A Little Bit of Sligo Live History

Sligo Live Sessions is a national festival celebrating traditional, roots and acoustic music. Now in its eight year, it has carved out a niche as one of the most relaxed, intimate and enjoyable music festivals in Ireland. Sligo Live  Sessions is a modern continuation of a long and distinguished musical heritage going back hundreds and maybe thousands of years. It has been shown that the first inhabitants came to Sligo over five thousand years ago and who would bet that the incredable beauty of Sligo did not inspire them to sing, dance and play music! As another famous Sligoman, W.B.Yeats said in his poem ”The Fiddler of Dooney’ “The merry love to fiddle and the merry love to danc

County Sligo has a strong musical heritage stretching back to the fiddle masters, Coleman, Morrison, Killoran, through Joe O’Dowd, Fred Finn, Peter Horan, Seamus Tansey, to Kevin Burke, John Carty, Deirdre Collis, Dervish, Philip Duffy, Carmel Gunning, Seamus and Manus Maguire, Oisin McDiarmada, Jarlath McTiernan, Matt Molloy, Colm O’Donnell, Seamie O’Dowd, Declan Payne, Declan Folen, Teresa O’Grady and Damien Stenson of Teada, to name just a few. In their wake there are a wealth of young and established musicians currently performing around Sligo.

The distinctive Sligo music style is renowned worldwide for its ‘lift’ – a traditional term to describe the uplifting spirit it conveys. The musical program presented in Sligo Live will reflect the verve, authenticity and quality of Sligo’s music.

County Sligo holds a special place in traditional Irish music.

In the 1920’s musicians from south Sligo were among the first to record Irish traditional music including Michael Coleman who had emigrated to New York.

Other early greats to record in New York were fiddle players, James Morrison, Patrick Killoran and Lad O’Beirne, together with flute master James McKenna from Leitrim.

The circulation of their 78-rpm records breathed new energy into traditional music throughout the country during a time of great hardship. Some would argue that these new influences sustained the tradition at a time when all over Europe the practice of handing down native folk music was virtually dying out. Since then a huge musical connection has existed between the traditional music of Sligo and New York.

Sligo Live celebrates this link each year by having a strong emphasis on the musical connections between Sligo and the US, particularly New York. Liz Carroll, John Doyle, Solas, Hayes & Cahill, Brian Conway, Tony De Marco and Kevin Burke are some of the US based traditional musicians to have featured and this year Maurice Lennon continues the tradition.