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Thursday, 13th February 2020

Young Louth musicians play the gig of their lives at UN

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Music Generation Young Ambassadors pictured with Bono following their performance at the Irish Government's launch of The Drive For Five in the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Photo: Kim Haughton.

Five young musicians from the Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann  inspired ‘Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra’, played the gig of their young lives on Tuesday night at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City.

Among the audience were such luminaries as former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, the UN Secretary General António Guterres and Bono.

Their performance was the finale of the high profile launch of the Irish Government’s launch of ‘The Drive For Five’, a global call to action for the education of adolescent girls.

The event was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ireland.  Already the response to The Drive For Five campaign has been significant, receiving support from nations worldwide.

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Irish Ambassador to the UN, Drogheda woman Geraldine Byrne Nason, introduced the young musicians before an audience of some 500 guests.

The Music Generation ‘Young Ambassadors’ performed a rendition of Seothín Seó, a traditional Irish lullaby arranged by Music Generation National Director Rosaleen Molloy, followed by the well-known ballad You Raise Me Up, the lyrics of which were written by Irish songwriter Brendan Graham. The event was also live-streamed on UN Web TV - see video below (the orchestra comes in at about 1hour 40 minutes if you want to fast forward).

The five young musicians are: Kerrianne McCardle (Flute); Evelyn McCaul (Harp); Saoirse McGahern (Bodhrán); Iarla McMahon (Uilleann Pipes); and Kim Poole (Fiddle).

Commenting on their experience after the event, they said: “We had the most amazing experience at the United Nations. It was an honour for us to represent Ireland and the young people of the world in advocating for every child and young person to have access to education. We are very grateful to everyone who made this possible for us, we will never forget.”

Ranging in age from 15-17, each of the five young people has previously been involved in various music programmes and initiatives led by Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.

Established in 2017, the 57-member Nós Nua Youth Folk Orchestra has previously performed at the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras in the National Concert Hall and at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The Orchestra has been featured on Fleadh TV and later this year it will perform brand new music commissioned for them by previous BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year, Mohsen Amini, funded by the Arts Council Young Ensembles Scheme.

Bono and Mary Robinson in the audience on Tuesday night at the UN in New York. On left is the Irish Ambassador to the UN, Drogheda woman Geraldine Byrne Nason.

Music Generation is Ireland’s national music education programme, initiated by Music Network and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. Currently the programme reaches 25 areas of Ireland, creating some 42,500 opportunities annually for children and young people to engage in high quality, subsidised vocal and instrumental tuition with 350+ professional musician educators. In Louth, Music Generation is led by Louth and Meath Education and Training Board with support from Create Louth and Dundalk IT.

The Drive For Five campaign calls for governments to commit to five transformative actions to get all adolescent girls into schools. The campaign was launched on Tuesday with partners including the ONE Campaign, the Global Partnership for Education and UN Women. Its aim is to put a spotlight on adolescent girls’ education and to launch a movement that will provide them with quality, relevant education in supportive, safe and healthy environments.

Music Generation Young Ambassadors playing at the UN on Tuesday.

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