A huge series of traditional music gigs are being planned to take place throughout Ireland this September in order to raise money for some of the world’s poorest countries.
The Trad for Trócaire events will take place from September 22 – 28, and organisers are encouraging musicians to get involved and help to raise money for Trócaire projects around the globe.
Trócaire supports charitable projects in over 28 countries, lobbying to raise awareness on issues of poverty and social justice, and working to bring change to communities living in the poorest conditions.
'Last year was the first year of Trad for Trócaire and we were amazed by how popular it was,' says Trócaire press officer, David O'Hare. 'The trad community and the public really took the idea to their hearts, and we were given fantastic support from global Irish music charity, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
'There were over 400 gigs organised, mostly all over Ireland, but also in the UK, US and Australia. Over £130,000 was raised.'
Stars such as Steve Wickham of The Waterboys are supporting the campaign. Last year, Wickham visited Uganda to see first hand the difference Trócaire has been making in people’s lives.
‘We were so lucky to be guests of the team in Uganda, right at the coalface of Trócaire's work in amongst the poorest of the poor,' Wickham recalls. 'What an education it was to see how small things can make a wonderful difference to people’s lives.’
Wickham has been surprised at the extraordinary impact the money raised from the sessions can have for communities and individuals in wartorn or draught-affected areas.
‘The modest money we raised from two little trad sessions back in Ireland was enough to light-up a whole community with solar lights, freeing them from the dangers and burden of kerosene lamps, providing a safe, renewable resource into the future.’
Musicians Brian Sweeney, Connie Murray and Quentin Cowper accompanied Wickham on the trip, all of whom played at the St Patrick's Day celebrations and raised funds for the Widow's Support Group in Mbikko and the Solar Lamps Project in Katakwi District in northern Uganda.
This year, other major Irish musicians are joining Wickham in lending their support, such a Moya Brennan, Sharon Shannon and Finbar Furey.
Organisers are encouraged to use their imagination when considering a venue for their session. At the Dublin launch, young musicians arranged a céilí at a fast-food restaurant, whilst in Belfast trad performers took their instruments up the River Lagan. Events can take place anywhere, from pubs and community centres to living rooms and gardens.
Whether it’s running a session in your community, taking part by playing an instrument, or heading along to support your local event, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
To find out more about hosting an event, or to find a trad session happening near you, call 0800 912 1200 (1850 408 408 ROI) or request a fundraising pack and register your event online at www.trócaire.org/trad.