Con Curtin Festival Brosna

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This festival in Brosna is based on local fiddle player Con Curtin who resided in Brosna village and played a wide variety of traditional music but would include a lot of Sliabh Luachra music, since Brosna is part of the hinterland of Sliabh Luachra.

The legendary Con Curtin was one of the few people in the country with the honour of having a festival in their name in life.

Con passed away on April 25th 2009 at 82 years of age, and every year the crowds flock to support the festival established and celebrated in his name.

The Festival was established in 2001 to celebrate a very unusual “Sliabh Luachra” blossom of music , with a unique tempo and rhythm.

Con Curtin was a master exponent of this Sliabh Luachra style. Over the years the Con Curtin festival has grown from strength to strength and is one of the most prominenent weekends of the year in any traditional musician's calendar.

The festival is supported by top musicians, not just from the locality but from all over Ireland and abroad, and it's this quality that ensures that the crowds flock to the village of Brosna every June!

This festival in Brosna is based on local fiddle player Con Curtin who resided in Brosna village and played a wide variety of traditional music but would include a lot of Sliabh Luachra music, since Brosna is part of the hinterland of Sliabh Luachra.

Con was born in Brosna, Co Kerry in 1925. Every year since 2001 the village of Brosna holds a festival in his honour.

Con's life story has a Rabelaisian quality to it. Apprenticed as a blacksmith - a trade with no future he points out - he left for the promise of London at an early age. There he worked as a ganger for Murphy for ten years, tunneling beneath the streets of the city, before becoming a publican.

His 14-year tenancy of The Balloon in Chelsea passed into London folklore. The Balloon was renowned as a place that rarely closed for business - pushed by a policeman on one occasion Curtin defined his opening hours as from January until December.

He played music on the Topic album, Paddy in the Smoke, recorded in London in the 1960s and regarded by many as the finest live recording of traditional music ever made.

Musically Curtin is defined by Sliabh Luchra and by his time in London. Brosna is - for him - the place that music comes from and his life has been defined by that music and the people he met through it. Con Curtin was one of the last of his kind: a natural storyteller.

He passed away in April 2009 but was one of the few musicians to have a Music Festival named after him while he was still alive.

The scenic North Kerry Village of Brosna, on the Cork/Kerry/ Limerick border is the perfect location for this festival, which attracts huge crowds each year from at home and abroad due to the high calibre of musicians who attend. The festival offers something for all age groups and is hugely popular with musicians on the trad music scene, many of whom return each year to enjoy the atmosphere and traditional Irish music that Brosna has to offer.


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