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Celebrating human voice – and nightclub culture

Judy Murphy

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Plane sailing: Soprano Rachel Croash and Music for Galway Artistic Director Finghin Collins take to the air ahead of the launch of Music for Galway's new season 'On wings of song' at the Meyrick Hotel on Monday evening. Photo: Andrew Downes.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Success brings its own challenges – and these are challenges Music for Galway is only too happy to embrace as the group builds on its 2014-15 season, which saw audiences double and sponsorship increase significantly.

Only three years ago, Music for Galway, which was set up in 1981 to nurture classical music in Galway, was fearful for its very survival.

Its 2015-16 season, launched this week, sees an expanded programme with several new strands – something members could have only dreamed about a couple of years ago when pianist Finghin Collins took over as Artistic Director.

This year’s season, On wings of song is dedicated to the human voice, in a similar manner to last year’s successful Cellisimo season, which brought the cello centre stage.

“On wings of song will show the variety of the human voice in a variety of contexts,” says Finghin Collins, adding that different concerts will feature singers performing with a string quartet, with a piano, in oratorios, in opera and with orchestras.

“This will show the richness of poetry that comes with the voice, moving and touching us in a unique way,” he says. “We have an amazing vocal tradition in Ireland and a special relationship with the voice, through sean-nós and traditional singing.”

More recently, Ireland has produced world-class opera singers such as Anne Murray, Cara O’Sullivan and Celine Byrne.

As an acclaimed pianist, Finghin performs at events and festivals all over the world and many of the singers in this year’s programme are people he has met and been impressed with on his travels. They include Dutch baritone Henk Neven, accompanied by Han Eijsakers on piano, both of whom who will make will make their Irish debut in Galway in February

“I want to bring new names to Galway and to Ireland,” explains Finghin.

He’s also working to attract new audiences. Music for Galway Goes Clubbing, being staged in the City’s trendy Electric Garden venue will feature German soprano Salome Kammer singing songs by Kurt Weill, accompanied by the Vogler Quartet who will also perform music from Hayden and Schulhoff. That show, in April, will also include late-night dancing, with music from guest DJs.

This year’s Music for Galway season begins on Thursday, September 10, with Handel’s Agrippina, one of his earlier operas. The Irish Youth Orchestra production, in English, will be at the Black Box in a co-production with Northern Irish Opera and Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Irish talent will be to the fore again on November 4, when mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, accompanied by pianist Dearbhla Collins, will perform songs by Dvorak, Brahms, Wolf, Copland, Mahler and Britten at the Aula Maxima, NUIG.

Music for Galway expanded programme this year includes two new strands, the Orchestral Series and the Lunchtime Series. These have been made possible thanks to sponsorship from Stewart Construction and the software company SAP.

There will be six concerts in Lunchtime Series, taking place throughout the year at Hotel Meyrick.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Charting the changes in how we use language

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Not many people these days would be able to point out a ‘collya’ in the Claddagh. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Galway Heritage with Peadar O’Dowd

Nearly three years ago, one of my columns appeared under the heading, ‘Words Are a Crucial Part of Our Heritage’.  The passing of time has only served to highlight the importance of this.  Not surprisingly, as 2020 closed to the disconcerting sound of fireworks going off across Galway City, the lack of clarity around words only added to the hardship and confusion already suffered by the population during the unforgettable first year of Covid, and all it entailed.  Some of the confusion came from issues around identifying the pandemic itself in its early stages, as well as naming it.

From its appearance at the start of the year, when it was classed as another virus to add to a long list that predated it, we seemed to have settled, initially at least, on calling it the Coronavirus, a title still it seems, much used in the USA.  We were told from ‘on high’ in that country that it would be over perhaps by Easter!  We in Ireland got to know the pandemic as Covid-19 – but even now, with new variations of the virus coming onstream, we may be off on the word game yet again.

More confusing were new words used in explaining its spread, such as ‘asymptomatic’, a mouthful, if ever there was one.  Then, there was the initial confusion about the usage of the words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, as given to describe the results of testing for Covid-19.   Normally, the former is the good thing and the latter the bad outcome, but not here.  Think of it!

As well, a whole plethora of unfamiliar words came into general use, such as ‘pandemic’ itself, (often pronounced ‘pendemic’ in the States), as well as ‘mitigation’, just to mention two.   Here in Ireland, where we have the ‘gift of the gab’, we were soon indulging in such delights as ‘staycations’, as well as ‘wet pubs’, and we even brought back ‘shebeens’ yet again into general conversation.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cake on the menu as popular Over the Edge series turns 18

Judy Murphy

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Poet and animal lover Kathryn Slattery.

The popular monthly open reading series, Over the Edge, marks its 18th year in existence this month and, in spite of the restrictions caused by Covid-19, there will be a celebration to mark this milestone.

The first ever Over the Edge: Open Reading took place in Galway City Library 18 years ago and that was its venue until March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced.

Since then, Over the Edge readings have taken place on Zoom, which is what will be happening for the 18th anniversary event, next Thursday, January 21, from 6-8pm when the Featured Readers will be Ciaran O’Rourke, Kathryn Slattery and Stephen McNulty.

There will be an online celebration and it may even involve cake, according to the event’s co-founder Kevin Higgins.

It will also be business as usual and the regular open-mic session will be held after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always especially welcome to take part in this, Kevin says.

The first of the Featured Readers is Stephen McNulty, a radiographer at Galway University Hospitals. A regular attendee of the poetry workshops that Kevin runs at Galway Arts Centre, Stephen’s poems have appeared in publications including  Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES and Vox Galvia. He is also an avid fan of Mayo football.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Poetry courses from Galway Arts Centre

Judy Murphy

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Kevin Higgins

Galway Arts Centre is offering aspiring poets a choice of three online poetry workshops, all beginning the week of Monday January 25.

They are being facilitated by Kevin Higgins, whose best-selling first collection, The Boy with No Face, published by Salmon Poetry, was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish poet. Kevin has published several books with Salmon in the intervening years and his next full collection, Ecstatic, is due from the County Clare based publisher this summer.

His work also appears in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe April 2014).

Kevin’s poems have appeared in journals and newspapers in Ireland and abroad and have been broadcast on RTÉ Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4, while he has read at events supported by the Arts Council and Culture Ireland in mainland Europe, the USA and Australia.

His workshops at Arts Centre will begin the week of Monday January 25, and be conducted via Zoom.

They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (starting Tuesday, January 26); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (starting Thursday, January 28) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (starting Friday, January 29).

Each week Kevin will give participants a poetry-writing exercise for the following week and will offer each person constructive suggestions about to how make their work as good as it can be.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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