McDonnell's Traditional Irish Music Slow Session

March – May 2016

Photographs of our Monday night slow sessions at the Corkman Irish Pub.



Tablet accordion app

Practice and play a musical instrument on your tablet and smart phone.

Just when you thought that the new smart phones and tablets had reached their pinnacle of usefulness along comes some pretty impressive applications that allow you to play many Celtic musical instruments including bagpipes, accordions, guitars, drums, flutes, whistles and even concertinas on our portable electronic devices.  I suggest that you look at Michael Eskin’s website on Traditional Music Instrument Apps which demonstrates the current state of the art in smart phone and tablet musical instruments.  They are only going to get better in the future. The current apps are very limited and are typically a far cry from the real instruments we love playing, but in a strange way they feel familiar in the hand and to the ear.  Because they are really inexpensive (the app not the tablet or phone) compared to the real thing, they allow players to try different instruments or carry a practice one to the park, school or work in order to play tunes any time you feel the urge, especially when you wear headphones.  I suspect we will see more smart phone and tablet bands as well as more events using these instruments at folk festivals in the future.  Maybe it will stimulate our kids to play musical instruments and not just games. If you want to impress your family, friends or fellow commuters, I highly recommend mastering a few tunes on your smart phone or tablet instrument and share the fun.

My Ireland Vol 1 book cover

Tony O’Rourke has published a book entitled ‘My Ireland Vol.1’ that includes a collection of 101 Irish tunes with sheet music and guitar chords.  Tony sent me this note which I would like to share with you: ‘The title of the book is “My Ireland Vol.1”. It contains 101 Irish tunes and comes with a CD in MP3 format of each tune played through twice at a moderate tempo. I recorded each tune on my new Clareen Banjo and there is overdubbed guitar accompaniment. The playing of the tunes adheres strictly to the sheet music as I wanted this to be a reference book rather than a concert, and the sheet music contains guitar chords.  The books are for sale for $20 + $5 postage. To get more information or purchase the book send an email by clicking on Tony O’Rourke   Click here to download example of sheet music Christmas Eve & Coalminer’s Reel MP3 of Coalminer’s Reel


He has put up around 18 really good videos of him playing some lovely irish tunes on the banjo and guitar. Great for musicians interested in learning new tunes.


aon celtic clip6_39

Celtic Music


11-14 March 2016 Port Fairy Folk Festival. One of the most highly regarded folk festivals in Australia. Lots of great performers this year including celtic musicians The Barleyshakes, The BordererS, Claymore, Dalriada, The East Pointers, Luka Bloom, Mànran, Mary Black, Moxie, The Rambling Boys, The Rumjacks, Shooglenifty and Tony McManus & Beppe Gambetta. The festival is just loaded with a diversity of high quality performers from Australia and around the world. Check out their website:

15-20 March 2016. Brunswick Music Festival.  This is always a very high quality musical extravaganza for Melbourne.  Celtic related performances you may want to consider include: Tony McManus and Beppe Gambetta, Moxie, Spiro, Mànran, Shooglenifty, Zeon, Shane Howard Trio, and Melbourne’s own Saoirse.  For additional information go to their website

24-28 Mar 2016 National Folk Festival Exhibition Park in Canberra, The National Festival is huge and has something for everyone.  This year there is an amazing number of International and Australian Celtic musicians performing including: Black Market Tune, Cloudstreet,  Colum Sands, Coolfin Mac, Dave Oakes, Mànran, Siobhan Owen, Tony McManus and Beppe Gambetta, Vishten, Ballyhooley, The Freewheeler, The Rambling Boys, Sasta and  Ciaran O’Grady, Aifric Boylan & Graeme Newell,. For additional information check out their website: