House party tour aims to revive unique Irish tradition

A great but dying Irish tradition comes to life when Gerry Nolan brings The Irish House Party to Horsham’s Capitol on Wednesday, October 28.

“We have been doing the show for a number of years around the UK, and it’s all about traditional Irish music and dance.

“It’s a great line-up with All Ireland Champion musicians, and we have got a girl who was in River Dance.

“It’s like a variety show really. The whole concept is based on the Irish house party idea, which was a very popular and common social occasion back in the days before TVs and computers, especially in rural Ireland.

“People would come from miles around to a neighbour’s house and have some food, and then later on the musicians would start to arrive, and the furniture would be pushed back and the dancing would start, and the whole thing could go on for days.

“It doesn’t go on nearly so much nowadays, but in my parents’ time and more so in my grandparents’ time, it was a big thing and would have been much more common. We got the idea for the show really just talking to the older generations. It is not so frequent now, which is a shame.”

But Gerry and the team are doing their best to revive it: “We have toned it down a little for the theatre, though. It won’t go on for days, and also you could find that hundreds of people would turn up, with people coming and going. We have turned it into a two-hour show with an interval, but we have tried to capture all the fun and the excitement of it all. There is story-telling and variety and great music and everything that could interest a crowd.”

Gerry brings to it all plenty of experience.

He was born in County Carlow but currently lives in Dublin. He is classically trained having completed all grades in pianoforte at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, after which he went on to complete a science degree at University College Dublin and a post graduate diploma at Trinity College.

Gerry fronted two trad rock bands while he was in college, Johnny Jump Up and Sé. He went on to tour extensively in Ireland and the USA; his musical collaborations range from UK pop band The Wanted to traditional music legend Paddy Keenan (Bothy Band).

Gerry is the lead singer and guitar player with The Irish House Party. He is also one of the founding members of the show. Gerry also plays in the Temple bar in Dublin with traditional music group Flór.

“I am the host for The Irish House Party. I co-ordinate everything. I do a lot of the links between the different parts and introduce people. Another guy and I devised the show. We have both been around the music scene for a long time. Most of the material was just around. We knew a lot of folk songs and tunes, and we just did a bit of research, just talking to the older generations, trawling through stuff on YouTube and so on. We put it together seven or eight years ago, and it does change. We change it every year to keep it fresh.”

Call 01403 750220.

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