Traditional Music Commissions

The Arts Office awarded two commissions for traditional music in 2018.

78 Revolution by Niall Vallely



78 Revolution is an hour-long piece that explores the interaction between live musicians and pre-recorded material; contemporary music and traditional music; modern technology and century-old technology. Composer Niall Vallely will be joined by a stellar cast of musicians including Zoe Conway (fiddle), Mick O’Brien (pipes), Mick McAuley (accordion), Kate Ellis (cello) and Caoimhín Vallely (piano) along with a soundscape that celebrates more than a century of traditional music.

Dinnseanchas by Lorcán Mac Mathúna


Dinnseanchas is the stories and music, of place-names, and long held traditions. This special performance of traditional music and storytelling investigated the landscape of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown; from the mountains to the sea, from the present and the past.

New work written and produced by Lorcán Mac Mathúna, with traditional stories selected by Seosam O Maolalaí. Performed by Eamonn Galldubh and the musicians of CCÉ na Píobairí Uilleann under the direction of Clare Walsh; with spoken word by Seosamh O Maolalaí.


Background information:

78 Revolution – Niall Vallely

78 Revolution will explore the interaction between live musicians and pre-recorded material; contemporary music and traditional music; modern technology and century-old technology; Irish musicians in 2018 and Irish musicians in 1918.  This piece will utilise archival audio and video as well as live musicians and electronics to create a stunning amalgamation of ancient and modern sounds. 78 Revolution will celebrate the circular nature of traditional music, turning back on itself while moving inexorably forward.

Over the past 25 years Niall Vallely has established himself worldwide as one of Ireland’s most significant musicians and composers. He began learning the concertina at the age of seven, taught by his parents Brian and Eithne Vallely, founders of the Armagh Pipers' Club. Over the years he has developed a unique approach to playing the instrument and his compositions have gained widespread acclaim both within the world of Irish traditional music and further afield.  Since the early 1990s Niall has been working at composing traditional-style tunes.  His tunes have been recorded on more than 75 albums while some of them have become ‘standards’ in sessions throughout the world. 

In more recent years he has been expanding the scope of his compositions to embrace larger scale forms and instrumentation and involving musicians from the worlds of traditional and classical music. He has received commissions from RTE LyricFM, BBC, TG4, Cork Opera House, Crash Ensemble, University College Cork, Kate Ellis and the Vanbrugh Quartet and has had his works broadcast on radio and television in Ireland, the US and throughout Europe.


Dinnseanchas - Lorcán Mac Mathúna

Dinnseanchas means the history and folklore of place-names; and is the title of this commission which will see young traditional musicians of the county take inspiration from records of the past, to unpack the contexts of traditional music and arts.

Sean-Nós interpreter and composer, Lorcán Mac Mathúna, will take young musicians and singers from The Pipers Club CCÉ, based in Monkstown, on a journey exploring themes of place and folklore, inspired by The Irish Folklore Commission’s School Collection; collected between 1937 and 39. The project aims to enrich the experience of participants -performers, their teachers, and audience- through deep and thematic engagement with archived folklore material; and to give new understanding of the context of traditional song, music, and storytelling. Lorcán will work throughout 2018 with musician’s storytellers and archivists on delivering a concert which will be performed in October 2018.

Lorcán Mac Mathúna is a Sean Nós singer and composer raised in Co. Dublin. Throughout his career he has worked across genres and collaborated with traditional, contemporary, improvised, and jazz musicians and composers. He has directed music projects and created many works including 6 song cycles and 6 studio albums. Commissioned song cycles include: The Battle of Clontarf, An Táin, Derry to the Sea, Tásc is Tuairisc, 1916 - Visionaries and their words, and The Arrows that Murder Sleep. Major works include Preab-Meadar; a groundbreaking collection of rhythms based on Gaelic syllabic poetry. He is a published researcher and a noted sean-nós tutor.


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