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Galway bands go down a blast at Wesport Festival

Ciaran Tierney

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BY CIARAN TIERNEY

Veteran singer Elvis Costello might have been a little bit liberal with the truth when he told the 12,000 revellers in a Mayo field that they were “better than Glastonbury”, but he certainly encapsulated the wonderful atmosphere of the second Westport Festival of Music when bringing the festivities to an end on Sunday night.

The English rock star with Irish roots flew to Ireland West Airport directly from the famed English music festival and, seemingly like everyone else in the grounds of Westport House, was blown away by the relaxed attitude during Ireland’s most laid-back music festival.

Costello, who has been a musical legend since the mid-1970s, produced a storming set laced with hard-hitting political songs while enjoying wonderful banter with the fans between songs.

The pristine grounds of Westport House proved to be a big hit during the inaugural event last year and the festival managed to win over another healthy crowd, even if it was apparent that the line-up was slightly weaker than last year.

Another man to embrace the spirit of the festival was veteran Christy Moore, who headlined the main stage on Saturday night. After playing some of his massive hits, getting the crowd to sing along to the likes of Lisdoonvarna, he headed into the centre of the town for a spontaneous session in the pub owned by Matt Molloy of The Chieftains.

The pub was jammed to the rafters and the whole town seemed to go wild. Christy, being Christy, made sure not to be too predictable, either, and his version of Hurt, made famous by the late Johnny Cash, was another highlight.

Magically, barring a couple of hours before the gates re-opened on Sunday morning, the rain stayed away for the entire weekend. Entertainment was spread over four stages, including a new Comedy Tent and a Róisín Dubh stage for up-and-coming bands.

The Comedy Tent lost out by being a bit too close to the music, but that did not stop a huge crowd from enjoying Apres Match star Barry Murphy’s take on German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday afternoon.

The Róisín’s stage provided a wonderful diversion from the entertainment in the main arena and was the scene for one of the weekend’s best sets as Dublin dance merchants LE Galaxie produced a stunning visual and musical show. Delorentos managed an equally enjoyable set in the same courtyard on Sunday night while Donegal band In Their Thousands brought two bus-loads of ecstatic supporters for the biggest gig of their careers so far.

There was some repetition from the inaugural festival, with The Waterboys, Imelda May, Damien Dempsey, and the Clew Bay Pipe Band all returning to an event where they made a big impression 12 months ago.

Former Galway residents, The Waterboys rocked the main stage with a set laced with old classics while the Clew Bay Pipe Band packed a tent with enthusiastic locals before being joined on stage by Mundy, Damien Dempsey, and local hero Matt Molloy.

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

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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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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