Beoga at Peel Centenary Centre

The final night of Yn Chruinnaght an interceltic music festival held at The Peel Centenary Centre.Duets from Phil Gawne and Bill Corlett, Annie Kissack and Clare Kilgallon, Manx fiddle group Pluck, and a band from Ireland called Beoga. 18th July 2010. (Adrian Cowin)The final night of Yn Chruinnaght at The Peel Centenary Centre. Duets from Phil Gawne and Bill Corlett, Annie Kissack and Clare Kilgallon, Manx fiddle group Pluck, and a band from Ireland called Beoga. 18th July 2010.

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Yn Chruinnaght is a week long  an interceltic music festival held over several venues. I’m aware that as a music photographer I neglect the traditional music scene. Every year I promise myself that I’m going to Yn Chruinnaght but I end up not making it. This year I was a bit better organised and decided to go to at least two of the events. I was a late making my plans but thanks to Breesha Maddrell I managed to get a photo pass organised. I also succeeded in getting a photo pass for Red Hot Chili Pipers but due to me leaving it so late to apply the approval came the day after the gig so I missed out.

Bob Carswell known from his Claare Ny Gael show on Manx Radio was the compare for the evening.

The first two acts were duets from Phil Gawne and Bill Corlett and then Annie Kissack and Clare Kilgallon. Both acts sang A cappella songs in Manx Gaelic. Judging by their introductions and explanations of the songs, it seemed they were both trying to out do each other to perform the most depressing songs ever written in Manx Gaelic. Both performances were very enjoyable but I’ll have to take their word for what they were singing about as I didn’t understand a word, they didn’t teach Manx when I was at school.

Bill Corlett and Phil Gawne

Annie Kissack and Clare Kilgallon

Pluck are a new band on the traditional scene put together by Katie Lawrence. All the songs were instrumental, but with four fiddles playing at once there was always some thing for your ears to catch on to, and I wasn’t dissapointed by the lack of vocals. Traditional folk music isn’t something I normally listen to but I found Pluck to be very accessible and look forward to seeing them play again. Pluck were joined on stage by Hannah Fisher who was filling in for their regular fiddle player David Kilgallon who recently got married and was on his honeymoon.

Malcom Stitt - Pluck

Katie Lawrence - Pluck

Tomas Callister - Pluck

Hannah Fisher - Pluck

Adam Rhodes - Pluck

Russell Cowin - Pluck

Beoga (Irish word for lively) are a fantastic band from Ireland, and certainly live up to their name. Their sound is firmly rooted in traditional Irish music but they bring in influences from a lot of other genres. They played a mixture of covers and their own tunes. Most were instrumental but Niamh sang a few songs showing us what a fantastic voice she has.  Between songs Eamon told jokes and made fun of his fellow band members. He even treated us to a Bodhrán solo and since he has held the  all-Ireland Bodhrán title four times it was very impressive. They put on a very entertaining show that got the capacity crowd whooping and clapping along. It was a shame that it was a sit down venue as I sure they would have had us all up dancing. I’d love to see them play a venue with a dance floor and see all the celtic dancers going crazy.

Seán Óg Graham - Beoga

Niamh Dunne - Beoga

Liam Bradley - Beoga

Damian McKee - Beoga

Eamon Murray - Beoga

Check out the videos I took of Beoga on YouTube

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Photographers Notes:
I learnt a few lessons at this concert. I should have listened to the saying ‘more haste and less speed’. There was a two song limit imposed for each artist. In my rush to take as many shots as I could I made mistakes. Next time I’ll try to concentrate on getting a few good shots rather than taking lots of shots and hoping a few of them come out well. If you are rushing you can’t possibly hold the camera steady enough to get a sharp photos at slow shutters speeds. Concentrate on my framing as there were lots of cut off hands and elbows. Also traditional musicians although sitting down tend to jig about a lot, I was using shutter speeds that are more suitable for singing guitarists who don’t move much, so I ended up with lots of photos where the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough to get a sharp image of the face.

I also learned that if there is a two song restriction that I should speak nicely to the lighting person and ask if they can keep the lights up for those two songs. After the first song, the lighting dimmed right down making it really hard to take good photos.

The lights on the first act were very red which because of the nature of the sensor in a digital camera means that a lot of the detail is lost and it also looks weird if someones whole head is red. I managed to adjust the colours in post processing to something that looked a bit more natural.

During the first three acts there were lots of obsticals on stage, a music stand that no one seemed to use, and lots of mic stands, It was very hard to get shots without these being in the way.

I know the two song rule was there because of previous complaints about photographers clicking away throught the whole gig, but for quiet gigs I try to be inconspicuous, move slowly, try to move between songs, take a few shots here and there so I don’t anoy the same person all night, but I felt with the two song limit I was rushing around and probably being a distraction to both the artists and the audience. As I said earlier I’ll have to try not to rush around so much and realise that with a two song limit I can’t get all the angles that I would normally like to get, so just concentrate on getting a good shot of each artist and a few full stage ones.

End Notes:
Yn Chruinnaght website
Beoga website
Peel Centenary Center website

Questions or comments?
Leave a comment below, and let me know what you thought of this post.

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