An ensemble of five young traditional Irish musicians from this area represented Music Generation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Tuesday as Mary Robinson (Chair of The Elders), António Guterres (UN Secretary General) and Bono (co-founder of the ONE Campaign) took part in the Irish Government’s launch of ‘Drive For Five’, a global call to action for the education of adolescent girls.
The five young musicians – Kerrianne McCardle (Flute); Evelyn McCaul (Harp); Saoirse McGahern (Bodhrán); Iarla McMahon (Uilleann Pipes) and Kim Poole (Fiddle) – originally came together through their membership of ‘Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra’, a collaborative initiative between Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ireland’s north-east region based at The Oriel Centre at Dundalk Gaol.
Together with members of the UN Choir and the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus – a choir of immigrant and refugee girls based in Portland, Maine – their performance rounded out this high profile launch event, which 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.
Commenting on their experience after the event, the young musicians said: ‘We had the most amazing experience yesterday 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.’
Each of the five young people, ranging in age from 15-17, has previously been involved in various music programmes and initiatives led by Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann at The Oriel Centre, including Nós Nua. 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.