"Turlough O’Carolan Influence" Featuring Fiachra Guihen (harp),Emma Benson (harp), Niamh McGloin (harp)
Turlough O’Carolan one of the last Irish harpist-composers and the only one whose songs survive in both words and music in significant number. Born in 1670, near Nobber, County Meath Ireland, O’Carolan moved to Ballyfarnon Co. Roscommon where he was later laid to rest, March 25, 1738. His tunes appeared widely in 18th-century collections. Harpists Fiachra Guihen, Emma Benson and Niamh McGloin have come together to celebrate O’Carolan’s life. Exploring his repertoire and his impact on the tradition while showcasing O’Carolan’s compositions.
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Fiachra Guihen is from near Keadue in Co. Roscommon, near where O'Carolan is buried in Kilronan Cemetery. Fiachra started playing music when he was seven years old from local tin whistle tutor Padraig Sweeney At age 15 years, after attending the O'Carolan Summer School in Keadue for a week, Fiachra started the harp. He got lessons from harpist and composer, Micheal Rooney. Fiachra won second place in the All-Ireland Fleadh 2014 on the harp U-18. He won a senior All-Ireland medal with a Sligo based grupa ceoil at the All-Ireland Fleadh in 2019. Fiachra won the overall prize at the International harp competitions at the O'Carolan Fesitval in 2019. He played with Michael Rooney's orchestra for the Macalla Suite & the Famine Suite. Fiachra attended the University of Limerick where he graduated as an engineering teacher. The following year he completed a Masters in Traditional Irish Music. He performs solo regularly at different events, concerts and tourist gigs. He teaches in the area and plays frequently at local music sessions. He is a member of the band Gan Ainm.
Emma Benson hails from Keadue in Co.Roscommon and began learning the harp at the age of seven, under the guidance of Michael Rooney. She later began playing the concertina. Emma has won numerous All-Ireland medals on the harp at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉirinn, most notably the harp slow-airs title u15 in 2017 and u18 in 2019. Along with this, Emma has won many prizes over the years at the prestigious O’Carolan Harp Festivals in Keadue and Nobber Harp Festival. She has received the Mícheál Ó hEidin medal in recognition of achieving distinction in her SCT Grade 8 exam. Recently, Emma was a finalist in the Bonn Óir Seán Ó Riada competition on harp. Emma is currently studying primary school teaching and psychology at Mary Immaculate College.
From Grange, Co. Sligo, Niamh McGloin started learning the accordion at the Fred Finn branch of Comhaltas at the age of 8. At the age of 11, she then started learning harp under the guidance of Grainne Hambly. Niamh has won All Ireland titles in the u12, u15, u18 and senior harp along with winning titles at the Granard, Keadue, and Nobber harp festivals. Niamh has received the Michael O hEidhin medal for receiving 4 distinctions in her final SCT exam. Niamh has also been accredited with the Higher Performance Certificate and and TTCT teaching diploma by Comhaltas.