Trad Carefully | Tradfest Returns to Temple Bar

Tradfest returns to Temple Bar this January 23 – 27, showcasing the best of both Irish and international folk artists.

Since its establishment in 2006, the past decade has seen Tradfest grow to become Ireland’s largest festival for traditional music. With a guest list featuring artists from the world of trad, nu-folk and even rock and roll, organisers say the event should appeal to everyone – perfect for saying goodbye to Winter and ushering in the light and energy of Spring.

On January 25, Irish singer-songwriter and chart-topper Cathy Davey will perform in St. Michan’s Church. Tickets are from €21.99. The gig will see Davey play songs from her fifth and latest album Live at Dublin Unitarian Church, featuring pared-down versions of her hit favourites ‘Sing for Your Supper’, ‘Little Red’ and ‘Moving’.

Music aficionados can see two great Irish artists for the price of one as David Kitt and Inni-K headline a night at The Workman’s Club on January 24. Tickets cost €19.99. Dublin raised Kitt last year released his seventh album Yous to rave reviews, with critics praising its blend of dance and folk music, as well as the record’s immersive sound. Meanwhile, Kildare singer and multi-instrumentalist Inni-K will be playing songs from her eagerly anticipated upcoming sophomore LP – set for release early 2019. Named as one of ten fierce women defining Irish Culture by RTÉ.ie, she broke onto the scene with her 2015 debut The King has Two Horse’s Ears.

One can also catch Inni-K performing in Liam Ó Maonlaí’s all-star trad band Ré in the same venue the night before. Also featuring piper Maitiú Ó Casaide, concertina player Cormac Begley and former Hothouse Flower Peter O’Toole, the super group will be supported by Louth folk favourites Kern. Entry is from €21.99.

For more homegrown talent, singer-songwriter Paddy Casey – best known for singles ‘Saints and Sinners’, ‘The Lucky One’, ‘Bend Down Low’ and ‘Want It Can’t Have It. – will be playing three nights at the fest (24, 26, 27). Also, Dublin singer and multi-instrumentalist Radie Peat will perform on its closing day in Pepper Canister Church. Tickets are from €12.99.

Legends will be honoured on January 24 as Phelim Drew – son of Dubliner Ronnie Drew – performs some of his father’s band’s classic songs like ‘The Rocky Road to Dublin’ and ‘The Black Velvet Band’ 10 years after his passing. Also, taking place in the Pepper Canister Church, entry is from €15.99.

In terms of international artists, Nashville singer and Grammy winner Kathy Mattea will perform at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on January 25. Entry is from €34.99. Mattea’s story is one of triumph. Following a string of gold and platinum records, as the musician entered her 50’s she began to struggle with her aging, changing voice. After a six-year hiatus – whereby the singer retrained with a vocal coach – Mattea returned to the country scene last year with album ‘Pretty Bird’, earning a whole new wave of acclaim.

For the same price, one can also see legendary 70s UK folk-rock pioneers Lindisfarne perform at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on January 23, fronted by original founder/member Rod Clements on vocals, mandolin, fiddle and slide guitar. With a repertoire of famed tracks like ‘Meet Me on the Corner’, ‘Fog on the Tyne’, ‘Lady Eleanor’ and ‘Run for Home’, Tradfest organisers say the band are guaranteed to get the crowds who see them up on their feet and singing along.

American singer/social activist Jim Page will also grace Tradfest on January 26, performing at St Michan’s Church for €19.99. Page is best known for his politically charged songs, as well as his ongoing work promoting and supporting busking – organising the Seattle incarnation of travelling festival Buskerfest.

Meanwhile, British singer-songwriter Martin Harley and Dublin spoken word poet and playwright Stephen James Smith – who performed with Imelda May at last year’s Trinity Summer Series – will join forces for a special show. Taking place January 26 at Pepper Canister Church, tickets are from €12.99.

On top of these gigs, there will be special events running throughout the festival including TradHub – a free late-night club, presenting the best up-and-comers on the Irish trad scene; TradFringe, featuring workshops and masterclasses; and the event’s Music Trail – featuring daily sessions throughout the pubs of Temple Bar.

For more information and to find out about Tradfest’s other acts, visit here.

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