There are lots of Christmas concerts happening at this time, but few can boast to have music from around the world, blending the best of traditional Irish, Bulgarian, Romanian and Israeli music!

The “Christmas Bagpipes Concert” at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre on Monday 18th of December at 7 pm offers just that.  Prepare to be  amazed and enthralled by the musical performance of an international group gathered for this special performance.

Accolade’s musical directors Nikolay and Veselka Ivanovi
Accolade’s musical directors Nikolay and Veselka Ivanovi

The performance is part of a project by Accolade’s musical directors Nikolay and Veselka Ivanovi and brings to fruition many years of their experience and research.

The concert will merge local music, with Brendan Monaghan (Uilleann pipes and whistles) and his daughter Aoife (Vocal and guitar) with traditional music from Bulgaria performed by duo Dragni Dragnev who plays the Bulgarian traditional bagpipes, kaval and tarambuka, with singing from Peta Dragneva.

Dragni Dragney, is a professional musician, educated in two of the most prestigious schools for traditional music in Bulgaria. He works alongside wife Petya, both appearing as soloists in various concerts. They also teach music for various instruments in schools in Bulgaria. Recently they have started classes in bagpipes, kaval and singing in Armagh, in the first Bulgarian school in Northern Ireland.

Their students have already performed in different multi-cultural events.  Dragni and Petya have each made recordings and composed and arranged traditional music which is performed throughout Bulgaria and on other European stages.

Brendan Monaghan has been playing music since he was ten years old and the uilleann pipes since he was 18 years old. He was performing with the band Heritage when they won the Letterkenny Folk Festival in 1986. He has done a four week American tour with Phil Coulter,  making numerous recordings with him and appeared on many TV shows.

Brendan has played Carnegie Hall four times as well as Boston City Hall and Radio City. He joined the tour Celtic Thunder for a couple of years and recorded music for that.  A huge highlight of his career was playing with Phil Coulter for President Clinton in the White House.

Brendan says that he is looking forward to his daughter Fiona joining him in the concert. He says that Fiona is an amazing young lady who carries the music gene that is evident in her beautiful voice and accomplished guitar playing.

Brendan Monaghan
Brendan Monaghan

Regarding the Christmas Bagpipes Concert Brendan quotes Tommy Sands who said “if you have the time, taste and temperament" Brendan goes on to say “Come out of your house for this one night over Christmas. Enjoy the cultures and traditions from not only your own country but from different parts of the world. The music and song will evoke a whole range of emotions, laughter and tears and reminiscences.”

Brendan says it is a joy and a privilege to be playing with such talented and amazing musicians as Veselka and Nikolay. He is grateful for the experience of sharing his culture and experiencing theirs through music. He feels happy to be passing on a musical message of peace, reconciliation and love at this time of the year, when our country and indeed the world needs a coming together.

The Newry Concert is on Monday 18th December in the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Admission : £10

Other Dates/ venues for the Christmas Bagpipes concert:

Friday 15th Dec. 7 00pm Banbridge Old Town Hall

Sunday 17th December 6 30pm Armagh City Hotel