Mayo’s Atlantic Rhythm musicians and dancers to feature at Italian Folk Festival

Some of Mayo’s finest traditional Irish musicians and dancers will enjoy a unique opportunity to represent their county and country abroad in early September, as seven members of the Atlantic Rhythm Productions group have been selected to travel to Blessano, Italy, to perform in the prestigious Danzerini Udinesi Folk Festival from September 1 to 4. 

Musicians Kyle Hampson, Róisín Croinin, and Elisha Leonard who play the accordion, flute, tin whistle, bodhran and guitar, will accompany dancers Lisa Lavelle, Shannon Gallagher, Aoife Kelleher, and Laura Naughton to the beautiful Udinese region of Blessano in northern Italy, close to Venice. Atlantic Rhythm is the first Irish group to perform at this event, and Ireland will be well represented with two world champions in the delegation – Lisa Lavelle and Laura Naughton who have achieved success on the world stage with The Moffatt School of Irish Dancing and the Naughton Academy of Irish Dance respectively.  Atlantic Rhythm will perform three shows across the four days and will be meeting and mixing with dance groups from other countries while representing Ireland at this event.

Sheila Moffatt, director of Atlantic Rhythm Productions, said: “We’re really looking forward to this trip, as it provides us with a unique opportunity to build relationships abroad and promote Ballina and north Mayo areas to an international audience. We are also hoping that in the future it will lead to visits from other international groups to Ballina.”

The Atlantic Rhythm group recently performed at a number of high-profile events in the region, including Ballina Salmon Festival’s National Heritage Day, the recent visit of An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to Crossmolina and at the welcome reception in the Ballina Manor Hotel for 53 Irish-American visitors from Cleveland, Ohio, who spent six nights in Mayo with CIE Tours.

The Danzerini Udinesi festival is organised by the Folklore Group, which aims to promote popular folk music and dances by researching the historical roots and traditions of their own land. The group was born in 1963 and has exhibitions in various Italian locations, and participates in national and international folklore festivals.

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