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Debut album from Galway sextet My Fellow Sponges

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

Chances are you’ve never heard, or seen, a band like My Fellow Sponges a Galway sextet who launch their debut album, Bonne Nuit in the Róisín Dubh on Monday next, July 8.

My Fellow Sponges are Anna Mullarkey, Donal McConnon, Dave Shaughnessy, Sam Wright, Hazel Collins and Elva Carroll.

First things first – how did they come up with that peculiar name? “We had a gig coming up, and the guy running the venue said we had to come up with a name,” explains Anna, who sings and plays piano, as well as several other instruments. “We wanted to be called Oddsocks, or Bothering Goats, but then we were all hungover one day and my twin calls being hung-over ‘spongy’. So, we were fellow sponges!”

Dave Shaughnessy became a Sponge in March 2012. It’s fair to say he was thrown in at the deep end. “When I joined, it was like ‘we have a gig next week!’,” he laughs. “I had to learn all these crazy songs with time signatures. I’d been playing for years, but I’d only done a few gigs here and there, I never played properly. And then it was just straight into it; it was class. It’s been a good year.”

Speaking of keeping their drummer on his toes, many My Fellow Sponges songs are in peculiar time signatures. Is this deliberate on their part? “It’s always good to try everything once, and keep it as interesting as possible for yourself,” says Donal, the band’s co-vocalist, banjo, clarinet and guitar player. “Otherwise, you won’t be able to come with lyrics quite as well if you’re not pushing yourself with your hands.  When your hands end up going back to old habits, you get very lazy when you’re trying to write something.”

One of the stand-out tracks on Bonne Nuit is This Dream Song. It’s accompanied by a fantastic video, directed by Anna’s sister, Mia Mullarkey.  The video is a colourful, theatrical gem, where all the action is backwards. Basically, it’s like hitting the rewind button on your DVD player for four minutes.

“The idea was mostly Mia’s,” Anna says. “We sat together for a long time. I had a dream about that song, I was in the woods with the lads but. .. Mia had her own vision.  “She loves movement, and we were happy to go along and get dressed up. And learn words backwards! It actually felt like insanity, four full days of insanity. It was crazy.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Sunday evening concert offers All the Pleasures

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Sunday evening’s concert will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (pictured), under director Peter Whelan.

Music by George Frederic Handel and Henry Purcell as well as a world premiere by Irish composer Rhona Clarke will feature in Resounding Landscapes, a concert being presented by Music for Galway in association with Galway 2020 this Sunday, November 22. It will be live-streamed from the city’s St Nicholas’ Church, starting at 7pm.

It’s the second concert in the Abendmusik (Evening Music) series of vocal and choral performances, which forms part of Music for Galway’s programme for the European Capital of Culture project.

Sunday’s event will feature Welcome to all the Pleasures by the 17th century composer, Henry Purcell with text by Cristopher Fishburn; the world premiere of Rhona Clarke’s O Vis Aeternitatis – based on writings by the 12th century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen; and Handel’s Dixit Dominus.

The programme will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO), under director Peter Whelan, who is director of the IBO.

Creator of the Abendmusik Sunday evening concert series, Mark Duley feels that “in our current circumstance, it is good to be reminded by Fishburn in his text that ‘in music, we find relief from sorrow and grief’. And we can salute the venerable building of St Nicholas’ Church where for 700 years music has resounded and prayer has been valid.”

Meanwhile, a scheduled online production of the community opera, Paper Boat, which Music for Galway commissioned to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, has been postponed.

Paper Boat is central to Music for Galway’s programme for Galway 2020 and before Covid-19 restrictions, there had been plans for a major live production of the site-specific composition in St Nicholas’ last June.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Chance to experience Fregoli’s Cross Street as the drama unfolds

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Enid trying to make sense of her life in 'Cross Street.

Fregoli Theatre Company will present a work-in-progress performance of its forthcoming play, Cross Street, on Saturday, November 28.

This virtual reading of their new comedy, written by the company’s co-founder Jarlath Tivnan, offers hints of horror while exploring mental health issues, according to its director Eimear Finan.

The story centres on Enid who’s searching for a new home and finds a place on Cross Street, one of Galway’s most happening spots.

However, she enters a space that’s is already populated by some serious creatures of habit. When Enid’s arrival threatens to disrupt well-worn routines, a house meeting is called to re-establish order. But on this stormy night, other events take over.

Cross Street explores how mental issues can grow and manifest when left to fester, says Eimear. Each of the housemates has an issue: these range from grief, guilt, alcoholism, eating disorders, neglect, self-harm and self-doubt. And each person isolates from anyone who might either interfere or help.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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

Resourceful Emma gets in step with Zoom during pandemic

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Connemara's heritage features strongly in Emma's sean-nós dance classes and in her Facebook videos.

If you fancy learning sean-nós dancing, now is your chance as renowned dancer Emma O’Sullivan is using technology to put her students through their paces – at home and abroad.

In normal times, the All-Ireland champion can be seen dancing on the junction of Mainguard Street and Cross Street in Galway City.

Emma, from Derryinver, Letterfrack, is a popular figure and videos of her performances have been shared by over 20 million viewers worldwide. Her skills as a sean-nós dance teacher mean she’s in constant demand for classes among children and adults as at home and abroad.

But like so many in the performing arts sector, Emma’s livelihood has been severely affected by the pandemic.

After her regular classes were cancelled in March when lockdown began, she decided to try something new. She complied a 30-minute introductory sean-nós dancing tutorial video, which she uploaded to YouTube.  The feedback was so good, she moved on to classes via Zoom – which her students have since nicknamed ‘zoom-nós’.

This hasn’t been without its challenges, she says.

“There’s so much more to consider. Lighting and audio were a bit difficult, because while Zoom is fine for just chatting, suddenly I needed to talk and play music too.”

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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