Culture Ministers welcome Irish musicians to Scotland

Ireland Is Focus Country at Key Music Industry Event

Part of GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain

(Glasgow, Scotland. Friday, February 2, 2018) Ireland’s Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D. today launched a special year of Irish arts and culture in Britain – GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain.

Minister Madigan was joined by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Ms. Fiona Hyslop as she launched the GB18 at Celtic Connections, Scotland’s annual festival of folk, roots and world music.

The event was notable as Ireland is being featured as a focus country in 2018 at Showcase Scotland, a key music industry event that takes place at Celtic Connections every year.

Ireland’s participation at Showcase Scotland also marks the first flagship event of the GB18 Programme.  This vibrant, contemporary and high quality programme of events across all artistic disciplines involves hundreds of Irish artists travelling to dozens of prestigious venues, institutions and festivals across Britain.

Speaking at the launch Minister Madigan said: “Ireland’s participation at Showcase Scotland this year is particularly special as it is the first flagship event of the GB18 programme. It offers artists the opportunity to gain further international touring contracts and work globally, continuing to enhance Ireland’s reputation.

She continued: “This special year-long programme seeks to strengthen our cultural and artistic links across Scotland, Wales and England through an enhanced programme of cultural activity. I thank the artists participating for their commitment to their work and for giving us all such pleasure. I hope this special year serves as a platform for long reaching and enhanced cultural connections for Britain.

The Irish artists showcasing are 2017 Choice Music Prize Nominee Wallis Bird, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell, sean-nós singer, arranger and composer Lorcán Mac Mathúna, instrumental ensemble NOTIFY, Dublin folk singer Aoife Scott and acoustic instrumentalists The Young Folk.

With over 200 festival directors, programmers and presenters from all over the world attending this Irish showcase, emerging Irish artists are being given additional international opportunities for sustainable careers.

Christine Sisk, Director of Culture Ireland said:  “Ireland is honoured to be the spotlight country at Showcase Scotland at Celtic Connections, one of the world’s most important showcases of folk and traditional music. We know that the six Showcase selections, as well as the wider programme of Irish artists at Celtic Connections will present international audiences a unique chance to experience the vibrant Irish music scene and further advance Ireland’s reputation for artistic excellence. This event is a great introduction to a strong programme of arts activity under the GB18.”



Highlights of GB18: Promoting Irish Arts in Britain include:

  • The Abbey Theatre production of The Plough and the Stars at London’s Lyric Hammersmith
  • Irish National Opera touring its acclaimed co-production with Landmark Productions of The Second Violinist to London’s Barbican Centre
  • ANU Productions and CoisCeim Dance Theatre’s These Rooms tours to the London International of Theatre (LIFT)
  • Fishamble Theatre Company’s productions of Forgotten to Paisley and Dundee, and Underneath to Warwick Arts Center
  • Pan Pan’s double bill of Beckett’s All That Fall and Cascando on tour throughout Britain
  • Kíla, Comhaltas Ceolteoirí Éireann, the Martin Hayes Quartet and Slow Moving Clouds touring widely in 2018
  • Imagining Ireland, a special night of contemporary Irish songwriting featuring Lisa Hannigan, Paul Noonan and Loah, among others, at the Barbican.
  • Irish work will also be seen at the Edinburgh Festivals, Brighton Festival, the London Book Fair and The Great Escape.
  • A wide range of Irish visual artists at exhibitions around Britain.

The full programme of over 60 projects, performances, tours, exhibitions can be found here.

More Information

The Artists at Showcase Scotland

Wallis Bird has made her name as a fearlessly passionate, boldly eclectic songstress, whose octave-spanning voice encompasses folk, pop, rock electronica and more. She’s recorded for Universal and Sony, released five studio albums and toured with the likes of Billy Bragg and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Bird toured her latest album ‘Home’ around the world, playing over 70 headlining shows throughout Europe, Japan and Australia, and reaching over 30,000 fans.

Dublin folk singer-songwriter Aoife Scott has become a force to be reckoned with on the Irish folk and traditional scene. Her earliest memories include annual family gatherings at her grandparental Rathlin Island home, with rising-star mum Frances Black and celebrated auntie Mary. Scott’s debut album ‘Carry the Day’ showcases her highly accomplished English and Gaeilge song-writing, allied with delicate, honeyed vocals.

After launching his UK solo career at Celtic Connections 2016, Dublin-born traditional singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell has been described as one of the most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent years. Six months after releasing the album ‘True Born Irishman’, Daoirí won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Traditional Track, and performed live at the awards ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

NOTIFY are an instrumental five-piece who have been turning heads both sides of the pond with their daring and sensitive alloy of Irish trad and contemporary jazz, featuring concertina, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, plus samples, loops and programming.

Lorcán Mac Mathúna is a compelling Sean-Nós [Old-Style Gaelic] singer, who conjures a world of intense emotions coloured by mythology and legend. Creating a sound somewhere between the Gloaming and Deniz Prigent, his songs will transport you on an immersive journey with all the cadences of history and prehistory. Like a shaman, he channels Gaelic mythology and storytelling in a way that engrosses his audience in an almost spiritual experience.

Irish quartet The Young Folk command a fast growing international fan base, thanks to strong original song-writing, distinctive instrumentation – including banjo, trombone, synths, mandolin and piano – and a harmony rich blend of traditional, indie-pop and electronica elements.

About Culture Ireland GB 18: Promoting Irish Artists in Britain

GB18, Culture Ireland’s special focus of Irish artistic activity in Britain in 2018, is a vibrant, contemporary and high quality programme that includes a range of work from all artistic disciplines including architecture, dance, film, literature, music, theatre, opera and visual arts in high-profile venues, institutions and festivals in Britain. Culture Ireland GB18 builds on Ireland’s special history and relationship with its nearest neighbour and follows the successes of previous programme strands (Imagine Ireland in 2011, Culture Connects across the EU in 2013, I Am Ireland as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme).

This new initiative will create unique opportunities for artists and companies in all art forms to perform across Britain and develop new audiences and their networks of contacts. Culture Ireland GB18 works will be seen in more than two dozen cities around Britain including, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, , Cheltenham, Chester, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fishguard, Glasgow, St. Helen’s, Ipswich, Liverpool, London, Ludlow, Manchester, Paisley, Southampton, Reading, Rye, St. Andrews and Warwick.

About Culture Ireland

Founded in 2005, Culture Ireland – a division of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – works to generate international opportunities for Irish artists and supports Irish artists as they gain global contracts and develop their careers. In 2017, Culture Ireland reached 3.5 million live audience members and 7 million online viewers through the 450 Culture Ireland supported events presented in over 50 countries by Irish artists.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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