Thursday, October 1, 2009

Renowned player offers trad and classical fiddle lessons

By John McCusker
RENOWNED fiddle player Nollaig Casey launches a series of lessons in the Strule Arts Centre beginning next week (Monday, October 5).

The lessons are aimed at both traditional and classical players and will cater for all levels of experience, including adult classes. Bookings are now being taken for the term which will last for a total of ten weeks.

Nollaig – a classically trained musician and distinguished traditional player – has performed to audiences worldwide with numerous groups and ensembles over the years.

Among those she has recorded and worked with were Enya, Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor, Nanci Griffith, Ricky Skaggs, Rod Stewart, Dónal Lunny, Mary Black, Carlos Nuñez, Andy Irvine, Moving Hearts, Christy Moore, Liam O'Flynn, Sharon Shannon, Maura O'Connell and her sister, harp player Máire Ní Chathasaigh.

She has made two duo albums, Lead The Knave and Causeway, with Arty McGlynn and a quartet album with her sister Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Arty McGlynn and Chris Newman which was released last year to critical acclaim.

Nollaig was a founder member of Dónal Lunny's ground-breaking band Coolfin and was the featured fiddle player in the stage production of Riverdance.

A number of her compositions have been used as signature tunes for both radio and TV.

Born into a well-known West Cork musical family, Nollaig began to play the violin at the age of 11, having previously mastered the piano, tin-whistle and uilleann pipes. During her teens she developed her talents both in the fields of classical and traditional music, winning several All-Ireland titles for fiddle-playing and traditional singing culminating in the award to her of the Bonn Éigse agus Ceoil at Slógadh Náisiúnta na h-Éireann 1972 for the best all-round performer.

She had already begun to compose and in 1972 won an RTÉ Radio Young Composer of the Year Competition for newly-composed tunes in the traditional idiom. As a student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music she won the Vandeleur Scholarship and was awarded the Arthur Darley Memorial Prize at the Dublin Feis Ceoil.

As a student of the Royal Irish Academy of Music she won the Vandeleur Scholarship and was awarded the prestigious Arthur Darley Memorial Prize at the Dublin Feis Ceoil for the playing of unaccompanied Bach Sonatas and Partitas.

After graduating from University College Cork with a music degree at the early age of 19, she began her professional career, firstly with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra before joining Planxty in 1980, touring all over Europe with them.

She has been the featured soloist on over 20 feature-films – most recently in Dancing at Lughnasa and Waking Ned. She also featured prominently in the 1992 film Hear My Song about the life of singer Josef Locke.

Nollaig continues to work and tour regularly along with Arty McGlynn and the pair recently performed in the Alley Arts Centre in Strabane.

* Those wishing to enrol in the

series of lessons which begin next Monday, October 5 in the Strule Arts Centre should contact the

venue on 028 8224 7831

or email Nollaig at

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