Some of Donegal’s top trad music talent will be joining the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on stage on 2 April for a gala concert in Conamara to mark fifty years on air for RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.
Altan, The High Seas (Ciarán Ó Maonaigh, Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Cathal Ó Curráin), Steve Cooney, Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Máire Ní Choilm, and An Crann Óg, will be amongst the musicians taking part in this very special occasion, which will be presented by Donegal broadcaster Michelle Nic Grianna, together with colleagues from the station’s Kerry and Conamara stations, Sláine Ní Chathalláin and Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha.
The concert will be broadcast live on radio at 7 pm on Saturday 2 April, and also streamed live at rte.ie/gaeilge.
Courage, identity and pride of place are the primary themes for the commemorative concert, titled RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta 50, reflecting the station’s origins within the civil rights movement, its history as a regional and national radio service, and its vital role in sustaining and promoting the Irish language and culture over the last fifty years, with artists from all across the Gaeltachtaí taking part.
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s Doirí Beaga team in Donegal has a host of special programmes planned for the coming months to mark the fifty year anniversary as well.
On 7 April they will be broadcasting Barrscéalta live from Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, at the heart of the Irish-language community in the town. Bladhaire will broadcast live from the official opening of Scoil Gheimhridh Ghaoth Dobhair music school and festival at 3 pm on Thursday 14 April, with brilliant live music from tutors and guests taking part in the school.
On 30 April, Bladhaire will be live from An Chultúrlann in Belfast, and on bank holiday Monday 2 May, Barrscéalta will be coming live from the Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta Donegal finals in Fánad. The RnaG team heads overseas then, with Barrscéalta coming live from Féile Róise Rua in Árainn Mhór on 19 May, and Tory Island on 17 June. These are just some of the special programmes lined up for the fifty year commemorations of the station.
For the gala concert on Saturday 2 April, the artists performing on stage with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will include Altan, Cór Chúil Aodha, Iarla Ó Lionáird & Steve Cooney, Johnny Óg Connolly, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, The High Seas, Cormac Ó Beaglaoich, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Dónal O’Connor, Gerry O’Beirne and Seán Monaghan.
RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta has had a central role in the revival of sean-nós singing, and the concert will include performances from Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, Máire Ní Choilm, Micheál Ó Confhaola, Caitlín Ní Chualáin, Páidí Mhárthain Mac Gearailt, Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhríde, Étáin & Máire Ní Churraoin and Scottish singer Griogair Labhruidh who will represent the connection with the other Celtic nations.
There will also be performances from Conamara country singers Beartla Ó Domhnaill, Máirtín Beag Ó Gríofa and Anna Marie Nic Dhonncha. The next generation will be represented by youth musical groups Ceoltóirí Óga Chois Fharraige from Conamara, Co. Galway, and An Crann Óg from Gaoth Dobhair in Donegal, and there will be sean-nós dancing from Róisín Ní Mhainín, the Hernon family and the Devanneys.
The concert will be presented by Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Michelle Nic Grianna and Sláine Ní Chathalláin. David Brophy will conduct the orchestra, and musical arrangement will be by Cormac McCarthy.
The concert will be produced by Aniar TV, and has been funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Highlights from the concert will be featured in a TV programme to be broadcast on RTÉ One on 23 April.