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Exciting young folk band, Connla, on the TradFest line-up in Brussels

Tuesday 13th June 2017 at 11am 0 Comments Music & Opera , International Arts

Pictured is Connla band member, uilleann piper, Conor Mallon Image: Pictured is Connla band member, uilleann piper, Conor Mallon

“Hottest new group out of Northern Ireland” (Chicago Irish American News)

Hailing from the cities of Armagh and Derry-Londonderry, traditional folk band, Connla will take to the stage at Tradfest in Brussels on Wednesday 14th June, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, as part of their international programme for artists.

The programme was established by the Arts Council in collaboration with the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels, with the aim of offering local musicians, writers, dancers, theatre practitioners and visual artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and promote the culture and creativity of Northern Ireland on an international stage.  Given its location in the political centre of Europe and the wide range of high profile contacts it enjoys, this is an important platform for artists from Northern Ireland to engage with an international audience at high level, with arts entrepreneurs from around Europe and with decision-makers both at home and abroad.

This exciting, emerging band, who met whilst studying music at Ulster University, has strong traditional roots with global influences.  The results are sensitive and innovative arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs which have earned them praise across the folk community.

 The band is made up of Ciara McCafferty (vocals), Ciaran Carlin (whistles) and Paul Starrett (guitar), all familiar faces on the local music scene in Derry-Londonderry.  They are joined by Armagh siblings Emer and Conor Mallon on harp and uilleann pipes/whistles.   Conor was also a BBC/Arts Council of Northern Ireland Young Musician Platform Awardee in 2014, an award, worth £5,000, presented to exceptional and emerging young musicians with the aim of developing their professional careers.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “This important international platform is all about providing a stage for our local artists to showcase their immense talent and to convey the culture and creativity that is inherent to Northern Ireland.  The Arts Council is delighted that Connla are our cultural ambassadors at TradFest, where they will highlight the important and valuable traditional music sector we are lucky to have in the region.  We wish Connla every success on the night.”

Andrew Elliott, Head of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels, added: "TradFest offers an ideal opportunity to showcase our talent on a European stage and to highlight the region's ever growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the arts. I am delighted to welcome Connla to this year’s festival.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is involved in a range of international platforms including Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, Cuala, New York and artist residencies in India.  For details and opportunities visit

Watch Conor Mallon talk about the upcoming visit below.


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