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Connacht Tribune

Love of music has Amy reaching for stars

Judy Murphy

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Amy Harman.

Lifestyle – Bassoonist Amy Harman grew up surrounded by politics as her mother Harriet Harman was deputy leader of the British Labour Party and her father Jack Dromey is also a Labour MP. But from childhood, music was her passion. As Amy prepares to perform at Music for Galway’s Midwinter Festival, she discusses performance, politics and Brexit with JUDY MURPHY.

Classical musicians often have a reputation for being formal and bound by the conventions of their profession, but Amy Harman is part of a new generation who believes in opening up the genre to a wider audience. She’s so dedicated to the cause that, for one production with the Birmingham Opera, the acclaimed bassoonist played her instrument flying high on a trapeze.

That was a few years ago, but London-born Amy says, “I’m delighted to be forever associated with being a flying soloist”.  And she will be bringing that attitude to Galway from January 17-19 when she’ll be taking part in the annual Music for Galway Midwinter Festival

The Birmingham gig was no easy task. It involved spending all day in a trapeze on the roof of a factory for a performance of an opera by the 20th Century German composer Stockhausen.

Stockhausen is a notoriously difficult composer, and “to memorise 45 minutes of his music is no easy feat”, Amy observes. Never mind performing it while flying high above the audience.

“It was nothing like anything anyone had seen before,” she recalls. But Amy points to her father as an example how this unusual approach attracted new fans to music that isn’t exactly regarded as easy listening.

“My dad said it was the best thing he’d ever seen.”

Amy’s dad is Labour MP Jack Dromey, who was raised in Kilburn in London but whose family roots are in Cashel, County Tipperary.

As a child, Amy holidayed regularly in Ireland and has previously visited Galway in a professional capacity, performing in a Music for Galway concert three years ago.

As she’s talking, her 18-month-old daughter, who “is very vocal”, is in the background vying for her attention, so Amy moves to another room, leaving the child in the care of her father, who’s also a musician.

“He’s a horn player and we met sitting next to each other as most people do in our line of work,” she says.

It was never a given that Amy would follow this line of work, because politics rather than music dominated her childhood.

Her mother Harriet Harman has been a leading light in the British Labour Party for decades, having served as its acting leader, deputy leader and as a minister under Tony Blair.  Harriet Harman is also a former Solicitor General for England and Wales and holds the title Mother of the House of Commons, as she’s its longest continuously-serving female MP.

In a Labour party riven by divided loyalties over Brexit, Amy’s parents were Remainers and her mother especially got a lot of flak in the right-wing UK media. Now that it’s all over and the date of Brexit is looming ever closer, Amy says “it’s all pretty dismal. It’s a real shame”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tristan’s Ciúnas nominated for award at Dublin Film Festival

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Tristan Heanue shooting Ciúnas in Connemara.

Connemara filmmaker Tristan Heanue has been nominated for the Discovery Award at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival for his short Irish-language film Ciúnas (Silence) which was shot around Connemara. The winner of the award will be announced at the closing ceremony of the festival on Sunday, March 8.

Previous recipients include Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar and John Connors.

Ciúnas won the Físín Script Award at the 2018 Dingle Film Festival and that festival came on board as co-executive producer on the finished short, which Tristan wrote, directed and produced,

The plot centres on a couple embarking on a journey in the midst of a family crisis and it stars Gary Lydon (The Guard, Calvary, Pure Mule, The Clinic) Ally Ní Chiaráin (The Drummer and the Keeper, Michael Inside) and rising star Hazel Doupe (Float Like a Butterfly, Michael Inside, Calm with Horses).

“I’m hugely honoured to be nominated for this award among such an incredible list of Irish talent,” says the Letterfrack man. “I am so happy with how people seem to have connected with the film since we screened at the Galway Film Fleadh last July.”

Ciúnas has already won the Grand Prix at the 64th Cork Film Festival in November, which means it’s now on the Academy Awards longlist for 2021.

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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Connacht Tribune

Eclectics aim for a musical smorgasbord for all tastes

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Eclectics success…Liam Ó Maonlaí and Me Auld Flower.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

There’s a hint in the name as to what you might expect from the night – and it’s that diversity of styles that helps explain how, right through the second half of 2019, Eclectics emerged as one of Galway’s premier nights for original music.

Curated by David Boland, the showcase gained huge support by prioritising quality and putting artists first. In the Black Gate, Eclectics has a venue that matches its own ethos – it is the city’s most intimate venue not just because of its size but because, invariably, its patrons are intent on listening to the act on stage.

The 2019 programme began and ended with Cavan songstress Lisa O’Neill but it featured a long list of talented Irish musicians in between.

On a Galway scale, local artists including Jack Lee, Maija Sofia and Dead Horse Jive all played headline shows in the latter stages of the year. There were performances too from experienced Irish musicians like John Spillane and Hothouse Flowers’ Liam O Maonlaoi.

Eclectics is a place for artists at the start of their careers as well as those that have long established themselves in the industry. There are no set criteria for the acts David books.

While the venue may lend itself to a quieter sound, the Black Gate hosts musicians from all styles and genres.

Invariably, the shared trait among Eclectics performers is originality. As the name suggests, the showcase champions diversity and authenticity.

Galway’s arts community is one of the best and most vibrant in the country. There is something of a disparity, however, between the number of quality artists we have in the city and the number of venues that encourage their work.

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

Corofin’s history makers return to a heroes’ welcome

Declan Tierney

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Gary Sice with his daughter Sadhbh after Corofin defeated Kilcoo to win the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship final at Croke Park last Sunday.

Bonfires blazed and hundreds lined the route as the classy Corofin champions made their way home to a rapturous reception on Monday evening following their historic All-Ireland success the previous day.

The stage was set in Dr Duggan Park, as supporters of all ages dressed in their saffron and green colours waited patiently for the team bus to arrive in the village – and when they eventually did, they were greeted by one of the most energetic homecomings ever witnessed.

This was their fifth All-Ireland club success and by far the most special – not just because the side achieved three-in-a-row, but because of the manner in which they pulled away in the first period of extra time.

Many of those loyal Corofin supporters were convinced that the reception might not have been as ecstatic, had they snatched victory in normal time.

Indeed, the huge Corofin support witnessed their side doing what they do best in that opening period as sub Conor Cunningham sneaked a goal from a rebound and heroes Ronan Steede, Dylan Canney, Liam Silke and Gary Sice put daylight between the sides.

Monday’s homecoming began as the team bus crossed the Shannon in Athlone around mid-afternoon and were even treated to a warm welcome in Ballinasloe along the route.

But it was when they arrived at around 6pm in Abbeyknockmoy that the celebrations began in earnest, as players disembarked from the bus with the Andy Merrigan Cup to the delight of the local GAA club and well-wishers.

See full coverage of the homecoming and that historic win in Croke Park – all in this week’s Connacht 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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