Fíodhna played whistles and low whistle with traditional Irish band, Inis Oirr from 2004-2011, who provided entertainment in some of the most luxurious venues across the Middle East, keeping Irish music alive there. See www.inis-oirr.com for further details.
Inis Oirr will play in The Bar at The Club, Abu Dhabi on Thursday 5th November, starting at 8.30pm. The venue has been re-organised and it should provide a much better listening experience. Looking forward to a great evening of music and song.
Note: Due to Club regulations, non-members need to pre-book.
On Thursday 15th October, Inis Oirr played their first concert gig since the summer holidays, on a newly organised stage at The Club, Abu Dhabi for a large expatriate audience. A number of people commented on tunes, airs and songs played, the clarity of sound and nice atmosphere.
Mick sang ‘The Devil and the Widow” which received a great reception from the people who were listening carefully to the words! Fiodhna, Marianne and Ged all played solos during the gig. Fiodhna played a slow version of ‘The Foggy Dew’ on low whistle, accompanied by Mick on guitar and Padraig on keyboard. Ged joined in the second time round with lovely harmony notes. Marianne played a Scottish selection on the fiddle and Ged played a selection of jigs on the banjo. This added a new dimension to Inis Oirr’s repertoire.
A big thanks to Steve and all in the club for making such improvements to the venue.
Inis Oirr played their first ’session’ at The Club on April 15th 2010. Their usual concert-style performance was changed to a ‘session’ style, in line with the more traditional sessions found in bars and pubs around Ireland and Scotland. Sitting in the corner of the room, and with the help of a little amplification, their music filled the bar and was well received by an appreciative audience. A few members even took to the floor for a mini-set!
On St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, the Irish Embassy was officially opened in Abu Dhabi. The event was hosted by H.E. Ambassador Ciaran Madden, Irish Ambassador to the UAE and was attended by H.E. Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister for foreign Trade, Paul Gallagher, Ireland’s Attorney General and other distinguished ambassadors and guests.
The event opened with a welcome from H.E. Ambassador Ciaran Madden who then invited Paul Gallagher to address the invited guests. He spoke of the close ties Ireland had with the UAE and hoped that these would be further developed with the opening of embassies in Dublin and Abu Dhabi.
The formalities were concluded with a cake being cut by H.E. Ambassador Ciaran Madden, H.E. Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi and Paul Gallagher.
Inis Oirr then took to the stage to entertain the guests at the reception held in the Aloft hotel. The outdoor venue was filled with Inis Oirr’s toe-tapping jigs and reels, moving airs and traditional songs.
On Saturday September 19th last, Inis Oirr were featured on ‘The Dear Green Place’, an Irish and Celtic music radio show hosted by Cindy Funk. The show, broadcast by WYSO in Ohio, U.S.A., features a mixture of live and recorded Irish and Celtic music.
“I heard about you from a friend of mine”, Cindy said, “and plan to play some of your music on my radio show tomorrow, spotlighting your unusual location. It proves that Celtic music is EVERYWHERE!”
Apparently, Cindy found out about the band from a mutual friend and featured their music when doing a story about Celtic music around the world. Other bands were featured from Switzerland, Spain and Poland but the United Arab Emirates got her vote for the most unusual location for Irish Music.
Two of Inis Oirr’s selections were featured – a song called Bridget Donoghue and a set of reels called The Green Mountain Set.
Here is a recording of the radio show featuring Inis Oirr.
As a fitting end to a week of music for St. Patrick’s celebrations in the UAE, Bobby Gardiner, the renound button accordionist from Co Clare, joined Inis Oirr for two gigs in Abu Dhabi. His daughter, Fiodhna who plays the tin whistle in the band, was delighted to share the stage with her father. “This has become an annual gig that I really enjoy,” says Bobby, “and I really like Inis Oirr’s arrangements and variety of instruments.” Bobby has travelled the world over the past 40 years as a professional musician, playing traditional music from the Catskill Mountains in New York State, to the Great Wall of China. He has several recordings made over the years, including the popular ‘Memories of Clare’ album and The Master’s Choice. He can be found playing at the Bru BoruCultural Centre in Cashel, Co Tipperary during the summer months. Check out this page on Wikipedia for more information about Bobby. For some videos of his music, check out this link to YouTube.
Inis Oirr were featured in ‘m’, the Saturday magazine published as part of Abu Dhabi’s National newspaper. On a back page article, entitled ‘My… Band’, Inis Oirr chatted about a variety of topics related to Irish music, including the band’s name, how the group was formed, the band members and their instruments, regular and upcoming gigs and what it means to be part of the group.
Download the article here.
Inis Oirr provided the entertainment at a reception for the travel industry in Abu Dhabi, as part of Tourism Ireland’s second trade mission to the United Arab Emirates on 23rd February 2009.Tourism Ireland and four of their trade partners, the g hotel in Galway, Spa Ireland, the National Stud and Dublin Tourism, offered workshops in the Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi that promoted Ireland as a travel destination for holiday makers from the UAE. At the reception that followed, Inis Oirr played a selections of jigs, reel, airs and songs. They finished the evening with a series of acoustic tunes played for a small and appreciative audience.
Photo from left: Ged Palmer, Marianne Campbell, Pádraig Hyland, Her Excellency Mary McAleese, Dr. Martin McAleese, Fíodhna Gardiner-Hyland, Mick Giblin, St. John Kelliher, Micheal Martin.
At the invitation of the Irish Ambassador, Mr Tom Russell, Inis Oirr opened the presidential reception at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi with two selections of jigs and reels and the traditional slow air played by Fíodhna “Ar Eireann Ni Neosfainn Ce Hi”. Accompanied by her husband, Dr. Martin Mc Aleese and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mícheal Martin, the President met with the Irish Community and their friends who had gathered to welcome her to Abu Dhabi. Her Excellency thanked all those who were involved in the organisation of the event and had some special words to describe Inis Oirr’s performance : “Our music travels so lightly and so easily and it’s wonderful, isn’t it, to be in the company of the great music that we had from Inis Oirr – weren’t they absolutely first class, just stunning.”
The words that Her Excellency Mary Mc Aleese, The President of Ireland, used to describe Inis Oirr’s performance at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi. At the invitation of the Irish Ambassador, Mr Tom Russell, Inis Oirr opened the reception with two selections of jigs and reels and the beautiful slow air “Ar Eireann Ni Neosfainn Ce Hi” played by Fiodhna. Accompanied by her husband Dr Martin Mc Aleese and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin, the President met with the Irish Community and their friends who had gathered to welcome her to Abu Dhabi.
The President thanked all those who were involved in the organisation of the event and had some special words for Inis Oirr:
By popular demand, Fíodhna and Inis Oirr performed regular concerts at the Delma Café, Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi from 2004-2006. The Cultural Foundation comprises the National Archives, the National Library and the Institute of Culture and Art, which operates under the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
In the absence of traditional Irish music sessions in the Middle East, Fiodhna, Padraig and friends Mick Giblin and Ged Palmer took turns hosting house sessions. Fíodhna’s father, Bobby joined them on a few occasions, as did Fíodhna’s sister, Lynda and brother-in-law, Tom Murphy. Many new tunes were learned in this way. Here are two such sessions.