Dungiven musicians to feature on BBC

TWO talented artists from Dungiven are to feature on a special BBC Northern Ireland documentary this weekend on the revival of traditional harping.

Thursday, 6th May 2010, 11:34 am

Instrument maker Seamus O'Kane and up and coming female artist Nodlaig Brolly will be appearing in ILBF funded 'Banron an Cheoil' (Queen of Music) documentary this Sunday on BBC Two. The television programme focuses on a group of gifted musicians who are trying to revive the traditional harping techniques of the old Gaelic society that disappeared in the turbulent 17th Century. It has already aired on TG4.

Filmed over two years, the programme follows Seamus and renowned County Cork harp builder Michael Billinge as they create a replica of one of the most striking historical symbols of Ireland, the Downhill Harp.

The documentary also shows Nodlaig as she tries to turn her hand to learning the techniques of playing this ancient instrument under the guidance of some of the most celebrated Celtic harpers. The Dungiven artist encounters doubts and challenges of going back in time to resolve the secrets of an instrument which has lain silent for hundreds of years.

The documentary will also focus on another famous musical legend from the Borough. In 1792 Denis O'Hampsey from Magilligan played at the Belfast Harp Festival where a young Edward Bunting collected his music.

The film culminates in a unique public performance of O'Hampsey's airs performed in his native Derry by ten of the world's most renowned harpers - Alan Stivell and Myrdhin from Brittany, Alison Kinnaird and Bill Taylor from Scotland, Ann Heymann from the USA and Nodlaig Brolly, Laoise Kelly, Paul Dooley, Caoimhe Cooke and Bonnie Shaljean from Ireland. Banron an Cheoil is a co-production between Lugh Films and Gallan Films and was funded by the Northern Ireland Screen Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) and TG4.

Banron an Cheoil, BBC Two NI, Sunday May 9 at 6pm.