The Galway Sessions 2020 Rescheduled

The Galway Sessions 2020 due to take place last June had to be rescheduled due to Covid 19 restrictions. It will now take place from14th to20th of December.

The original lineup was to include bands from Scotland, Scandinavia, Ireland, France, Spain, Canada, USA, Mexico and Brazil with a view to exploring the interconnection between European folk music cultures along the Atlantic coast and also to explore the role played by them in the development and evolution of new music cultures in the New World.

This theme was in line with one of the cultural themes of Galway 2020, Migration -Making Waves, across the Atlantic.

Unfortunately, due to the current travel restrictions it is not possible for the overseas acts to attend. This situation however, allows us to showcase our population of very talented international musicians resident in Galway and to put together and exciting programme of events in keeping with the theme.

Shaskeen 5oth Anniversary at the Town Hall Theatre

Friday 18th December  at 8 pm

The Galway  Sessions 2020 is delighted to present this special concert. Few bands make this remarkable milestone and the fact that Shaskeen have reached such is a testament to the band’s exceptional music and their ability to entertain throughout five decades.

A fantastic year-long tour had been planned by band leader and banjo player Tom Cussens, which unfortunately has to be cancelled due to Covid 19. Also, tragically, the band lost two of its members, singer, guitarist, folklorist and radio presenter, Pat Costello as well as well-known piper Pat Broderick. RIP. This concert is a tribute to both of these well-known and well-loved musicians.

Tickets for this concert are limited to 40 people due to Covid 19 regulations. Tickets are 25€. Max 6 tickets/3 households per purchase. Tickets available from Box office not open. Phone enquiries to 091 569777 Mon to Fri 10 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 4 pm. This concert will be live streamed (tickets available for the streamed concert are available here). Details and charges from

New World Music at the King’s Head

Galway Sessions 2020 will host a series of lunchtime gigs at 1 pm Monday14th to Friday 18th Dec.  at the King’s Head, featuring music from the New World.

 Kicking off on Monday 12th is multi-instrumentalist, film composer, producer and songwriter JOHN FAULKNER, accompanied by well-known Clare accordeon player Connor McCarthy. This exciting duo will perform a set of songs and tunes dealing with the themes of migration and emigration.

Tuesday 15th an American Old Time set will be performed by German fiddler Anna Falkenau, Ben Keogh of the Sackville string band and Cork based singer Camilla Monroe. Old-Time music represents perhaps the oldest form of North American traditional music other than Native American music, thus the term ‘ old time’. It originated in the Appalachian mountains of Virigina  and  was developed principally by Ulster Scots immigrants with Scandinavian, German, African and indigenous influences.

Wednesday 16th is the turn of the Galway International Retro Orchestra. The band’s focus is on performing and reviving early 20th century trad music from Ireland, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia as it evolved to become the popular dance music of the era in the USA.

Thursday 17th sees one of Ireland’s most popular bluegrass bands, GREENSHINE take to the stage. Expect spectacular vocals and harmonies.

 Bluegrass is a genre of American roots music that developed in 1940’s in the US, particularly associated with the Ashville area of North Carolina. The genre derives its name from the great pioneer of the style Bill Monroe and his band the Blue Grass Boys. It is derived from ‘old time’ Appalachian music but influenced by African Blues and Jazz which allows for more instrumental improvisation.

The final gig in the lunchtime series at the King’s Head on Friday 18th features the Galway Choro Ensemble. This multinational ensemble play ‘choro’ which is a vibrant Brazilian instrumental genre that evolved in the early 20th century and has Latin and African origins.

Choro meaningng ‘little cry’ originated in Rio de Janerio and resulted from a new style of playing several European music genres (polka, schottische, waltz, mazurka and habanera ) by carioca musicians who were strongly influenced by African rhythms principally lundu and batique. Despite its name the music often has a fast and happy rhythm. It is characterized by virtuosity, improvisation and subtle modulations and is full of syncopation and counterpoint. Choro is considered to be the first characteristically Brazilian genre of urban popular music.

 Galway Sessions at the Crane Bar

A further series of gigs will take place at the Crane Bar, Sea Road, from Tuesday15th to Sunday20th of December. These gigs will take place at 8 pm.

Tuesday 15th will see Galway resident Flamenco guitarist Javier Mula and dancer Mongse teaming up with melodeon player Johnny O’Halloran from Inisbofin and sean-nos dancer Paul Moran. Though there is no immediate link between the two genres, the shared antiquity of performance style and presentation are obvious to the observer.

On Wednesday 16th Dublin born fiddler Liz Coleman and her husband, piper Paidin Breathnach from An Rinn Gaeltacht in Waterford will be accompanied by Galway Folk legend Greg Cotter for a night of Irish Traditional music and song at its very best.

Thursday 17th will feature resident story teller at the Crane Bar, Scotsman Rab Swannock who will relate tales of mystic migration to other wordly places! Bookings for this show are from search galway sessions celtic -tales storytelling

On Friday18th singer Dave Larkin will launch his new CD of the songs of Percy French ‘ With a Toot on the Flute and a Twiddle on the Fiddle’   

On Saturday 19th the Galway Sessions 2020 in association with Cruit Eireann will host a harp recital by Una Ni Fhlannagan. Una’s music is rooted in the Irish Harp Tradition but also branches out into jazz, pop and original composition. Una won the Riada Gold Medal for Harp in 2017 and the All Ireland Slow Airs competition in 2018. Note: this recital will start at 3 pm.

Later that evening a special celebration of the novel ‘This is Happiness’ by Niall Williams will take place at 6pm. The novel features the music and playing of West Clare fiddler and composer Junior Crehan as a sub plot. Maeve Joyce-Crehan will read selected passages and Junior’s music will be played by concertina player Liam O’Brien, Mick Crehan, Junior’s nephew, and Angela Crotty, junior’s daughter.

Finally, on Sunday 20th of December, at 2 pm a special tribute to the memory of singer and guitarist, Pat Conneely from Oughterard will take place on the 10th anniversary of his death. It will feature whistlers Sean Ryan and Mick Crehan with singers Greg Cotter and Gerry Darcy. Pat played in the famous Sunday session at the Crane Bar with Sean Ryan for over 30 years.

Other Special Events

On Monday 14th whistle player Mick Crehan and Danish accordeon player Anders Trabjerg with bodhran player from Scotland Niall McQuaid will recreate the first session played by them in Tigh Choili’s 20 years ago. Keep an eye out for further celebrations of Tigh Choili’s 20th birthday later in the year.