Féile Joe Éinniú 2019

Play recording: Féile Joe Éinniú 2019

Note: This video is a compilation of impromptu recordings. There are, in places, underlit shots, camera shake, variable sound levels and extraneous noise. Nevertheless, it’s perfectly possible to see and hear everything that’s happening, and to enjoy the songs and tunes. We trust that the spirit of the occasion comes across undiminished. The video was released on Oíche Cinn Seáin (also called Oíche ’le Shín Seáin; 23rd June) 2019 as part of the centennial celebrations of Joe Heaney’s birth.

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  • Teideal (Title): Féile Joe Éinniú 2019.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): none.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): none.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): Irish and English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song, music and speech.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): various; see time codes.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Míċeál Ó Loċlainn.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th May 2019.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Carna, Contae na Gaillimhe, Éire.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): cultural festival.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unknown.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unknown.

Time codes for each item

Feel free to fast-forward!

Friday 3rd May

West the road to Carna

  • 00:00:00 Joe Éinniú (Song: An Buinneán Buí).

Óstán Chuan Charna

  • 00:03:25 Seán Ó hÉanaigh (Spoken: Welcome to the Féile).
  • 00:10:10 Lillis Ó Laoire (Spoken: Launching the Féile).

Saturday 4th May

Áras Shorcha Ní Ghuairim

  • 00:21:55 Deirdre Ní Chonghaile (Spoken: CD launch, Lán Mara).
  • 00:23:33 Treasa Ní Cheannabháin (Spoken: CD launch, Lán Mara).
  • 00:27:50 Treasa Ní Mhiolláin (Song: Title TBC).
  • 00:32:27 Deirdre Ní Chonghaile (Lecture: Sagart gan Iomrádh: An tAthair Domhnall Ó Morchadha (1858–1935) agus amhráin Pennsylvania).

Tigh Mhóráin

  • 00:40:40 Fáilte go Tigh Mhóráin
  • 00:41:00 Lillis Ó Laoire (Song: Síos an Sliabh)
  • 00:44:23 Róisín Elsafty (Song: Eileanóir a Rún)
  • 00:49:30 Pádraic Ó Flaithearta (Song: Amhrán Rinn Mhaoile)
  • 00:55:41 Róisín White (Song: An Droighneán Donn)

Sunday 5th May

Visit to Joe’s grave

  • 00:58:44 Siar go Maighrois.
  • 01:00:37 Páidrín.
  • 01:01:30 Néillidh Mulligan (Music: Cuaichín Ghleann Néifinn).
    • Néillidh was one of the people present at Joe’s funeral. As he mentions here, in Irish, he played the same air on that occasion.
  • 01:04:10 Mick O’Brien (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:07:30 Flowers on Joe’s grave.
  • 01:08:44 All (Song: Bean a’ Leanna).

Tigh Mhóráin

  • 01:12:44 Fáilte go Tigh Mhóráin.
  • 01:12:53 Cárthach Mac Craith (Song: A Spailpín a Rún).
  • 01:18:08 Seán Ó Liatháin (Song: An Crúiscín Lán).
  • 01:23:12 Johnny Mháirtín Learaí (Song: Contae Mhaigh Eo).
  • 01:25:14 Máire Ní Chéilleachair (Song: A Bhríde Bheag Chróin).
  • 01:28:20 Dusty Keleher (Song: The Rocks of Bán).
  • 01:30:30 Peadar Ó Catháin, <TBC> agus Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha (Music: Title TBC).

Monday 6th May

Tigh Mhóráin

  • 01:34:17 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:36:57 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:38:30 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:40:40 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:41:15 Various (Music: An Rógaire Dubh).
  • 01:41:20 Various (Interregnum Comhluadair).
  • 01:42:24 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:46:00 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:46:58 Various (Music: Title TBC).
  • 01:47:40 ’Till next year…


By Míċeál Ó Loċlainn

A cosmopolitan féile

It should be stressed from the outset that while the working language of Féile Joe Éinniú (anglicised ‘The Joe Heaney Festival’) is Irish — the community language of the area — there’s absolutely nothing parochial about it. Quite the opposite: the Féile has traditionally been a very cosmopolitan affair, having international representation among both visitors and talent from places including Canada, England, France and Scotland. Speakers of other languages are made very welcome.

A taste of Gaeltacht culture

Although this video has a running time approaching two hours, it’s far from being a complete record of the occasion, consisting only of a series of blaisíní. Most of the items on the programme are represented however; the intention being to give the viewer a glimpse of the Féile in all its aspects — song, music, lectures, commemoration and so on — and also to show them around the area in which it takes place.

Generally, the recordings available in the Cartlanna are historical records*; giving us snapshots of the past, which is by definition gone forever. But Féile Joe Éinniú is a vibrant and ongoing yearly event. Readers who enjoy this video but who’ve never attended the Féile are encouraged to do so. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it attracts the very best of traditional singers and musicians from Ireland and abroad. No recording can ever be a substitute for actually being there.

*Of course, the time will inevitably come when this recording becomes an historical record itself. Perhaps it’ll be given a special screening at the Féile in 2119!

Overview of Féile Joe Éinniú

The Féile was first held in 1986, two years after Joe Heaney’s death on May Day 1984. It’s always been a community-driven event and in recent years Joe’s own family have become active in organising it.

Taking place in Joe’s home village of Carna, the Féile runs over the May Day weekend; generally from Friday to Monday. The programme varies from year to year but revolves around a core of informal traditional singing and music sessions, formal concerts, singing competitions, lectures, album ⁊ book launches, presentations, exhibitions and guided tours. On the Sunday, there’s always a visit to Joe’s grave in Reilig Mhaighrois at which, after a short prayer, some songs are sung and some tunes are played in his honour.

This annual celebration reflects the esteem in which Joe is held by his own community and by his musical peers. His achievements were manifold and considerable. Certainly, he was an accomplished singer from the rich Gaeltacht tradition, but he was also an ambassador and exemplar for that tradition who brought it with him into the wider world, nationally and internationally; to the attention of a mainstream which at the time tended to be highly dismissive of it, if not openly contemptuous. It would have been so easy for him to excise the Irish language songs from his play list and replace them with Pat Boone and Jim Reeves numbers.

And yet while he always remained a ‘traditional singer’ he was perfectly willing to embrace material that had roots in traditions other than his own: consider Babes in the Wood, Cath Chéim an Fhia, Éamon a’ Chnoic, Skibbereen ⁊ɼl…

Finally, it should never be forgotten that toward the end of his life Joe became a teacher; transmitting his cultural heritage in a new environment and to receptive new audiences who might not otherwise have been exposed to it. Only for that last step on his journey, these Cartlanna wouldn’t exist at all.