Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Acclaimed artist John Spillane headlines concert in aid of Coláiste Bhlinne Camloch

One of Ireland’s finest singer-songwriters will take centre stage at a special concert to be held in St. Paul’s High School, Bessbrook this weekend.

The acclaimed performer, John Spillane, will headline the fundraising event on Saturday 13th February at 7.30pm, in aid of Coláiste Bhlinne Camloch, the annual Irish language summer school.

John Spillane’s successful career has spanned 33 years and has taken him to some of the top music venues across Europe, Africa and Asia.  Having sold over 100,000 albums in Ireland, John has also been awarded two Meteor Irish Music Awards for ‘Best Act Folk’ and ‘Traditional’ act. His songs have been covered by many Irish folk lumineers such as Christy Moore, Sean Keane, Solas, Mary Black and Sharon Shannon.

Ahead of the concert, John will host a music workshop on Friday afternoon with children from the local primary schools, who will then demonstrate their newly learned skills when they join him on stage at Saturday’s show.  This masterclass, as well as the concert, will be filmed for a documentary to be broadcast at a later date on Irish language TV.  It is hoped a planned visit to this year’s July course of Coláiste Bhlinne will also feature in the documentary.

One of the main organisers of the event, Dan Mallon, says the show represents a major coup for the committee of Coláiste Bhlinne and it is hoped the proceeds will go some way to replacing the cuts in funding it has suffered.

“Coláiste Bhlinne has been running successfully since 1979 and is as popular as ever with up on 100 children attending the two-week course every July.  Like many such voluntary organizations, we face significant cuts in funding and idea behind hosting this concert is to help boost funds to improve facilities for Coláiste Bhlinne, while also raising awareness of the popularity of Irish language in the Camlough and Bessbrook area,” he said.

Dan says this event is just the beginning of ambitious plans to promote the Irish language in the area, which, he added, has always enjoyed a firm foundation through its use in local schools and organized events.

Saturday’s show promises an evening of top class entertainment with a host of guest artists bringing an added dimension, to include performances from the Warrenpoint Comhaltas group, the Mourne Céilí Band, Rooney-O’Malley-Maguire dancers, choirs from local primary schools and St. Mary’s High School, Newry, and the renowned, alternative Trad band, Bothan.

Fear an Tí on the night is Tomaí Ó Conghaille, the renowned radio and TV presenter and mastermind behind the Irish language magazine ‘Nós’.

Tickets for the event are priced at £15 and are on sale in The Yellow Heifer, Camloch, The Railway Bar, Newry; Ti Chulainn in Mullaghbawn, or via the Facebook page of Coláiste Bhlinne Camloch.