From Africa to Appalachia

Tuesday 19th September at 5pm

From Africa to Appalachia explores the historical connections between the music of West Africa and the Americas, with a particular focus on the music of Southern Appalachia and the important impact of the n’goni, akonting and other lutes brought over by enslaved Africans on the development of the American banjo. Africa to Appalachia brings together Malian n’goni master and griot Cheick Hamala Diabate, old time banjo master Riley Baugus and the deeply talented multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely.  While Africa to Appalachia was initially focused on exploring historical trans-Atlantic cultural connections, the artists quickly found that they shared a unique bond musically, and in bringing these styles together were creating something exciting and new.  For their journey to Ireland, Cheick, Danny and Riley will also be joined by guitarist and bassist Rob Coltun and djembe drum master Yuma Bellomee.

Following  concert with Clifden Arts Festival (17th September), we welcome the group to Interface for a day of musical exchange and conversation with Irish Musicians Paul Dooley (fiddle and harp), Ceara Conway (voice), Mick Kinsella (harmonica) and Declan Corey (mandolin). At 5pm, we will open our doors for an informal public sharing of this musical conversation.

Paul Dooley is one of the leading exponents of the Irish harp in its historical form and style – playing a metal-strung harp with the fingernails. He has studied the construction of the medieval Irish harp and built several instruments. Playing mostly Irish dance music, he has performed worldwide as a soloist and with some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians. He has also spent recent decades researching the music of the Robert ap Huw manuscript, the oldest collection of harp music in existence.

Ceara Conway is an Irish contemporary vocalist and visual artist. She creates experiential performance works that utilise traditional and contemporary song, performance and visual art to explore social issues such as the ecological crisis, migration and feminist concerns. She has received awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Creative Ireland, CREATE and Galway & Limerick County Council for her Public Art Commissions. Ceara holds the position of Arts Coordinator for the Clare Arts Office ( Artists in Schools and Embrace Arts and Disability Programme) and is a Creative Associate with the Arts Council.

Mick Kinsella is an Irish harmonica player from Tullow. He originally played drums for rock bands and showbands for many years before switching to harmonica. Specialized in playing blues, he has played Irish traditional music on many albums with other artists, such as AltanAntonio Breschi, Martin Murray and Cormac Breatnach.

Declan Corey is universally accepted as being right at the very pinnacle of mandolin playing. His virtuoso style has found a welcome home in ‘Josephine Marsh’s Band’ and Declan also regularly perform with other leading lights of the tradition. He has taught extensively at festivals around the country and is an in demand concert musician.