Patrick Bergin to launch Galway Sessions Festival 2018

Trad, folk, and roots festival to celebrate the harmonica

Actor and harmonica player Patrick Bergin.

Actor and harmonica player Patrick Bergin.

ANDY IRVINE, John and Pip Murphy, and the actor Patrick Bergin, are heading west for the 2018 Galway Sessions Festival, the city's annual celebration of traditional, folk, and roots music.

The festival programme will be launched on Friday May 4 at 6pm in The Crane Bar, Sea Road, by Bergin, who is best known for the films, Sleeping With The Enemy with Julia Roberts; To The Mountains And The Moon, with Ian Glenn (Jack Taylor ); and more recently as the villainous Aidan Maguire in Eastenders. The launch will be followed by music from Cathal Johnson of Harmonicas Ireland, and friends.

The Sessions will run from June 13 to 17, with a focus on the harmonica, known in the Irish tradition as ‘The Tin Sandwich'. According to festival director Mick Crehan, the harmonica has experienced a revival in the past decade. "This is due mainly to the efforts of some great practitioners such as the Murphy Brothers from Wexford, Carlow’s Mick Kinsella, and Rick Epping from the US. We are very proud to present these greats and many more wonderful artists in what promises to be a memorable week of music, song, and dance."

Festival highlights include TG4 Musician of the Year Frankie Gavin (De Dannan ) with Rick Epping (Pumpkinhead ) in the Róisín Dubh. Other Róísín gigs include Planxty, Patrick Street, and solo folk legend Andy Irvine, and left-field and contemporary folk acts The Spook of the 13th Lock and Landless.

A series of early afternoon and evening recitals will be held in The King’s Head and St Nicholas' Collegiate Church, along with sessions in Tigh Choili, Taaffes, and Tigh Neachtain, while flautist/singer Stephie Geremia will launch her new album, Up She Flew, in The Crane.

The gala festival gig is in Monroe’s Live on Saturday 16 with John and Pip Murphy, widely regarded as the foremost exponents of the harmonica within Irish trad. Also performing will be Mick Kinsella on harmonica and concertina, Belgian fiddler Thierry Masure, and Les Trois Blondes, playing French café music of the 1940s. Special guest will be Patrick Bergin, who also plays the harmonica.

There will also be workshops on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 with Mick Kinsella focusing on Irish trad, and Poland's Majiek Zworonek, focusing on jazz and blues. See www.galwaysessions.com

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