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Druid create magic with epic Shakespeare work

Judy Murphy

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Derbhle Crotty as Henry IV and Aisling O'Sullivan as Prince Hal in DruidShakespeare.

REVIEW BY JUDY MURPHY

English history and English wars are the subject matter of Richard II, Henry IV (Parts I and II) and Henry V, which have been abridged by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe for Druid’s latest undertaking, Druid Shakespeare. These kingly names are not ones that trip lightly off Irish tongues – we know little about England’s history prior to the reign of the Tudors, at which point it becomes bitterly entwined with our own.

So at first, it might seem daunting for an audience to enter this messy world, which involves English monarchs constantly looking over their shoulders and trusting not even their closest family.

But, while this is English history, the characters and themes of these plays are universal and DruidShakespeare, directed by Garry Hynes, is a wonderful achievement – frequently dark and often hilarious.

It opens at breakneck speed as Richard II intervenes in a row between his kinsman, Henry of Bolingbroke, and Sir Thomas Mowbray. From the get-go there is skulduggery and deception and when Richard makes an ill-judged call to exile the pair, his fate is sealed.

The drama that unfolds over the first three plays is largely confined to England. Bolingbroke returns from exile and, with the backing of various noblemen, overthrows Richard who is off fighting a war in Ireland. Claiming the crown, Bolingbroke becomes Henry IV, and the following two plays, Henry IV Parts I and II, deal with his attempts to reign and retain power. All the time, he despairs over his son and heir Prince Hal, a drunkard and a wastrel who is given to mixing with London’s lowlife. But when a serious crisis strikes and Henry IV’s former allies attempt to seize the throne, Hal comes good. In the 1403 Battle of Shrewsbury, he kills his namesake, Harry Hotspur the Earl of Northumberland and the greatest threat to the Crown.

Hal goes on to become a force to be reckoned with, and in Henry V, this once errant prince succeeds in his bid to reclaim England’s lost territory in France at the 1415 Battle of Agincourt.

Mark O’Rowe’s adaptation of the four plays has cut out many extraneous characters and subplots, while remaining faithful to their essence and interlinking stories. It is a fair achievement and Druid has more than done justice to the script.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

KAVA forging links online

Judy Murphy

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The Kinvara Area Arts Group has created a new online project, KAVA Presents. It’s a series of videos, in which members share their work practice, with a new episode being released every second Monday on the group’s YouTube channel and social media platforms.

“We were pleased with the interaction and support shown by KAVA members and social media followers, both members, and non-members, during the restrictive year we’ve all shared,” says Terri Kelleher of the group.

“While we are keeping fingers crossed that the Courthouse will be able to open and host exhibitions and workshops, we would like to be able to promote and share the works of our members, to stay connected to each other,” she adds.

This is being done by these videos, all of them under three minutes. They can feature work-in-progress from members; something they are inspired by; their artistic process; even their studio views – the remit is wide.

The first video was released on February 15 on KAVA’s YouTube and social media channels. The second was released last Monday and they’re continuing on a two-week basis. More information at www.kava.ie.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Creating musical magic — from Belgium to Inishbofin

Judy Murphy

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Philippe Robrecht with his album, 2020, which he recorded in his island studio during last year’s lockdown.

Philippe Robrecht was relaxing at home on Inishbofin a couple of weeks ago when he started getting calls and texts from his native Belgium.

The 55-year-old, who’d settled in Bofin with his wife Leen in 2017, was astonished to learn that a song he’d recorded in the early 1990s had featured in a popular talent show in his homeland.

Not only that, but the song, Magie/Magic, then went to number one in the streaming charts there.

This talent show features new interpretation of old songs and these cover versions often hit the charts, he explains. But on this occasion, it was Philippe’s original recording – which had first charted in 1993 – that reached Number 1. The cover version charted too, reaching Number 3.

Philippe, who runs a recording studio and a B&B on Inishbofin, was famous in Belgium in the 1990s, recording nine successful albums with his pop band and gigging extensively. He shared a touring agent with bands including the Levellers and the Pogues.

He’s not sure why his version of Magi went to Number 1 now, but thinks maybe it struck a chord with young people, while there are also lots of fans from the 1990s who “enjoy my music and put a value on the lyrics”.  The original was an expensive production, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra and was included on his debut album which sold 25,000 copies.

Whatever the reason, he’s happy, although he’s never cultivated fan clubs.

“I didn’t do recruiting. I hated it.”

Philippe would simply let people know when he’d released an album and after that, it was their choice whether to buy it or not. That’s something he still does today – his latest album, 2020, contains 11 new songs and 11 older ones, including Magi, all with new arrangements.

There’s been a great reaction in Belgium to Magi’s newfound success and he’s done some press and radio there.

“I enjoyed it,” he says with a laugh, adding that sometimes the least work yields the greatest rewards.

“I spend months working on an album, creating songs, rehearsing them, recording them in studio and, on occasion, you might be delighted with the result. This time, I did nothing. It was all because of a cover version.”

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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Connacht Tribune

Album finds Loner Deluxe outstanding in his own field

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Field Recordings...new LP from Loner Deluxe.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Keith Wallace’s work with independent Galway record label Rusted Rail has produced a broad and eclectic catalogue of music since its inception in 2006.  A passion project that prides itself on facilitating and endorsing its artists, the label has been as much a vehicle for Keith’s peers as well as it has his own work under the moniker Loner Deluxe. And fittingly, his latest work enlists the help of several musicians with longstanding ties to Rusted Rail.

Set for release this Friday, Field Recordings is Loner Deluxe’s third full-length LP. Written and recorded with David Colohan (United Bible Studies), Brian Kelly (So Cow) and Cecilia Danell (A Lilac Decline), the album draws on themes of technology and science-fiction across fourteen atmospheric tracks. Having sat on it for almost a year, it is a record that Keith has had time to shape and develop.

“This album was finished on April Fools’ Day last year,” he recalls. “It was mixed and mastered and ready to go and then I sat on it for a year.

“Every song bar Viral Hit was written and recorded pre-Covid so it’s not a pandemic album other than that song. If there’s a theme to it, I think it’s to do with outdated technology and the pace of modern life.

“There are also elements of the supernatural in there. The song Space Junk is basically about humans polluting the earth as well as leaving satellites spinning in space. The song Gone Fission, which is a pun on nuclear fission, I wrote after watching Chernobyl.

“So, it’s basically about all of the ways humans have messed up the earth but, on the other side of it, hopefully it’s upbeat and catchy and provides forty-five minutes of a nice listen where you don’t have to think about any of these things at all.”

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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