Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
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|Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann|
|Formation||1951 (61 years ago)|
|Purpose/focus||Primarily the managing and promotion of Irish music and dance, also the promotion of Irish culture in general and the language.|
|Headquarters||Cultúrlann na hÉireann, Monkstown, County Dublin|
|Official languages||Irish language|
|Director General||Labhrás Ó Murchú|
|Staff||Limited full time staff|
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (Irish pronunciation: [kowal̪ˠt̪ˠsˠ coːl̪ˠt̪ˠoɾi ˈeːrʲən̪ˠ], meaning "Society of the Musicians of Ireland") is the primary Irish organisation dedicated to the promotion of the music, song, dance and the language of Ireland. The organisation was founded in 1951 and has promoted Irish music and culture among the Irish people and the Irish diaspora. Its current Director General is Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú. Today[when?] it has more than 400 branches worldwide, in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. Its total membership numbers some 75,000 people.
Comhaltas was founded in 1951 in Mullingar, County Westmeath by a group of traditional pipers who felt that the Irish musical tradition was in decline; it was initially named Cumann Ceoltóirí na hÉireann, changing to its present name in 1952. It was the most successful in a series of attempts around this time by lovers of Irish culture to revive the country's musical heritage and to publicise and bring it to a wider audience.
The aims and goals of Comhaltas were written at the organisation's foundation and have changed very little since:
- To promote Irish Traditional Music in all its forms
- To restore the playing of the Harp and Uilleann Pipes in the National life of Ireland
- To promote Irish Traditional Dancing
- To foster and promote the Irish language at all times
- To create a closer bond among all lovers of Irish music
- To co-operate with all bodies working for the restoration of Irish Culture
- To establish Branches throughout the country and abroad to achieve the foregoing aims and objects
Comhaltas is responsible for organising the annual national Irish music festival and competition called the Fleadh Cheoil. Usually held in August, the 2005 and 2006 events were held in Letterkenny, County Donegal, and the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Fleadheanna were held in Tullamore in County Offaly. Cavan Town was the host town for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Fleadhanna. Derry will host the 2013 All-Ireland Fleadh.
Many students of traditional music participate in the Scrúdu Ceol Tíre (SCT) programme, a graded system of 12 progressive exams emphasising performance and music theory. Teachers wishing to be certified in teaching Irish traditional music participate in the Teastais Teagaisc Cheol Tíre (TTCT) diploma course.
The North American "Province" includes over 40 branches in 7 regions. The province has an annual convention which moves to different cities. The 2012 Convention will be take place in St Louis, Missouri. Attended by over 1000 people, there are workshops in various facets of the culture, often given by world class performers, and many informal sessions. Competitors in North America can qualify to compete in the All-Ireland championships (Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann) by competing one of the two regions. The Mid Atlantic regional Fleadh covers the Eastern seaboard of U.S and Canada and the Midwest regional Fleadh covers everything else in North America.