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Co. Clare is synonymous with music, so it’s is only fitting that from March 14 – 19, 2007, the county town of Ennis will host one of Ireland’s the most exciting new festivals, CHORD –Ennis International Music Festival.

CHORD will celebrate the cultural diversity now represented in this cosmopolitan town, with its old-world charm. Comprising a music programme with a stellar line-up of international and national artists, the festival will also embrace many street events, to add a dash of colour to St Patrick’s weekend in Ennis.

Amongst the top flight international artists to perform at the inaugural festival will be John Williams (Wednesday March 14 at Glór Theatre, Ennis), without doubt one of the greatest classical guitarists of all time. He won popular acclaim for his haunting ‘Cavantina’ – the theme to the Deer Hunter movie. Critics describe John Williams as "...The world's most accomplished all-around guitarist."

Renowned flamenco guitarist Rafael, plus flamenco band and dancers are sure to wow their audience with a fiery, spirited and accomplished performance, when they take to the stage on Friday March 16 at Glór Theatre.

On Sunday March 18, the graceful and gifted Chinese musician Liu Fang, will give a recital at St. Columba’s Church, Ennis. Known as the ‘Empress of the Pipa’ (a Chinese lute), Liu also plays the ancient Chinese 20-stringed instrument - the guzheng. Liu Fang counts a private recital for Queen Elizabeth of England, amongst her many high profile performances. BBC London describe her music as: "... Masterful, graceful and riveting ..."

Homegrown talent will include Ireland’s most respected classical guitarist John Feeley. With an international twist, the ConTempo Quartet, who formed in 1995 at the Music University in Bucharest, Romania, will accompany John. ConTempo Quartet has become one of the most celebrated string quartets performing in Europe. This concert will take place at St Columba’s Church, Ennis on Thursday March 15. Meanwhile, on Friday March 16, one of Ireland’s rising stars of classical guitar, Michael O’Toole will give a lunchtime performance at St Columba’s Church.

As the music theme for this year’s festival is ‘guitar across cultures and musical genres’, we will also have a talented blues and jazz performance from Nigel Mooney and his band, while the Dublin Guitar Quartet promise an original set ranging from classical to rock, to include the Steve Reich masterpiece Electric Counterpoint!

Rockers will include, ex-Horslips vocalist and guitar/mandolin maestro Johnny Fean, who will be accompanied by Steve Travers, and the quirky, melodic and highly talented Cork rock group ‘FRED’.

Throughout the weekend there will be a series of hands-on workshops given by the visiting musicians, representing a unique opportunity for students of music in the county and surrounding areas to learn new skills from the greats, including Rafael, Steve Cooney and Sarah McQuaid. Participation in workshops is priced at just €5.

Also, on Thursday March 15 the Maynooth Guitar Orchestra under the leadership of Co. Clare native, Brendan Walshe will entertain a full house at Danlann an Chlair, in a free concert for second level students of music – who can also expect a surprise guest!

There will be plenty of buzz on the streets of Ennis, with ethnic food markets, stalls and a competition for buskers.

* Chord – Ennis International Music Festival is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland and is being organised by a voluntary committee.

For further information contact Margaret O’Brien on 086-8055307 or email mobrien11@eircom.net

Release Date: 19 January 2007

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