William Kennedy Piping Festival Returns

Armagh welcomes some of the world's finest traditional musicians from November 14 – 17

World famous traditional super group Lunasa will headline the 20th anniversary William Kennedy Piping Festival, which runs in venues across Armagh from November 14 – 17. View the full festival programme.

Lunasa features Armagh uilleann piper Cillian Vallely, and will perform at the Hooley at the Theatre – a five-hour traditional music extravaganza presented on three stages – in the Market Place Theatre on Friday, November 15

'I'm looking forward to hearing piping legend Paddy Keenan on a rare visit from his base in Boston USA,' said festival director Brian Vallely. 'While fans of traditional singing can look forward to hearing the amazing group NASC with Scottish and Irish Gaelic singers Maeve MacKinnon and Grainne Holland.'

The international world of piping will be represented at the 2013 William Kennedy Piping Festival by the Hungarian duo of pipes and Hurdy Gurdy led by piper Istvanfi Balazs, Asturian piper Jose Manuel Tejedor, the popular duo Lagrange Rutowski from France, Wyndebagge from England, uilleann piper Loic Bléjean from Britanny and concertina player Louisa Bennion from the USA.

More locally the tri-lingual singing group Macha will be performing and launching their CD recorded this month. Other local groups include the award-winning Cúig; Reel It In, winners of the prestigious UK City of Culture An Ré Nua competition for traditional bands; and the Armagh Pipers Club Big Band.

The Henderson family – comprising Jarlath on uilleann pipes, Laura vocals and harp and Alana vocals and cello – will be presenting an exciting new programme entitled The Henderson Experience; and Rakish Family Blues, a showcase concert in the Market Place Theatre, is perhaps the most ambitious presentation of music ever assembled in the 20 year history of the festival.

An audio visual presentation focussing on the highlights of the festival from the last 19 years, the event is led by a quartet of Armagh musicians: Niall Vallely on concertina, Brian Finnegan flute and whistles, Barry Kerr uilleann pipes and vocals and Caoimhin Vallely piano. The event will be linked by poet Gearoid MacLochlainn, and will feature guest musicians from previous years.

The festival will close with the now traditional Sunday afternoon uilleann pipes concert at the Studio Theatre, featuring some of the best uilleann pipers in the world including Mikie Smyth, Mick O’Brien, Conor Lavelle, Cillian Vallely, John McSherry and Loic Blejean.

While the three headline concerts dominate the programme, there are also numerous free events throughout the four days, as well as the second annual Piping Academy, which will run parallel to the public festival starting on Friday evening and continuing through the weekend with master-classes, workshops, lectures and sessions.

The William Kennedy Piping Festival runs from November 14 – 17. Visit the festival website for more information. All concert tickets are available solely from the Market Place Theatre box office.