In 2021, Siamsa Tíre was delighted to be one of eight venues across Ireland to take part in the Lasta festival, a national arts programme for young people by young people. Those eight venues engaged 21 young curators to programme a festival of work for children and young people.
We selected three young woman as our curators. They were Aisling Clarke, a 22-year-old flute player from Roscommon; Susan Coleman, a 22-year-old traditional singer and concertina player from Donegal; and Ranóg Townsend, a 23-year-old sean nós dancer, teacher, and performer from Lixnaw in North Kerry.
All three were graduates of the BA in Irish Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy at the University of Limerick and shared a passion for traditional Irish culture, music, and arts.
“People who think our folk tradition is irrelevant are out of touch,” said Susan. “They haven’t seen the amazing stuff that’s happening, the people pushing boundaries and working in collaboration to explore and fuse cultures. We want to show them just what’s happening in the contemporary world of Irish folk traditions. We want them to realise that far from being irrelevant, it’s as vibrant and vital as can be.”
The programme they curated did just that. Their highlight event was a concert with Lisa Canny, a harpist, banjo player, and singer who brings a hip-hop flavour to traditional music.
Their programme also featured concerts with singer Cathy Jordan, piano accordionist Karen Tweed, and Claudia Schwab, a funk-beat yodelling music explorer whose music is rooted in Irish, Austrian, and Indian traditions. There were lantern making workshops, dance workshops, documentaries demonstrating how to make traditional musical instruments, and a whole lot more.