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 Post subject: CD Celebrating 400 years of Coal Mining in Arigna, Ireland
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 7:43 am 

Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:34 am
Posts: 1
Location: Co Roscommon Ireland
Scars on the Mountain is a new CD by Colin Beggan and Frank Molloy with special guest Eleanor Shanley

Celebrating four hundred years of mining in the Arigna valley in music and song, this new CD is the culmination of two years work by Colin and Frank in Arigna under Roscommon County Council’s Artists in Residence and Public Art programme with the support of the Arts Council.

During the residency Colin and Frank conducted a programme of workshops, meetings and one-to-one interviews with people and groups in the Arigna region along with a short-term residency in Arigna National School, all with a view to collecting stories and impressions of different aspects of the mining tradition of the Arigna region of North Roscommon and South Leitrim. This culminated in the writing of ten new songs and three new tunes which were recorded by Colin and Frank along with Eleanor Shanley (vocals) Paul Kelly (fiddle, mandolin, and banjo), David Knight (guitar), James Wickham (accordion), Sven Paetz (bouzouki and harmonica), Franjo Reld (bodhran) and Tim Kearns (Bass).

As part of the project, each of the closest five hundred households around Arigna village will receive a free copy of the CD where it can then be enjoyed in each home by family and friends.

In contrast to other countries, the mining tradition in Ireland didn’t make its way into folklore and music very much until now. This is in sharp contrast to say the American or English contexts where a rich repertoire of poetry, music and song has recorded and archived the experiences of mining communities and their working lives. Scars on the Mountain addresses this imbalance and brings the stories and folklore of Arigna to the fore.

The region has a long tradition of mining dating back to the 1600’s when Charles Coote established an iron works there. While the last iron works closed in 1838, coal mining continued to provide employment. For a time Arigna was a relatively affluent area through times of extreme poverty elsewhere, because of the constant availability of employment. Over the next 150 years coal was used to heat homes and hospitals, and to power steam engines. The ESB opened the coal fired Arigna Power Station in 1958, the first major power generating station in Connacht. But through the next decades the higher grade reserves of coal became depleted and other forms of power generation came on stream. By the 1980’s, the winding down of the Power Station commenced and in 1990 the mines closed for the final time. With almost every family in Arigna dependant on the income from the mine, the blow to the community was significant.

The opening of the Arigna Mining Experience in 2003 is an indication of the determination and passion within this community to preserve a history which had meant so much for so many generations. This new CD will be yet another source of considerable local interest and pride. The project is of course all that more significant for all the members of the community young and old who have been the sounding board, the inspiration and the motivation behind the work and played a part in its creation.

Scars on the Mountain will of course be available to purchase from the usual local outlets as well as over the internet from A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each CD go towards a traditional arts development fund for the Arigna and North Roscommon region, thus creating a momentum for increasingly innovative projects and participation in the traditional arts in the area.

For further information please contact Maureen Carty on 0035371 96 68063, or email

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