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Festival celebrates Irish connection to China

The Celtic Connections Choir [Photo provided to China Daily]

A group of Irish artists from all over the world will take part in Irish Connections: Concert of Irish Music, Song and Dance on March 3 at the Forbidden City Concert Hall of Beijing.

They include uilleann pipe player Davy Spillane, who is one of Ireland’s best known traditional musicians; dancers from Drake Irish Dance, one of the most prestigious Irish dance schools of the United States; Celtic Connections Choir which is based in Hong Kong; Celtic Storm, the only Irish dance troupe in Shanghai; and Christy and Erin Jensen, two dancers living in Beijing aged 13 and 11.

This celebration of Irish music and dance will kick off the sixth annual Beijing Irish Festival, presenting 15 events over two weeks.

"Cultural exchanges and cooperation have been at the heart of the Sino-Irish relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations 33 years ago," says Declan Kelleher, Ambassador of Ireland to China.

"Irish and Chinese people share a deep respect for culture and for tradition, and it’s natural therefore that culture should play such an important role in the development of our bilateral relationship."

This year’s Beijing Irish Festival will present diverse programs such as performances, exhibitions, workshops and readings in venues across Beijing.

One of the highlights will be the Irish evening at the National Center for the Performing Arts on March 11. The exhibition Instruments of Pleasure, curated by Fion Gunn as part of her Irish Wave III series will open at the center’s Visual Arts Display Room.

Taking account of the surroundings, the exhibition focuses on the iconography surrounding music - performance, instruments and annotation - with artists who approach the theme from a contemporary perspective.

Following the exhibition viewing, guests will be treated to a performance by the young traditional Irish group Ciorras, which plays an impressive assortment of instruments between them.

"We have attempted to balance the traditional and modern dimensions of Irish culture for the festival. For example, there will be concerts of very traditional Irish music, and, on the other hand, there will also be a master class on computer music by a group of Irish composers," Kelleher says.

The Beijing Irish Festival will coincide with St Patrick’s Day - the National Day of Ireland, which falls on March 17.

Detailed information on the festival events can be found at www.embassyofireland.cn.

Besides the Beijing Irish Festival, the Feile Shanghai Ireland Week 2012 will take place in Shanghai from March 10 to 18. More information can be found at www.feileshanghai.org.

Source: China Daily
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