A night with Callan’s top talent

THE spirit of Callan’s Abhainn Rí Festival is kicking off two months in advance of the festival itself, with a fundraising concert on May 28 in the Friary, Callan.

THE spirit of Callan’s Abhainn Rí Festival is kicking off two months in advance of the festival itself, with a fundraising concert on May 28 in the Friary, Callan.

Following the Abhainn Rí theme of participation and inclusion, this Callan’s Got Talent concert will bring together a range of local performers, featuring Don Mescall, who was recently on The Late Late Show in the final playoff for Ireland’s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest.

In its first year in 2010, Abhainn Rí was planned as a celebration of all things local to the Callan area, with events focusing on heritage, food, sport, the local tradition of marquee dancing, the historical “built environment”, contemporary and outsider arts, variety show, religious interest, street performance, renewable energy and, last but not least, the fun of a Vintage Field Day.

Blessed by good weather, the week was a great success and hopes are high for 2011. Emigrants are already known to be planning their summer visit to be in Callan for the festival, and preparations are well under way for exotic events.

The May 28 concert will combine some familiar Callan artists with performers who are just getting started on promising careers. Nevin Cody, a heady mix of a magician and comedian, will be emcee for the night as well as doing a trick or two. Traditional music will be contributed by Anthony McAuley and friends, while Starlight Stage Productions will give budding child stars a chance to shine.

Well-known seanachie Jim Maher will tell a few yarns along with traditional singer Paddy Fitzpatrick, and promising young singer, Noelle Morrissey, is sure to charm all ages.

Young talent is guaranteed a step toward fame and fortune with two new bands and two solo singers emerging from St Brigid’s College and the Colaiste Eamonn Ris. The evening will come to its finale with singer-songwriter Don Mescall, Limerick-born but now living in Coolaghflags, who recently recorded his new live album in a series of sell-out concerts in Kilkenny’s Hole in the Wall.

Sponsored by the Callan Community Network and in aid of the Abbey Meadow Bridge and Riverbank Project, this festival concert will be a taster for the summer events that will take place from July 23-31. All tickets are 10 euro and are available from the Post Office, Lyons’ Fruit and Veg, or committee members.