Date: 4–11 Sep 2020
Cost: €660. Early Bird before Dec 1st €610
Details: Arrive from 4-6pm on the first evening Depart after breakfast on the final day
Location: The Song House, Falcarragh, Co Donegal
Contact details: 00353858893154
Have you been singing in choirs for a few years now, and want to challenge yourself?
I am very excited to introduce you to Lindsey Williams, who will be co-teaching some of the songs with me for this holiday. Over the last few years, Lindsey and I have collaborated in writing songs together. She is a very talented song writer and playwright. I make choral arrangements of her songs, and we have had great success teaching them to groups around Europe. We wrote a book together in 2017, and you can hear some of the songs on my personal website.
This singing holiday will be for singers with some experience: here’s your opportunity to challenge yourself, to really work on some pieces, and improve your choral sound too. We will be singing several of Lindsey’s songs. They are gorgeous!
You still don’t have to read music- still a relaxed atmosphere. We will learn by ear, but I will also supply music for those who prefer this.
Singing on the Wild Side is about the singing, but much more too. Over the week, our own little community will build, seed new friendships, connect to local people, explore the natural vibrant beauty surrounding us. So if you like singing, wilderness, a sense of adventure, meeting other interesting folk and returning home feeling refreshed, invigorated and in tune, then join us here.
The Song House/ Teach na nAmhrán
After running singing holidays in wild places successfully for many years, 5 years ago the chance came my way to put down roots and establish a centre in Donegal. The Song House is a centre for singing and other activities, which fit with the guiding principles of community, harmony and valuing the natural world.
Formerly known as the Poets’ House, the centre was well-known in literary circles, with Seamus Heaney a frequent visitor. Now, in its new incarnation as The Song House, I am delighted that the creative spirit of the house will be continued and enhanced.
Why Donegal? In short, the landscape, the people, the music. The landscape here on the Wild Atlantic Way is quite stunning, constantly changing in response to shifts in the light, miles of empty sandy beaches as well as the iconic mountains of Errigal and Muckish as a backdrop to every view. All bedrooms in the Song House, as well as the spacious singing room, look out onto Muckish mountain, arising majestically from the sweeping boglands. Falcarragh lies within the Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking areas of Ireland, so you are likely to hear Irish being spoken by many local residents. There are weekly music sessions in many local pubs.
Things to do in the area
The area of Donegal around Falcarragh is steeped in archaeological and historical interest and Celtic spirituality, as well as a unique concentration of spectacular sandy beaches and mountains. It is a walker’s paradise. Ards Forest Park with its many stunning nature trails, Glenveagh National park, Muckish mountain (Irish for hog’s back) are all close by. It is in the Gaeltacht so Irish is regularly spoken. There are 5 expansive sandy beaches within 7 miles drive of The Song House, and you can hire surfing equipment, or bicycles nearby.
Hill walking, golf, kayaking, swimming, rock climbing, cycling, hiking are all available in the surrounding area.
What songs will we sing?
Great songs! Songs from Ireland, the British Isles, the rich vein of traditional music from USA, and songs from many World music traditions. And always a new song by Candy, in collaboration with a local singer/songwriter, or with Lindsey Williams (together we have written a book of songs for choirs: Songs from Life). We will learn music by ear, no reading of music necessary, though I’m happy to provide written music to those who want it for more difficult pieces. We’ll go to sing in special places nearby – in an old church, out in nature. Sometimes we experiment with improvisation and singing games.
Pattern of the day
We sing for 3 hours every morning. The middle of each day will be free time to explore, do your own thing.
Most evenings we’ll eat together, then after a communal clear up (with more singing of course), we either have a visiting speaker or singer, or we sing, and create our own entertainment by sharing songs and making space for those who wish to share their talents, be they musical, storytelling or games.
Traditional culture in this area of Donegal is wonderfully vibrant, and we often invite local singers, poets, history or archeology experts to give us a session. There are several videos of Diane Cannon and Noeleen ní Cholla, both wonderful ‘seán-nós’ singers, singing at the Song House on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/songhousefalcarragh
Most music sessions in local pubs start at 10pm. We sometimes join in at a special session on a Tuesday evening.
The Song House has 3 twin bedrooms, 1 double, and 1 family room with a double bed, 2 bunk beds and 1 single.
There is also a B&B 100 yards up the road, which has single rooms.
*We are offering one place at half price to a young person who will act as housekeeper during the week.
There are several video testimonials on http://thesonghouseireland.com/singing-holidays/
- “You have put your heart and soul into this week to take us all on an extraordinary journey of discovery through song. It is difficult to find words to describe this unique and special experience which I am truly grateful for.” LW Kerry
- “Loved the singing. Was great to be back to it. Filled up my singing tank. Candy you make it so easy to learn and enjoyable. You have a fantastic skill which makes singing accessible to everyone. Thank you for sharing it.” ZG Northern Ireland April 2018
- “My highlights? Candy’s leadership. And I loved being part of the creation process of a new song, by a local singer songwriter- ‘Spread your Wings’ DD June 2018
- “Coming back to Donegal and the Song House was what my soul needed, it filled me with a feeling of connection with nature, with humanity as well as with myself.” AB India 2019
- “Thank you from the bottom of my heart and renewed soul for the most wonderful week where through your most special guidance, generosity and hospitality singing has given me so much more than I expected or could have imagined.” RG Dublin 2019