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Cream of the Traditional Music crop for Tunes In The Church

Judy Murphy

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Emma O'Sullivan who is organising traditional music concerts at Tunes In The Church

Spend any length of time in Galway City Centre these days and it’s likely you’ll be brought to a halt by the crowds around Evergreen Health Shop on Mainguard Street watching the nimble Emma O’Sullivan display her sean-nós dancing skills, accompanied by live traditional music.

Emma’s street performance serves as an unparalleled advertisement for Tunes in the Church, a summer-long series of traditional concerts being held in St Nicholas’s Collegiate Church in which the Renvyle dancer plays a key role.

Tunes in the Church, featuring the cream of Ireland’s musicians, was set up some years ago in Galway by Kerry musician Cormac Begley to give audiences and performers a chance to interact in a non-pub, non-session environment.

The venue was the medieval St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church and that still the base. Cormac has since moved to Dublin and now runs Tunes in the Church there at the Unitarian Church on Stephen’s Green, while Emma and Christopher Place have taken responsibility for running the Galway concerts.

Emma is a sublime dancer, whose warm personality comes through in her performances, and who has won awards all over the place, but she laughs as she says she didn’t start dancing until she was 20, when she was studying for a Business and Marketing degree at GMIT.

At the time, she was dating a sean-nós dancer who was so committed to his work that all of their dates were scheduled around his performances and practices.

Emma had grown up in a family steeped in traditional music and dancing and while she had learned neither, she realised when watching her then boyfriend that she had an instinctive feel for sean-nós dancing.

“Something clicked,” she recalls.

“Every step he was doing, I could almost predict what was coming up next. I just got the language.”

Tunes In The Church is running in the city from Monday to Friday throughout July, and seven nights a week in August.

Some of the 100 guest musicians taking part this year include harpists Laoise Kelly and Kathleen Loughnane, flute players Harry Bradley and Gary Hastings, accordion players Brendan Begley, Andrew McNamara and Colm Gannon, singer Niamh Parsons, uilleann pipers Tommy Keane, Maitiú Ó Casaide and Cormac Cannon, and concertina players Cormac Begley and Jacqueline McCarthy. That’s just a sample of the talent.

Each session is broken into two halves, with a core group taking part in the first half.

They include 22-year-old Clarinbridge accordion player Conor Connolly “who is gifted and has an old head”, says Emma. He has a lot of tunes from South and East Galway and is able to put these in context for the audience, being a natural storyteller, she adds. Similarly, with harpist Úna Ní Fhlanagáin, who has a background in music education.

The numbers attending Tunes in the Church this year are up on last summer with a mix of foreign and Irish tourists. Emma describes Tunes in the Church as an evening of “amazing music, fully acoustic, in a relaxed, zen-like atmosphere”, and says it’s a chance to engage with “the cream of the crop” in a unique way.

Tickets are €15 per person and include a tour of the historic medieval church.

Fore more about Tunes In The Church see this week’s Galway City Tribune digital edition here or download our app.

CITY TRIBUNE

Branar adapt Rockin’ Rhymes for classroom setting

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Branar adapt Rockin’ Rhymes for classroom setting

Rockin’ Rhymes, the hit musical from Galway theatre company, Branar, was due to be revived for a tour of Irish schools this autumn. However, that can’t happen now.

Instead, it’s getting a new outing as a multi-platform show that’s being made available to schools throughout Galway, Mayo and Limerick

Branar has joined forces with The Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar and Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre to create Rockin’ the Classroom, a project that’s designed for children from Junior Infants to Second Class.

Performed by a band of five musicians, this is a rock-n-roll adventure, featuring well-loved nursery rhymes which Branar has reimagined in funk, pop and rock stylings.

The show offers children and teachers an opportunity to explore these classic rhymes in a fresh context, while they learn about making music.

The project hopes to inspire children to create their own rocking rhymes, explains Marc Mac Lochlainn of Branar, who adds “we really miss performing for children”.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Covid caution pays off for Arts Festival

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Plans to site the Mirror Pavilion to Derrigimlagh Bog outside Clifden have now been deferred until March 2021.

The Mirror Pavilion art installation which was visited by over 120,000 people when it was displayed at the Claddagh during Galway International Arts Festival’s autumn programme will not be moving out to a Connemara location this month, despite earlier plans that it would.

The striking structure by world-renowned artist, John Gerrard, was due to be located at Derrigimlagh Bog outside Clifden in October but that plan has now been shelved until March, due to current Covid 19 restrictions.

The shiny cube which depicts an image on an LED wall 24 hours a day was a popular attraction while it was exhibited at Claddagh Quay last month. Images of it were circulated around the world, mostly on various social media platforms.

It was dismantled after September 26 and was due to move to Connemara, to the site where Alcock and Brown completed the first trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 and also the transmission site for the first trans-Atlantic radio signal from the Marconi station in 1907.

The installation, which was commissioned especially for Galway’s European Capital of Culture 2020 programme, was to be situated in Connemara for most of this month.

However, the Artistic Director of GIAF, Paul Fahy, told The Connacht Tribune that, some weeks ago, the Festival organisers had discussed the possibility of postponing it because of rising Covid-19 cases at home and abroad

“There was no point in going ahead with the Connemara installation in light of us going into Level 3, when the country’s population was in lockdown and couldn’t come into the county to see it, not to mention travel restrictions on other countries stopping them coming to Ireland,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Away with the Fairies – a spooky Halloween treat

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In recent years, Halloween in Ireland has become all about the imported American tradition of Trick or Treat – which may have, in a simpler form, originated in this country, according to experts.

But with Tricking and Treating off the menu for this year, it might be time to return to more traditional Irish traditions.

There’s no better place to start with fairy and ghost stories and these can be found in abundance in the latest book from city historian, William Henry.

Away with the Fairies, which is now in the shops, contains some 50 stories and tales gathered from across Galway, City and County, that have entertained countless generations.

“Ireland really is the heart of a supernatural tradition and some of its most famous manifestations include the Banshee, Cóiste Bodhar, Pooka, Leprechaun and the Fairies,” explains William.

“The stories and beliefs surrounding these characters formed part of everyday life for people long ago,” he adds. And it wasn’t so long ago either.

Introducing the stories, Mike Glynn, former editor of the Galway City Tribune, points out that in an era before rural electrification, “the sounds and movements of the night were truly frightening when there were only candles and crude lamps to cast limited light”.

Rural electrification only happened in the mid-20th century, which in the broad scope of history, is merely the blink of an eye.

William opens the book by introducing the reader to Ireland’s main fairy characters and this sets the scene for the extraordinary tales that follow.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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