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Press Release from Susan McKeown;

The second Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara, which features performances by internationally-recognized Irish poets and musicians, will be held between 3 and 5 o’clock on August 30 2009 on the Hill of Tara. Those taking part are Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Susan McKeown, Laoise Kelly, and Aidan Brennan.

While the Hill of Tara has become something of a contested spot, symbolizing for some less the sacred site where ancient Ireland crowned its kings than the desecrated site where modern Ireland gave in to crass consumerism and, as it were, drowned in things, the note the organizers hope to strike is not one of confrontation but celebration. It’s a celebration of the continuity of the linked traditions of Irish poetry and music, traditions that have almost certainly flourished here since at least 2000 BC.

Following an appearance last year by Seamus Heaney, the headlining poet this year is Michael Longley, the esteemed Belfast-based author who has always taken a particular interest not only in the flora and fauna of Ireland but its folklore and mythology. While he studied Classics at TCD, Michael Longley is capable of writing as movingly about Medbh and the Grey of Macha as about Menelaus and Mycenae. Among his many awards are the Whitbread Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, The Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Prize. The author of 8 full-length collections, his Collected Poems was published by Jonathan Cape in 2006.

Also reading poetry will be Paul Muldoon, the Armagh-born, US-based, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. While he has been vocal in the Campaign to Save Tara, Paul Muldoon will confine himself on this occasion to reading from some of his 10 full-length collections of poems.

The musical component of Feis Teamhra: A Turn at Tara is headlined by Susan McKeown, the Dublin-born, US-based, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who has released more than 10 CDs. The passion and precision of her singing have led her to work with, among others, Natalie Merchant, Linda Thompson, Pete Seeger, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Billy Bragg, Arlo Guthrie, Andy Irvine, Flook, Lunasa, Johnny Cunningham, and the Klezmatics.

The other musicians featured this year at Feis Teamhra are Aidan Brennan and Laoise Kelly. Aidan Brennan is a virtuoso guitarist who has worked not only with Susan McKeown (Sweet Liberty, 2004), but Kevin Burke (Kevin Burke in Concert, 1999) and Loreena McKennitt (Book of Secrets, 1997, and Midwinter Night’s Dream, 2008.) Born in Dublin, Aidan Brennan now lives in County Laois. Laoise Kelly, generally considered to be the foremost Irish harper, was born in Mayo and lives there still. The Irish Times has described her as “a young harpist with the disposition of an iconoclast and the talent and technique of a virtuoso.” In addition to her own CD (Just Harp, 2000), Laoise Kelly has worked with Sharon Shannon, The Chieftains, Natalie MacMaster, Sinead O’Connor, Kate Bush and Bill Whelan.

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