Folk stars and young maestros at Earagail gig

One of the stand-out concerts of the Errigal Arts Festival features Donal Lunny and his Atlantic Arc Orchestra, with Donegal Young Maestros in support, at An Grianan theatre in Letterkenny on Sunday (16th) at 8pm.

The Atlantic Arc Orchestra is a Who’s Who of folk musicians from Ireland, Scotland and Brittany. All eight have performed across the globe and have remarkable music CVs.

Along with Donal Lunny are Pauline Scanlon (vocals), Pádraig Rynne (concertina), Jarlath Henderson (uilleann pipes, whistles, guitar, vocals), Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle), Sylvain Barou (uilleann pipes, flutes), Ewen Vernal (bass) and John Blease (drums, percussion).

It’s an eclectic and exciting mix. Fiddler Aidan O’Rourke, from Oban but with strong Donegal connections, won Musician of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. John Blease has been travelling the world in recent weeks with Paolo Nutini and Goldfrapp.

Supporting the Atlantic Arc on the night are five of the outstanding musicians to emerge from the remarkable project that is the Donegal Music Education Partnership (DMEP).  The Murray twins, Conor (bass) and Michael (sax), from Falcarragh, are now studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow.  Conor was shortlisted for 2017 Scottish Young Jazz Musician of the Year.

Amy Gillen from Bridgetown is one of the rising stars in flute internationally. Violinist Sarah Walsh, Ballybofey, is on a Masters’ scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Amy Meehan from Manorcunningham is fast developing a reputation as one of the outstanding young singer-songwriters around.

Sarah Walsh in performance (centre)


Martin McGinley of the DMEP said: “We’re delighted to get the opportunity to showcase some young Donegal talent on such a night. Donal Lunny has put together an amazing outfit. All of those involved have major reputations on the folk and trad scene. It’s a great opportunity for some of our former DMEP students to come back home and strut their stuff!”

The Atlantic Arc Orchestra first came together for a concert series last year. The concerts were a big success, which was hardly a surprise, given the line-up. Pauline Scanlon from Dingle has toured with Sharon Shannon and has done several solo CDs. Jarlath Henderson from Tyrone is a former BBC Young Folk Musician of the Year. Clare man Padraig Rynne is one of the country’s top concertina players. Sylvain Barou from Brittany has been described as one of the greatest flute players of his generation. Ewan Vernal plays with Scottish band Capercallie and is an ex-member of Deacon Blue.

Book tickets for the Atlantic Arc Orchestra and Donegal Young Maestros on Sunday 16th at 8pm at or phone 07491 20777.