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Folk to the fore as Canada’s Cara Luft plays concert in city

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell

Canadian songwriter Cara Luft plays upstairs in Róisín Dubh this Saturday, June 8. Cara is someone to reckon with as she has been awarded a Juno (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) and was a former member of folk trio, The Wailin’ Jennys.

She has just released her third solo album, Darlingford. With all this experience behind her, was making this album easier than her previous efforts?

“It was a different process because I chose to record it myself,” Cara says. “Whereas all my previous solo recordings, as well as the recordings with the band I’d been in before, we’d always had a producer involved.

“I was always still very hands on with the process, and I understood how to produce an album but I’d never undertaken it myself. So it was quite different that way, learning to trust my instincts and learning to express what I wanted from the other players that were taking part.”

The album was recorded in a church in Darlingford, a rural town in Canada. What made Cara choose that unusual location?

“I used a couple of churches, actually,” she says. “Part of the reason I did that was the album was written after a pretty severe break-up. I was really wearing my heart on my sleeve, and I felt it would really help to capture the energy of the songs if I was to record them in a really unique environment.

“Churches have often been sung in; they’ve had a lot of music played in them. So I could pick up a little bit of the vibe that was already within those walls and have it seep into the album a little bit.”

Darlingford sees Cara Luft deliver a stirring version of Bring  ’em all In,a relatively unknown Mike Scott song. How did the Canadian folk singer come across it?

“A friend of mine, a guy who produced one of my albums, was a big Waterboys fan,” Cara explains. “I had listened to The Waterboys quite a bit, but he gave me Mike’s solo album. I listened to that song, and I was just floored. I thought it was one of the best written songs I had ever heard in my life.

“I thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool to it as a duet?’ and came up with my own rendition of Mike’s song, but not straying too far from Mike’s version. It’s such a great song, and audiences absolutely love it.”

Many of the songs were co-written with Lewis Melville, a songwriting friend of Cara’s. Having Lewis there helped to up her game, but it also meant she was a little more measured in how she wrote about her break-up.

“I did that purposely because I didn’t want to wallow in misery,” Cara says of having a collaborator. “Songwriters write from their experience, and I was going through a really difficult time. And I wanted to be able to write about it, but I didn’t want to do it in a way that nobody could relate to.

“Lewis could help me capture what I wanted to say in a song, but capture it in a way that it could be upbeat. It might have a sad subject matter, but it’s not going to be overly depressing to listen to.”

There was also a free flow of ideas, and opinions, between Cara and Lewis.

“I know him well, he’s an excellent songwriter, but he’s also the type of person that isn’t precious about his ideas. I wanted to write with somebody who wasn’t going to be ‘it’s my way or the high way’. If I had an idea and he disagreed, he could say so but neither one of us needed to feel hurt or upset.”

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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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

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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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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