“And the merry love the fiddle, And the merry love to dance"
International stars of stage, screen and song came together on June 16th in a night of music and verse, created by Tourism Ireland, to celebrate the birth of one of Ireland’s greatest literary figures. Nobel prize-winning poet, W. B. Yeats was celebrated in a magical night of readings, moving imagery and performances from a distinguished line up of Yeats' lovers from across the arts world. Hosted by Dervish, the iconic Irish traditional band, with an introduction from Irish Ambassador to Great Britain, Daniel Mulhall, the aptly titled evening, “And the merry love the fiddle, And the merry love to dance”, took place in Nell’s Jazz and Blues in West Kensington .
Acclaimed performers including Irish singer-songwriters Miles Graham and Duncan McKenzie took part, and readings were given by Angeline Ball, Lisa Dwan, Cerys Matthews, Peter Kahn and Vince Power and there were contributions from Bob Geldof, Christy Moore and Paddy Moloney. Shane Mitchell, Dervish, said, “We are absolutely delighted to work with Tourism Ireland to bring together so many Irish and international performers who all share a love of Sligo’s most famous son. The night itself took everyone on a journey, celebrating his greatest works with a visual element, celebrating the beauty of Yeats’ country with images from Sligo Photographer Colin Gillen and allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the poetry that gave expression to the spirit of the whole nation.”
Organiser of the event, Vanessa Markey, Head of Great Britain, Tourism Ireland, said, “ The island of Ireland is famed for its literature and landscape – no more so than Sligo on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast – Yeats’ ‘spiritual home’. During this significant anniversary year, our plan for this evening was that it would provide a taste of the dramatic scenery, rich culture and historic sites to be experienced in Ireland and inspire people here in Britain to visit and enjoy it for themselves.”
Yeats2015 celebrates and commemorates the life, works, influence and achievements of the poet, dramatist, Nobel Prize-winner and Irish national treasure, who was born on 13 June 1865. While the celebrations are rooted in Sligo on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast – Yeats’ ‘spiritual home’ – they also connect with Dublin, Galway and other counties as well as international cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo and New York. For more information go to http://yeats2015.com/
One way to celebrate Yeats2015 is the Sligo Live Festival which runs from 21st to 26th October 2015 and features Jools Holland and his R & B Orchestra, The Waterboys, Rufus Wainwright, Altan, My Own Dear Dark Mountain, The Whileaways, Ensemble Ériu and a host more folk, traditional, roots and indie artists playing magical music in Sligo’s stunning seascapes, lyrical lakes and majestic mountains on Ireland’s Wild Altantic Way. As the festival enters its second decade, 2015 will see a Yeatsian theme running through the programme, with the Fiddler of Dooney competition celebrating 50 years of Ireland’s best young traditional violinists and many of the acts featuring Yeats inspired music in their repertoire. See www.sligolive.ie for full details and great value hotel