Belfast TradFest - Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music
27th July - 2nd August 2019


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Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music

The team of international tutors is made up of master performers with proven track records as teachers and educationalists. The primary means of teaching and learning is ‘by ear’ with an emphasis in the less experienced classes of assisting pupils to develop oral/aural skills in addition to instrumental competency and developing core repertoire. There is a maximum of 15 students per class.


Ulster Songs Traditional Singing Class - Jane Cassidy, Maurice Leyden & Ríoghnach Connolly,

Ulster Songs Traditional Singing Class - Jane Cassidy, Maurice Leyden & Ríoghnach Connolly,


Classes take place Monday 29th July - Friday 2nd August 2018 10:00am - 1:00pm at Ulster University Belfast Campus.

No experience required.

Fee includes admission to all programme events with exception of evening concerts. 

Ríoghnach Connolly will take the singing class on Monday & Tuesday and Maurice Leyden & Jane Cassidy will take the classes on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.

Entitled "Ulster Songs" Maurice and Jane will focus on both urban and rural songs from the Ulster Tradition, and on how that repertoire is enriched by three strands; the Shamrock, Rose and Thistle

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Ríoghnach Connolly

Ríoghnach Connolly is an Armagh born singer and flautist strongly rooted in her trad Sean-nós background, she also stirs elements of Appalachia, Blues and Jazz into the folk archive cooking pot. Based in Manchester she has many musical projects: HoneyFeet, The Breath, Afro Celt Sound system, Beware Soul Brother, Owl Dolls, Dum Dá, Alabaster dePlume, Liz green, Moulettes, Frameworks, YesKing, Billy Buckley, Steam Packet Ceilí Band & her own 'Black Lung' project. “Connolly is a free spirit and strikingly self-assured…” according to Mike Butler of CityLife; “seldom has conspicuous greatness been more accessible.”

Maurice Leyden

Maurice Leyden is a folk-song collector, singer, broadcaster and writer with a passion for Ulster folk-song. Originally from Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, his first book ‘Belfast, City of Song’ (Brandon) explores the traditional songs of the city which has been his home for many years. His research for the Belfast book revealed a wealth of children’s songs and street lore and Maurice’s second book ‘Boys and Girls Come out to Play’ (Appletree) presents a rich collection of children’s singing games. Both books are complemented by recordings of selected songs. Maurice has completed a third book on the folk-songs associated with the Ulster linen industry which is being prepared for publication. Maurice is much in demand as a lecturer and authority on local folk-song and contributed to ‘The Companion to Irish Traditional Music’ Editor Fintan Vallely (Cork University Press) and ‘Irish People Irish Linen’ by Kathleen Curtis Wilson (Ohio University Press). In 2008 Maurice was invited to give a lecture on his collection of Linen songs at the Library of Congress in Washington. A familiar voice on the airwaves, Maurice presented a weekly folk-music programme ‘Folkal Point’ for 14 years on Downtown Radio. He is a regular performer at folk concerts and festivals, collaborating with his wife Jane Cassidy to present shows combining local history and folk-song.

Jane Cassidy

Jane Cassidy is a singer, broadcaster, writer and producer who has toured extensively in Europe bringing her own blend of traditional Ulster music and self-penned songs to folk audiences. Two highlights were playing support to Joe Cocker before 8,000 people at the Fête du Peuple Breton in Brittany and touring 28 cities across Great Britain with the Geordie band Lindisfarne. Jane has released 3 albums, 2 on the Claddagh Record label, ‘Waves of Time’ and ‘The Empty Road’ as well as ‘Silverbridge‘ and 3 collections of children’s songs, 2 of which feature songs composed by Jane for the UTV series ‘Swings & Roundabouts’. Together with husband Maurice Leyden, Jane released a CD of songs and readings from their show ‘Mary Ann McCracken’. Jane has made numerous appearances on TV, most notably on the seminal series ‘As I Roved Out’ (BBC) with her brother Frank Cassidy and ‘From Glen to Glen’ (UTV), which are now finding a new audience as the TV archives are brought once more to our screens. She presented a weekly folk music programme ‘Folkal Point’ for 4 years on Downtown Radio and wrote and presented musical series for BBC Radio Ulster including ‘Musical Mysteries’,’ Reel to Reel’,’ Ladies’ Choice’ and ‘In my own write’. Jane has collaborated with other musicians to write, perform and record including Andy Irvine, Dan Ar Braz, Colum Sands, Antonio Breschi, Rod McVey, Nollaig Casey, Artie McGlynn, Neil Martin, Padrig Sicard, Johnny Cunningham, Joe McHugh, Mudd Wallace, Lawrence Thompson, The Phoenix Duo and the Belfast Wind Quintet. She has composed music and songs for stage and screen, receiving a Peacock Theatre Award for her score for ‘Broken Nails’, a community production written by Damian Gorman. Together with her husband Maurice Leyden she has written and performed numerous shows combining traditional folk-songs, history and literature, many of which have been broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster.