Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ceolchuairt - New Music Documentary Series

Fiachna Ó Braonáin, Episode 1, Morocco




Info: Smaoineamh iontach atá anseo ó Magamedia agus TG4, ina dtéann cheoltóir ar thuras ceoil chuig tíortha i bhfad ó bhaile, chun bualadh le gcomhghleacaithe agus talamh coitianta a aimsiú eatarthu trí mheán an cheoil. I'll have to do the rest of this piece as Béarla because my Gaeilge is rusty as the scaffolding on the Poolbeg Incinerator these days, no doubt my wife who is not here to supervise, will be horrified at my casual urrú and séimhiú bombing when she reads this. Moving on, this show has a really interesting concept, where an Irish musician heads in search of their musical Mecca, and we see how narrow the gap between different musical traditions can be, and how this medium can connect people on the most basic human levels. 

Episode One features Hothouse Flower guitarist and legend Fiachna Ó Braonáin as he explores the roots of the blues in Morocco, although short, the above trailer has impact and I really enjoyed how the harmonies and music between Ó Braonáin and the local traditional musicians melded almost seamlessly. This episode airs on Tuesday night, the 13th of January, at 9:30pm, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. Other musicians who will be taking part in the series are Belfast troubadour Gearóid Mac Lochlainn who heads to Jamaica in Episode Two to see if the 'one love' message of yore which helped transcend sectarian boundaries during his teenage years is still alive and kicking. Further episodes will include award-winning sean-nós singer Roisín ElSafty with a full choir in Portugal and one of Ireland's most exciting fiddle players of the last 15 years, Daire Bracken as he learns throat-singing in Mongolia. 

I have to say over the years TG4 have excelled at making documentaries across many topics that both Irish and English-speakers can enjoy and kudos to them for supporting innovative independent production companies along the way as well.


Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Episode 2, Jamaica


Additional Info:

Ceolchuairt is a 6 part series of 40 minute documentaries on TG4 starting on Tuesday, 13th of January. 


In the opening documentary, Hothouse Flower Fiachna Ó Braonáin embarks on a musical journey to Morocco in search of the roots of the blues. Among the hillside villages of the Rif mountain range, he explores the ancient links with traditional Irish music culminating in a magical moonlit encounter with the famous Master Musicians of Joujouka. Speaking of his experience Fiachna said: "To be given the opportunity to jump in at the deep end of Moroccan life and swim through it was incredible….My Ceolchuairt was filled with colours and flavours I had never experienced before as well as rhythms and melodies I never dreamt I could be a part of. Those rhythms and melodies are now a part of me. It was quite simply a trip of a lifetime."

Director Paddy Hayes said of the series: "This is musical fusion like you've never heard or seen before - often we just throw disparate musical instruments/artists together, turn on the cameras and film their first musical conversations - the results are really magical."  Producer Laura Ní Cheallaigh said: "What's different about this series is that each documentary is a standalone story, where the Irish artist journeys inwards as well as outwards, and discovers as much about themselves as about the rich musical heritage they are exploring."

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