112% Funded


Target: €1500


€1,690 Raised


25 Funders

Coracle - Interlace and the Otherworld

By Galway Early Music Festival


We at Galway Early Music are asking our friends and supporters all over the world to help us bring Coracle, an exciting, innovative and experimental Gaelic music trio, to The Galway Early Music Festival, May 17-20, 2012.

You may be surprised to find that an early music festival features Gaelic ‘traditional’ music, but being based in the medieval city of Galway on the west coast of Ireland, we feel that it is so important to highlight the early music of Ireland and Scotland and to put it into its European context.

Coracle brings together a group of outstanding musicians who are at the cutting edge of new research on the music of the Gaelic areas of Ireland and Scotland from pre-history to the 18th century. This is a music that was handed down orally, and the approach to bringing it alive includes archaeomusical research (the study of surviving musical instruments and their iconography in order to reproduce those instruments for performance), palaeography (the study of written sources, both notation, song words and first-hand descriptions of the music) and reference to conservative surviving traditions around the world.

That all sounds like quite a mouthful! But in the hands of Barnaby Brown (triple pipes and bagpipes), Siobhán Armstrong (Early Irish Harp) and Griogair Labhruidh (Gaelic song), a lost Gaelic world of great deeds, sad laments and joyful celebration comes alive.

Glasgow’s Barnaby Brown leads the modern revival of the northern triplepipe, the ‘organ’ of the Celtic Church and precursor of the bagpipe in Britain and Ireland. He also champions the art of canntaireachd, the mouth music of the Highland bagpipe.

Siobhán Armstrong was born in Dublin, lives in Ireland and works as a freelance performer and teacher, mainly in Europe. She is equally at home playing seventeenth century Italian opera, performing on Hollywood film soundtracks and gigging at the world’s biggest traditional music festivals. Her greatest interest is encouraging the revival of the early Irish harp.

Griogair Labhruidh belongs to the well known Labhruidh family of North Argyll and although he was brought up on Loch Lomondside he was immersed in his family’s traditions from a young age. There have been numerous Gaelic singers, pipers and storytellers among his forebears on both sides of his family and Griogair’s father passed on the piping tradition to him. He is very proud to be keeping the dialect, singing and piping tradition of his people alive.

Coracle will perform on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 4 pm in a heritage site outside Galway City (TBC) as part of The Galway Early Music Festival.

Barnaby Browne will also give a free public demonstration of Scottish pipes and triple pipes in the Galway City Museum on Saturday, May 19 at 1:30 pm.

We thank you all for your support of this exciting venture. Even if you can’t actually be at the concert, you will be able to see the fruits of your generosity in a video featuring the concert that is being made to promote Coracle’s work.



Rewards on the way!

We've been sending out the maps, so you can look forward to receiving them soon. For those of you who are receiving CDs, we're still awaiting CDs from two of the musicians, but will have them in the post before long. In the meanwhile, Coracle are planning their own CD. You'll hear about it, when it is available. Carlo is busy working on Coracle's promotional video which includes scenes from their performance at The Galway Early Music Festival. Can't wait to see it!

Coracle gave an amazing concert!

Coracle gave their concert on Sunday May 20 in Aughnanure Castle and it was brilliant! The venue (the top floor of a 15th century tower house that once belonged to the O'Flaherty family and Grainne Mhaile (Grace O'Malley - pirate queen) was so perfect for the music. The acoustic for the wire strung harp was a revelation. When you hear the instrument in the right place, it helps to understand why it was THE noble instrument of Ireland and Scotland for so long. Griogair Labhraidh's Gaelic songs were so strong - a truely heroic poetry. Barnaby introduced the triple pipes to many who had never seen nor heard them before, and played a beautiful pibroch as the last piece (outside - wow!) They all went off to Clonmacnoise the next day to see the stone carving of triple pipes on one of the high crosses. Thank you all for giving us the opportunity to bring Coracle to the Festival. We are in the process of sending out the rewards, but we hope you will be patient. The festival organisation took over until yesterday. We'll get started on the mailing asap - iit won't be long now!

Thanks to you all, we made it!!

Thanks to our funders, we made our goal. Only a week and half until the concert and we're busy with last minute details, such as how to get 50 chairs up the winding staircase of a medieval castle!! It's going to be such an atmospheric concert. Hope to see many of you there! If you can't be there, there WILL be a video.

Nota Bene: Schedule Change for Coracle

Coracle will be performing at 6 pm (rather than 5 pm) in Aughnanure Caslte on Sunday, May 20. The later start time is to facilitate another Festival event: a screening of Master & Commander (which uses early music contemporary to the action in the film). The whole weekend is full of fantastic musical events. If you haven't already seen the programme ,do check it out at www.galwayearlymusic.com.

Wonderful venue finalised!

The venue for Coracle's concert will be Aughnanure Castle near Oughterard, Co Galway. Aughnanure is one of well over 200 tower houses in Co. Galway. It was built by the O'Flahertys in c. 1500 and had a very colourful history. It was handed over to the Irish Office of Public Works (OPW) by Peter Faherty in 1952. It is in beautiful surroundings near Lough Corrib and should be a wonderfully atmospheric venue for this concert.

Siobhán gives a preview

I'll be playing some 'ports': beautiful and almost completely unknown 17th century Gaelic harp tunes, which were probably composed by Ruaidhri Dall O Cathain, a gentleman harper from the north west of Ireland, who spent much of his life in the Scottish Highlands. It is he, for example, who composed 'Tabhair Dom do Lamh', a tune still played by traditional musicians in Ireland. We don't have such early versions of his tunes in Ireland but they still survive across the water because literate Scottish Renaissance lute players transcribed these wonderful melodies into their tune books using lute 'tablature': a system of notating music akin to modern guitar tablature. So the tunes need to be deciphered and then I need to see if I would change them in any way to make them more 'harp-like' again. In practice though, I don't change very much at all: they shine as they are!

Barnaby puts in a word

Barnaby wrote to me to tell me how excited they are to be coming to Galway. We'll have more news on the details of the music they will be playing soon. He also wants you to know that his last name is Brown (not Browne). I think a rogue 'e' got onto the project page somewhere!

Many thanks!

Thank you to the anonymous donor who was very quick off the mark!! Hope you'll be at the Festival.

funders (25)

There are 17 public funders of this project

There are 8 anonymous funders of this project