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The Irish in Uzbekistan and The Sharq Taronalari Folk Music Festival

December 19, 2011


Boann in Uzbekistan

We have a guest post from Lorcan Brady who attended The Sharq Taronalari Folk Music Festival this year. Read his story below:

On the 23rd of August the Irish traditional music group Boann travelled to Samarkand Uzbekistan, (via Riga and Teshkent) for the biennial Sharq Taronalari festival. The festival showcases music from across the globe and culminates in a contest of all the greatest national folk music from around the world.

The Irish contingent included an interesting array of musicians from across the country. Playing fiddle was Toner Quinn and Malachy Bourke, Brian Bourke was on Bodhrán, Sean O’Corcoran on Bouzuki and Lorcan Mac Brádaigh on the Uilleann Pipes. The trip was made possible due to the support from both the festival organisers in Samarkand and The Irish Arts Council.

All artists performing at the festival were treated like celebrities and given historical tours of the ancient city of Samarkand. Music was played in various venues over three consecutive nights with each country on alternating stages. It was a great opportunity to showcase the music of
Ireland to the people of Uzbekistan as well as all the other nationalities that attended the festival. The music of Ireland went down brilliantly in every setting and performance.

On the question of the Irish ‘session’ abroad, one particular night springs to mind. After the Sunday night concert the group settled into the hotel bar for a drink and to listen to music of countless countries playing in several corners of the hotel. French band Kitus played a few Irish tunes to coax the Irish group to sit in and join which Boann obligingly did, with great pleasure. As the two countries played the international language more people sat down and played expanding the session. Countries that were playing included Ireland, France, Ukraine, Senekal, Israel, Turkey, Wales, England, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan to name but a few. The most unbelievable fact of the situation was that many of these musicians from these countries had at least a few Irish tunes! It was a great night of fun and a very mind expanding 10 days!

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