The De Cuellar Suite is a new composition written by Sligo's Michael Rooney, featuring over 60 musicians and dancers from the Northwest (Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo) and Galicia, Spain. [b]The Dublin premiere of this suite will be held in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin on Saturday 26th January at 8PM as part of the Temple Bar Trad Fest. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.templebartrad.com (€13/€11).
This concert will celebrate the interconnectivity between Irish and Spanish culture in one of Irelands most impressive buildings. Michael Rooney’s amazing score is augmented by a short narrative and stunning choreography.
The compositions are based on the amazing story of Captain Francesco de Cuellar, who was one of the few survivors from the three Armada ships that floundered on Streedagh Strand, Co. Sligo in 1588. The composition follows the Armada's engagement with the English fleet, their defeat and subsequent desperate struggle to return to Spain by sailing north around the Scottish and Irish coasts, where many of the ships were wrecked in an exceptionally stormy Autumn. The compositions depict de Cuellar's adventures and struggle to survive as he makes his way from Streedagh through north Sligo and Leitrim, eventually escaping to the Spanish Netherlands where he penned this famous account of his adventures
The suite is comprised of 11 movements reflecting Galician, Irish, and Scottish traditional music rhythms which are wonderfully performed by a unique orchestra comprised of traditional and classical musicians from Ceol na nOg Sligeach and a Central Folque Santiago playing an amazing array of instruments.
Michael is widely regarded as one of the finest exponents of the Irish harp in traditional Irish music. Originally from Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, Michael has composed seven major suites of music in the past fifteen years, including ‘The Battle of the Books Suite’, 'The Famine Suite' and 'The Millennium Suite'. His most recent suite 'The De Cuellar Suite' was published in book format in 2012. Michael's music featured on RTE's recent documentary of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ireland; The Queen's Speech'. He has recorded two CDs with flute player June McCormack; 'Draíocht' (2004) and 'Land's End' (2006). Michael has published three books of his own compositions; 'Harp Tunes' (2006), Aifreann Gaeilge (2012) and 'The de Cuéllar Suite' (2012). He is much in demand as an arranger, musician and accompanist in traditional music circles.
These as well as his harp tunes book and others are available on his website http://www.draiochtmusic.com/
Michael Rooney, specially commissioned to write the De Cuellar Suite, explains “I have married the traditional rhythms of Galicia and Ireland to present the Armada voyage as a musical tapestry capturing all the might & plight, despair and hope, attached to that incredible event in world maritime history which touched Sligo shores”. Rooney has been over to Galicia several times working with Galician musicians and absorbing their unique culture. He continues “An Arts Council Deis Award made this wonderful collaboration possible and the incredible number of highly talented traditional and classical musicians here means Sligo is one of the few places equipped to mount a piece of this scale”
Rooney writes: ‘Work on The de Cuéllar Suite began in June 2009 and was my second commission from Ceol na nÓg, Sligeach following The Battle of the Books suite in 2007. What began as a good idea, came to fruition two years later after much blood, sweat and tears. Along the way, we’ve had great fun with our Galician colleagues, Ceol na nÓg musicians and great friendships have been forged. After three trips to Santiago de Compostella, I have come to admire the people, the culture and particularly their music. The suite has been composed respecting both traditional forms.’
Chiff and Fipple in your hometown.
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