RTE lyric fm’s Evelyn Grant presents ‘Musical Migrations’ as part of Weekend Drive

While we are still staying-at-home, Lyric fm’s Evelyn Grant invites you to travel around Ireland with her on Weekend Drive to meet some wonderful musicians, who have come to live in different parts of Ireland starting this Saturday, 18 April from 4pm – 6pm.

Some years ago, Evelyn made a radio documentary called Musical Migrations, about Irish musicians who lived and worked as professional musicians in orchestras, ensembles, and as soloists all over the world. But, more recently, she was very aware of the many highly talented musicians who had made Ireland their home. And the enormous contribution they are making to music life here – through performance and through music education. Their students bring their skills and love of music to the ever-growing network of organisations such as the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras. Musicians like ‘cellist Victor Yelemo from Spain, who with his Hungarian wife, violinist Orsalya Szabo, are doing wonderful things in Donegal, through the Donegal Music Education Partnership, the Donegal Chamber Orchestra, and the Donegal Chamber Music Festival.

In Sligo, she met Niamh Crowley, who returned from London to her native town, to set up the Sligo Academy of Music, which has teachers from all over the world. Among the teachers Evelyn talks to Russian harpist, Ramune Sakalauskaite, who also teaches Irish harp in the Michael Colman Centre, Gurteen, for Music Generation. Ramuna had learned about the blind Irish harpist, Turlough O’Carolan, in St Petersburg, but thought it was a myth! Now, she finds herself married to an Irishman and playing and teaching O’Carolan tunes. Evelyn also calls in on the fascinating freelance Austrian violinist, Claudia Schuab, who combines Irish traditional music with yodelling!

The administrators of the Laois Music Centre emphasise what an advantage the acquisition of a building has been for the whole area, and to their teaching staff, many of whom work peripatetically around the midlands, having come there from Italy, America, and the Netherlands.

In Galway, French saxophonist, Bertrand Huve and Joanne Cater from England, enjoy collaborating with the many musicians in a vibrant freelance scene in the city. Scottish cellist and poet, Nicola Geddes, decided to establish a professional orchestra, Luminosa, and drew on the generous support of the Con Tempo String Quartet, who have become deeply embedded in the cultural life of the West of Ireland and beyond.

Gort was specially close to Evelyn Grant’s heart, as her mother was born there, and had been taught music by Sr Cecilia in the local convent – the only music training available then. Evelyn’s mother would be astonished at what German violinist, Katharina Baker, has achieved through her ‘Coole Music and Arts’, named after Lady Gregory’s home in Gort. A champion of chamber music, Katharina has composed a wealth of material for young groups; she has partnered with a Swedish ensemble pioneering music and movement, which is loved by her students. All these students have the opportunity to be further involved, both musically and socially, with other musicians around the country, through the very active Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, which brings together young people from all over the country. The I.A.Y.O. recently held its 25th annual concert in the National Concert Hall. A stunning performance of Ravel’s Boléro, as performed on that concert by the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, was featured on Weekend Drive last Saturday (11th April), to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the orchestra.

Musical Migrations captures the incredible richness that foreign musicians are bringing to musical life in Ireland. The short feature will air at 5pm on Saturdays as part of Weekend Drive (4pm – 7pm every Saturday; 4pm -6pm every Sunday) over the next five weeks. Starts Saturday, 18 April at 5pm, produced by Eoin Brady and presented by Evelyn Grant.

Laois Music Centre – Saturday, 18 April;
Donegal Music Education Partnership – Saturday, 25 April
Sligo Academy of Music – Saturday, 2 May
Coole Music and Arts, Gort  – Satrday, 9 May
Galway City – Saturday, 16 May

You can listen on your radio or online at rte.ie/lyricfm