The Trad Gathering, jointly commissioned in 2008 by the BBC Proms and Return to Camden Town Festival, brought together 60 of the most talented and accomplished young traditional Irish musicians from across London, St Alban's, Luton, Cambridge and further afield to work on a 15-minute piece arranged by internationally renowned traditional Irish musicians (from The London Lasses/ Artisan Row) Karen Ryan (fiddle) and Pete Quinn (piano). Rehearsals culminated in the performance of the piece in Kensington Gardens as part of BBC Proms Folk Day in July of that year, followed by a performance at the 10th Return to Camden Town Festival and a guest appearance at Music for Youth’s Schools Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2009, Return to Camden Town Festival commissioned the hugely respected Leitrim composer, Charlie Lennon to write a suite of music specifically for the group. Entitled ‘Recollections of Camden Town’ the suite contains tunes dedicated to some of the high profile musicians on the London Irish music scene in the 1950s and 60s. It was premiered at the 2009 Return to Camden Town Festival and was performed again at the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Festival of Britain in the Royal Festival Hall in 2011.

After a 6 year break, The Trad Gathering reformed in 2017 to rehearse music from the repertoire of the highly regarded Leitrim fiddler, Bryan Rooney (recipient of the National Irish TV Award - TG4 Gradam Ceoil Musician of the Year), they went on to perform this on the Trafalgar Square stage as part of the Lord Mayor of London's St Patrick's Day Festival, at Kings Place supporting the legendary Altan at Bush Hall supporting Lúnasa, St Mary Magdalene’s (Paddington – Grand Junction) supporting Kilfenora Céilí Band and more.

Each year since then the project has highlighted a different high profile musician who has been long associated with the London Irish music scene. Members of the group learn about the musician’s background and musical activities, are exposed to aural sources of their music, learn tunes from their repertoire, going on to rehearse and perform some of their music in an arrangement suitable for the large group setting.

In recent years musicians whose music has been studied and performed by the group include: Bryan Rooney (Leitrim fiddler), The McCarthy Family (Co. Clare), Roger Sherlock (Sligo flautist) and Lucy Farr (East Galway fiddler). In 2021, The Trad Gathering are celebrating the music of the legendary Donegal fiddler, Danny Meehan.


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