The brilliant multi-genre American musician Rhiannon Giddens stole the show during a very successful annual South Roscommon Singers Festival last weekend.
A Grammy award winner with the band Carolina Chocolate Drops (which she founded), Giddens captivated audiences with her mesmerising performances as the festival reached new heights.
Ms. Giddens, a rising international star as songwriter, musician and singer, was a very popular recipient of the Roscommon People sponsored Annie McNulty Award, which was presented on Sunday. She is an acclaimed exponent of Americana, described as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various mostly acoustic American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, gospel and bluegrass”. A truly original and unique talent, her versatility doesn’t end there; she is also a great student of music and its history.
The South Roscommon Singers Festival showcased a nice international line-up up last weekend. A highlight of the festival was a Gospel Concert which was held in St. Patrick’s Church, Knockcroghery on Saturday evening, featuring a combination of local, national and international talent.
I attended the ‘I’ll Fly Away’ Concert – and enjoyed it greatly. Every participant added to the entertainment. Injecting great fun and atmosphere were Ukephoric, a locally-based group of ukulele-playing enthusiasts with infectious energy and considerable talent.
There were many highlights, but I would also like to single out husband and wife David and Alice Wylde, who mesmerised the audience with their beautiful harmonies. Thomas McCarthy and Ron Kavana and regular attendee Chris Miles were amongst other artists who had the ‘full house’ captivated.
Topping the bill was Rhiannon Giddens, and the performer (who is of American-African ancestry) received a standing ovation after a stunning set.
There were many very successful events over the weekend, including a rollicking ‘Soapbox’ at Gleeson’s, and many informative song talks, as well as countless outbreaks of song in local pubs!
On Sunday afternoon up to 100 guests attended a lovely informal event in Paddy Finn’s in Kilteevan.
Highlight of the afternoon was a breathtaking half-hour performance by Rhiannon Giddens, by times gentle and solemn, by times high-energy, fun-filled and emotional. At that event, Rhiannon was presented with the Roscommon People sponsored Annie McNulty Award. The presentation was made by Rosie Kelly, grand-niece of Annie McNulty, the Kilteevan native who emigrated to America (in 1910), where she and family members had a distinguished career as performing musicians.