New CD and Book CD and book High Hills of Largy: Compositions of Fermanagh Fiddler Sean Nugent
The official CD and book launch of the High Hills of Largy: Compositions of Sean Nugent will kick off on Friday 23rd November at 8 p.m. in the Higher Bridges Gallery at the Clinton Centre, Enniskillen. The CD is a celebration of the late Sean Nugent a man whose life was immersed in the best of Irish Traditional music: a feast for traditional music lovers and a chance for a glimpse of the artists live and in full-flow.
The idea to bring the compositions of my father together came from my involvement with Fermanagh Traditional Music Society. This gave me the inspiration and Cyril Maguire, of the Society, gave me the support necessary to publish my father’s music. Catherine Mc Laughlin née Nugent who worked alongside the Fermanagh Music Socity to develop the project speaks of the history and her involvement in the production of the wonderful collection of tunes.
Sean Nugent was born in the townland of Kildrum, Dromore, Co. Tyrone but lived most of his life in Lack, Co. Fermanagh. He received rudimentary instrucyion at an early age from his mother, Minnie, a sister of the celebrated bard, Felix Kearney. Sean played and kept music alive in Ulster for decades. His individual prowess was rewarded in 1978 when he won the All-Ireland Fiddle Competition at Fleadh Ceoil na hÉireann in Listowel. He toured the USA and Britain with Comhaltas Ceooltóirí Éireann in 1979. In addition, to his own achievements Sean led the Pride of Erin Ceili Band for several decades. They recorded two albums Harvest Time in Ireland and the Fermanagh Ceili and won much acclaim on the ceili band scene. To their credit, they also achieved two All—Ireland Titles in 1983 in Kilkenny and in 1985 in Listowel.
Sean is remembered as a devoted teacher of traditional music. He derived much pleasure and a sense of achievement from the instruction of others. He had classes in Dromore, Irvinestown, Ederney, Aghyaran and Tempo as well as many pupils who came to his own home. He had several junior ceili bands which won many Ulster titles and an All-Ireland title in Sligo in 1989.
Sean began composing music later in life. His fond affection for the people and places of his locality are reflected in his compositions. Fittingly, this new album is called the High Hills of Largy where Sean spent most of his life. The CD and accompanying book of Sean’s music will enhance the repertoire of many musicians. The CD features Sean’s son, Laurence, on flute, his daughter, Catherine, singing a song and his granddaughter, Áine Nugent, on fiddle. Gerry O’Connor from Dundalk produced the album. Gerry has been playing and teaching music all his life. He is a renowned fiddle player and his latest album, Journeyman, has received international acclaim. Fiddle playing can be traced back four generations in his family. A number of very talented musicians join him on the album: Brian McGrath [banjo and piano], Cathal McConnell [flute], Tony Smith [fiddle], Pat McManus [guitar] and Fintan McManus [bouzouki] as well as some of Sean’s past pupils: Brenda McCann [fiddle], Annette Owens [accordion], Aidan O’Neill [concertina], Catherine Dunne [accordion and fiddle], Janette Durnion [fiddle] and Aisling McPhillips [flute].
The first track on the album was recorded on Laurence Nugent’s first CD a few months before Sean passed away in 1996. With Sean Nugent [fiddle], Laurence Nugent [flute] and Arty McGlynn, a cousin of Sean’s [guitar] playing the Mossy Banks and the title tune, The High Hills of Largy. The CD and book will be officially lauched by the ever-popular radio presenter and singer-songwriter Tommy Sands. The launch is free to the general public and CDs & books will be on sale on the night. Further details are available from firstname.lastname@example.org and the Arts Office at Fermanagh District Council at 02866325050.
Sean was one of the Greats
Editor’s note from Treoir magazine Spring 1998
Sean Nugent was one of the ‘greats’ of the Irish traditional music movement. With his beloved Pride of Erin Céilí Band, he was a regular competitor for over 20 years at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. When the band won the All-Ireland it was obvious that it was one of the most popular results in Fleadh history. This, in many ways, was a tribute to Sean himself who epitomised all that was best and noble in the competitive world of native Irish music.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal.
Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú
Director General Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann