FEIS TEAMHRA: A TURN AT TARA
“The fourth annual Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara, which features readings and performances by internationally recognized Irish writers and musicians, will be held between 3 and 5 o’clock on Sunday August 28 2011 on the Hill of Tara itself. Those taking part this year are Aidan Brennan, Peter Fallon, Laoise Kelly, Susan McKeown, Paul Murray and a surprise musical guest who just happens to be one of Ireland’s greatest singer-songwriters. The MC for the event is Paul Muldoon. Admission is free.
While the Hill of Tara has in recent years become a contested spot, symbolizing less the sacred site where ancient Ireland crowned its kings than the desecrated site where modern Ireland gave in to crass consumerism and, as it were, drowned in things, the note the organizers hope to strike is not one of confrontation but celebration. Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara is a celebration of the continuity of the linked traditions of Irish writing and music, traditions that have almost certainly flourished here since at least 2000 BC.
We’re delighted to welcome Paul Murray, the Dublin-based author of An Evening of Long Goodbyes (2003), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and Skippy Dies (2010), a book quite accurately described by the New York Times as “extravagantly entertaining.” The New Yorker, meanwhile, praised its “remarkable dialogue, which captures the free-associative, sex-obsessed energy of teenage conversation in all its coarse, riffing brilliance.” Skippy Dies, a book that’s reminiscent of A Portrait on Peyote, was shortlisted for the Costa Prize, the National Book Critics’ Circle Prize and the Irish Book Award.
We also extend a particular welcome to the Meath-based poet and publisher Peter Fallon, who is celebrated for the unfussy but nonetheless fusillading nature of his poems. They speak softly but carry a big stick, one cut from a local hedge. Some of Peter Fallon’s best work is to be found in News of the World: Selected and New Poems (1998) and his translations of The Georgics of Virgil (2004/2006). A member of Aosdana, Peter Fallon received the 1993 O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute.
The musical component of Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara is curated by Susan McKeown, the Dublin-born, New York-based, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. Susan McKeown released her seventh solo album, Singing in the Dark, in October 2010. In addition to her career as a solo artist, Susan McKeown’s heart-felt, heart-breaking singing has led her to work with, among others, Natalie Merchant, Linda Thompson, Pete Seeger, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie, and the Klezmatics.
Among the other musicians featured this year are Aidan Brennan and Laoise Kelly. Aidan Brennan is an inspired guitarist who has worked not only with Susan McKeown (Sweet Liberty, 2004), but Kevin Burke (Kevin Burke in Concert, 1999) and Loreena McKennitt (Book of Secrets, 1997, and Midwinter Night’s Dream, 2008). Born in Dublin, Aidan Brennan now lives in Laois.
Laoise Kelly, generally considered to be the foremost Irish harper, lives in her native Mayo. The Irish Times has described her as “a young harpist with the disposition of an iconoclast and the talent and technique of a virtuoso.” In addition to her own CD (Just Harp, 2000), Laoise Kelly has worked with Sharon Shannon, The Chieftains, Natalie MacMaster, Sinead O’Connor and Kate Bush.
The image is from the first ever Turn at Tara