KILFENORA CÉILÍ Band will be one of the headline acts for a special Fleadh Nua at the beginning of June.

A busy scheduled for 2024 has been revealed by the traditional music powerhouse. Their tour begins and ends in Ennis, the first concert taking place in glór on New Year’s Day and culminating with the Fleadh Nua on June 1st.

Clare singer Fiona Ryan and Don Stiff will join the Kilfenora on the tour plus a troupe of talented dancers each of whom previously performed with Riverdance.

114 years in the business and the Kilfenora Céilí Band has gone from strength to strength. From village parties in the early 1900s right down to their current international profile, each new generation slots seamlessly into the groove of its forebears. The band originated in the late 1800s.

At the time, music was an important feature of life in rural Ireland. Kilfenora boasted a fine brass band, which gradually evolved into a dance band. Its story is the story of Irish music itself. From those early village parties to bigger dances in the ’30s, broadcasts in the ’40s, commercial recordings in the ’50s, foreign tours in the ’60s and ‘70s and the reformation of the band to its current format in the ‘90s.

In 1909, the first formal engagement of the group was a fund-raiser for the renovation of the local church. They continued with similar work over the following couple of decades, gradually developing an identity and a profile. As early as the ‘30s, the band was regularly venturing far beyond the county boundaries for dances. They did several broadcasts on Irish radio during the ’30s and ’40s. Kitty Linnane, the matriarch who steered the group through four decades was sneaked out of a convent as a teenager for her first appearance with them in 1939. She became leader in 1954 and was the figurehead till her death in 1992. The first two decades of her stewardship coincided with the golden age of céilí bands. During that era, her Kilfenora band dominated the competition circuit.

They were All-Ireland champions three times in a row from 1954-1956 and again in 1961. They performed in almost every county in the Republic and toured Britain on several occasions. A woman of caution, Kitty resisted all efforts to lure the band to the States. Under her leadership, they issued three albums, now collectors’ items.

Kitty Linnane’s mantle passed in the ’90s to the current leader John Lynch and under him the Kilfenora consolidated their position as one of the world’s greatest and longest running trad bands. Their album Set on Stone 1997 achieved Platinum status and Live in Lisdoonvarna in 2002 was Irish Music Magazine’s Traditional Album of the Year. To coincide with the band’s centenary in 2009, the band was presented with the IMA Hall of Fame award.

Renowned as one of the world’s most renowned traditional bands, the Kilfenora Céilí Band are constantly finding new ways to bring their age old traditions to new audiences with tours to Glastonbury (headline concerts on their acoustic stage) and concerts in New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center as well as tours around Ireland and Europe.

Their core repertoire of dance music, punctuated with an incomparable lift and rhythm, defines an unbroken tradition from its early beginnings. Despite this link with the past, their recent recordings and concert performances point to a broadening of the perceived boundaries of their genre. Collaborations with a diverse range of song and dance artists, experimentation with repertoire outside of the dance domain and complex harmonic arrangements speak to an ensemble who are pioneering new and exciting performance contexts for the céilí band genre. While acknowledging and incorporating the past, the Kilfenora thrives on creativity and innovation.

For more information go to http://www.kilfenoraceiliband.com/

Tour Dates

  • January 5, 2024 – Glór, Ennis
  • January 5, 2024 – Glór, Ennis
  • February 4, 2024 – Tintean Theatre, Ballybunion
  • March 16, 2024 – National Concert Hall, Dublin
  • March 17, 2024 – Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny
  • March 22, 2024 – Leisureland Galway
  • April 5, 2024 – Woodford Dolmen, Carlow
  • April 20, 2024 – Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny
  • April 28, 2024 – Kilfenora Open Air Céilí
  • June 1, 2024 – Fleadh Nua, Ennis

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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