing Programme, will receive monthly visits from the well-known musician from Cork, learning many of the Irish Songs We Learned at School that John Spillane recorded on the album of the same name in 2008. In addition some of the songs associated with the 1916 Rising, including ‘Grace’ and the ‘Foggy Dew’ will be included in the songs covered in this schools project.

The project will run from September to November 2016 and culminate with a large scale concert on the 24 of November in Portlaoise, where John Spillane, Music Generation Laois Singing Tutor Lorna McLaughlin, and all the participating schools will perform, along with a live band.

Trad Orchestra Auditions

The Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra was established in January 2016 under the directorship of Paul Finn and Siobhan Buckley. Earlier this year the orchestra collaborated with Donegal Accordionist Martin Tourish to create a new 30 minute suite of music ‘1916 Visions and Voices’ funded by the Laois 2016 Community Fund, Per Cent for Art through Laois County Council and the Music Generation Arts Council Partnership.  The music was premiered on the 22 of May, as part of the Music Generation Laois New Works Series, to unprecedented public response! The work has since been performed in Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ennis 2016, and will be professionally recorded in Golden Egg Studio Portlaoise later this year.

Music Generation Laois are auditioning for new Trad Orchestra members. Auditions will take place on Saturday 8 of October in Portlaoise. This opportunity is for advanced traditional music students with 4 years experience and upwards, and aged 18 and under.

Please note: Current orchestra members do not need to re-audition.

Weekly rehearsal: Successful applicants must be available for weekly rehearsal on Saturdays from 10am-11:30am. Attendance is strictly monitored, if members miss more than 3 rehearsals throughout the academic year, their membership will be relinquished.

Fee: Annual orchestra membership fee €100.

To apply for an audition send an email to stating your name, age, instrument, and some information about your experience as a musician to-date (no more than 200 words) by 10am on Friday 7 October 2016.

Please include your parent/ guardian mobile telephone number. If selected for an audition, you will receive a text message with all relevant info. Applications from parents on behalf of their children will not be accepted.

Culture Night 2016

On Friday 16 September, Music Generation Laois, in conjunction with the Laois Arts Office, joined counties and cities across Ireland in celebrating Culture Night 2016. New Road, a traditional Irish band with Americana influences based in Sligo, with special guests Cathy Jordan (Dervish) and Leonard Podolak (The Duhks), performed in the beautiful surroundings of The Malthouse in Stradbally. Music Generation Laois also held bi-lingual bodhrán workshops with Dale McKay, in Portlaoise Youth Education Centre in Railway Street.

Speaking after the concert, Rosa Flannery, Co-ordinator of Music Generation Laois, said that The Malthouse, which is privately owned ‘is a stunning location for a concert, brimming with individuality and quirkiness, which combined with the wonderful musicians performing on the night, made for a brilliant evening’s entertainment.’ A group of  young musicians, who are part of over 3000 young people in the County who participate in weekly Music Generation Laois programmes, took part in a workshop earlier in the evening with New Road and Cathy Jordan. These young musicians then joined the band for an encore on stage in The Malthouse that night, much to the delight of the audience.

Culture Night offers access to cultural institutions and cultural events free of charge, and is an opportunity to celebrate culture, creativity and the arts throughout Ireland.