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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.

Connacht Tribune

Live album looks after those who make it real

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Mick Flannery….album for the crew.

Anyone who has seen Mick Flannery play live will know that the Corkman doesn’t embrace the spotlight with both arms. There is a sincerity to what he does – his reluctance to operate as any sort of frontman is only outweighed by passion for his craft.

His shows are intimate and they’re backed up by a studio-quality sound and a genuine engagement between artist and audience. It is what happens when someone who doesn’t like talking about themselves ends up pouring their heart out on stage.

It is fitting, then, that Mick’s new album revolves around the people around him. All of the proceeds for Alive – Cork Opera House 2019, the singer-songwriter’s first live LP, will be shared among members of his band and crew who have lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a major gesture from a modest talent and Mick is quick to point out that the album reflects just how much he owes to those that share his stage.

“I’m glad that it’s there as a tribute to them,” he says of the album. “I think Alan Comerford had a great gig that night on electric guitar with the solos that he played. Matthew Berrill was on the brass and he did some lovely stuff.

“There’s a few of the lads in the band who have music as their sole income. It’s not always easy to do that. It’s constantly booking gigs in bars around the place and that but it’s what they do and it’s what they have a passion for. They’ve worked hard to do what they love for a living and now these circumstances have taken that away.

“I have a kind of area to pivot – I can start writing songs and preparing albums whereas for the crew, without the live gigs their skillset is not being used at all… Lighting engineers and sound engineers, riggers, people that have built up PA companies over the years and small venues as well.”

For full interview, 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

Connecting children with classical music

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Connecting Kids with ConTempo is a four-week initiative designed to help children engage with classical music in a fun and creative way.

Beginning this Friday at 11am, the scheme, which is being run by the Galway Music Residency (GMR) will run over four Fridays.

The Galway Music Residency will release a video each week which will feature a short performance by ConTempo Quartet with an educational introduction. These videos will explore different aspects of classical music, from the composition of a string quartet to understanding a waltz.

The children will be asked to listen to the music on each video, with specific questions in mind and are then invited to respond creatively to ConTempo’s performance. They can do this through art, writing or anything else that comes naturally to them.

The children’s creations can be sent to GMR and will be displayed on its social media and website.

Connecting Kids with ConTempo is geared primarily at primary school children, but young people of all ages are encouraged to enjoy these beautiful performances and delve a little deeper into the listening experience, explains the General Manager of Galway Music Residency Maeve Bryan.

Connecting Kids with ConTempo can be found on GMR’s Facebook page (@thegalwaymusicresidency) or YouTube Channel (The Galway Music Residency).

It will take place this Friday, July 31, Friday, August 11, Friday, August 14 and Friday August 21, at 11am each day.

Participation is free, but donations are welcome and, according to Maeve, will help GMR to create more online educational content in these difficult times.

Donations can be made on individual Facebook posts or via www.galwaymusicresidency.ie.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Artist collective, Theatre57 now open to new members

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Theatre-maker Róisín Stack, one of the founders of Theatre57.

Theatre57, the Galway theatre collective that launched last year with 57 members and now has more than 90, is currently inviting new people to join.

The group, which acts as a point of contact and an advocate for independent members of the Galway theatre community, is welcoming new and existing members. Performers, producers, directors, designers, technicians, playwrights and those who are pursuing a career in professional theatre outside of a regularly funded organisation are welcome to apply. Members must be making theatre in Galway city or county.

Theatre57’s main aim is the establishment of a hub for theatre-makers where creative and professional development can be nurtured.

The group’s members point out that while other cities such as Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Belfast and Dublin have these spaces, Galway does not. They believe that having such a space would allow people in the business to share their knowledge and would encourage professional and creative excellence. The result would be a stronger and more diverse theatre community throughout Galway.

Theatre57 “believes in creative autonomy, the spirit of co-operation and the power of community”, according to a spokesperson for the group who quotes the Irish-language statement ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ which translates as ‘there is strength in numbers’.

The group has had a busy and productive 2020, liaising between and advocating for self-employed members of Galway theatre community, many of whose livelihoods have been seriously affected by Covid-19.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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