Music of Waterford

Music of the 17th and 18th centuries from Ireland, England, France and Spain.

The Port City of Waterford in the 1600s was a thriving place, busy with trade from all corners of Europe. The coming of Oliver Cromwell and the Siege of Waterford in 1649 was to change the face of the city and Ireland’s culture forever. While ‘to Hell or to Connaught’ were the options presented to poorer Irish, merchants of means fled Waterford to far-off lands including France and Spain. Meanwhile Irish culture, language and traditions were sent underground, to live on in the more remote corners of the country.

This concert presents music that was heard both in Ireland and abroad during this turbulent period. Tonos and Cárthach perform a beautiful selection of European and Irish music from the 17th and 18th centuries - mixing Irish song with works by English and Continental masters and highlighting common threads and distinct differences. This concert provides a unique opportunity to hear the sean nós singing tradition alongside that of the classical style, both telling stories through song in different ways. Composers performed will include Purcell, Handel,Lully, Aranes, Marín, O’Carolan, Mac Domhnaill and Ó Riain. 

This concert is kindly supported by the Arts Council of Ireland.

Venue: House of Waterford Crystal

Date / Time: 7:30pm, Saturday, 23rd October

Admission: €10.00 + booking fee



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Tonos comprise Waterford based soprano Róisin O’Grady and Wicklow based Baroque and early guitar specialist Dr. Eamon Sweeney. They specialize in a blend of Irish and European music from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, performing little known repertoire from this period. They have performed at all Irish Baroque music festivals including Galway Early Music Festival, East Cork Music Festival, Sligo Festival of Music and Ardee Baroque Festival. Other performances include the John Field Room, National Concert Hall and were broadcast in concert by Lyric FM. The duo has released two CDs, Songs of Identity and Belonging and Wintersong.

Róisin O’Grady has performed in recital and oratorio throughout Ireland and the UK. A graduate of University College Cork and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Róisin was a member of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland for over two years. As a soloist, Róisin has performed with early music ensembles, orchestras and choral societies including the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Irish Baroque Orchestra. Festival performances include West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival and all major Irish Baroque festivals. Róisin was a recipient of the Artist Bursary Award with the Arts Council in 2019.

Eamon Sweeney’s doctoral research explored the guitar’s role as a continuo instrument in the court of Louis XIV, a previously unexamined area of French Baroque music. Eamon teaches and performs extensively including giving broadcasts, lectures and seminars in Ireland and abroad. In addition to his work with tonos, Eamon is the founder member of ensembles The Gregory Walkers and Sonamus and has been fortunate enough to work with many of Ireland’s leading artists including Seamus Heaney. Eamon gratefully acknowledges the support of The Department of the Arts, the Arts Council and Music Network through the Music Capital Scheme and The Artist Bursary Award.

Cárthach Mac Craith

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Cárthach Mac Craith, a sean-nós singer, was born and raised in the Gaeltacht of An Rinn in Co Waterford.

While growing up Cárthach was immersed in the language, tradition, culture , music, songs and singing of his native An Rinn. From an early age he learned songs from his grandmother and later from the many other great singers in his locality and from the vast collection of songs his late father, Nioclás, gathered over the course of his long life.

Cárthach was the original singer with the trad group, Danú.

He is a founder member of ‘ Cór Fear na nDéise’, an all male choir from the Gaeltacht area of Waterford.

His singing can be heard on the CDs ; Danú , Blas (commemorate 20 years of Radio na Gaeltachta) Cois Mara Thoir sa Rinn ( a compilation of singers and musicians from An Rinn), Déan Gáirdeachas and Ceolta Néata (Cór Fear na nDéise).

Cárthach released his first solo CD, An Tobar Séimh, last October. It has 14 songs from the Déise area of Waterford /South Tipperary .

An Tobar Séimh won ‘Trad Album of the Year’ at Gradaim Nós 2019.

Amhránaí sean-nós isea Cárthach Mac Craith a rugadh agus a tógadh in Gaeltacht na Rinne i gCo. Phort Láirge.

Ag éirí aníos do Chárthach bhí Gaelainn, ceol agus amhránaíocht sa tigh sa mbaile aige agus thug sé leis mórchuid amhráin ón a shean-mháthair agus ina dhiadh sin ó amhránaithe móra a áit dhuchais agus as an stór fairsing de amhráin a bhailigh a athair, Nioclás, i rith a shaol fada.

Tá clú agus cáil ar Chárthach mar amhránaí le fada an lá ó bhí sé ina gharsún.

Bhí sé ar an gcéad amhránaí leis an ngrúpa mór le rá, Danú

Bhí sé ar dhuine de bhunaitheóirí Cór Fear na nDéise.

Tá a chuid amhránaíocht le cloisint ar na dlúithdhioscaí ; Danú, Blas ( 20 Blian Radio na Gaeltachta ), Cois Mara Thoir sa Rinn, Déan Gáirdeachas agus Ceolta Néata (Cór Fear na nDéise) .

Thug Cárthach amach a chéad dlúithdhiosca aonair , An Tobar Séimh, in Deire Fomhar na bliana seo caite. Tá 14 amhrán ó Dhúthaigh Déise ar an diosca seo

Do bhuaigh ‘An Tobar Séimh’ ‘Trad Albam na Bliana’ ag Gradaim Nós 2019.

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