12 musicians took to the stage of The Duncairn on Sat evening in a concert organised by Maurice and Jane to remember their great friend, folk-columnist Neil Johnston. Performing to a packed house, Sean Donnelly opened the night with a beautiful set of songs followed by Jane and Maurice accompanied by their daughter Anna Leyden and Jane’s brother Frank. Nollaig Casey also joined them for Jane’s song ‘Silverbridge’. Len Graham then finished the 1st half with a superb set. The second half of the night saw Neil’s guitar-hero and great friend, Arty McGlynn gracing the stage with his wife Nollaig Casey, delighting the audience with their virtuoso playing. And no better folk to round off a perfect evening of celebration and reminiscence than the wonderful Sands Family, casting their gentle spell over us all. A night to treasure. Throughout the evening, Maurice and Jane read extracts from Neil’s 860 folk-columns, making him very present. Maurice and Jane were delighted that Neil’s widow Myrtle, his daughter Catherine and 14 members of their extended family came along to celebrate with Neil’s many friends in folk-music.
For over forty years Neil Johnston was a reporter and feature writer for the Belfast Telegraph. In 1976 he reviewed Leo Rowsome’s LP Classics of Irish Piping and found himself “struck by the beauty and starkness of Irish music and song that was on my own doorstep.” The die was cast, and he began a music column in the Belfast Telegraph celebrating the local folk and traditional music scene, during some of the darkest years of the Troubles. At The Duncairn, Arty McGlynn and Nollaig Casey will headline this evening of music to remember Neil, alongside the Sands Family, Len Graham, Maurice Leyden, Sean Donnelly, and Jane and Frank Cassidy. https://www.theduncairn.com/events/2019/2/9/neil-johnston
Jane and Maurice are delighted to be performing songs of Co. Down as part of the ‘Journey of a Single Day V1’ celebrating the life and legacy of Columbanus at Bangor Abbey. See flier for where to get tickets. Journey of a Single Day 2018 flyer (2)
Thomas Russell, ‘The man from God knows where’ was the Gaol’s most famous prisoner. Executed at the door in 1803 and buried in Downpatrick, he was a centrally important figure in the foundation of the Society of United Irishmen. Folk-singers, writers & broadcasters, Jane Cassidy and Maurice Leyden, tell the story of this remarkable man, through eye-witness accounts of his life and times, extracts from Russell’s diary, woven together with local traditional songs, expressing the drama and pathos of that ‘time of the hurry’. http://www.downcountymuseum.com/What-s-On Tickets £8 (concessions available)