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Melodic August Wells for free city concert

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Ken Griffin and John Rauchenberger of August Wells.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

If you’re interested in fine songwriting, put this into your diary: August Wells, Róisín Dubh, Thursday, September 3. The project is the brainchild of Ken Griffin and John Rauchenberger, who are both based in New York. Griffin is a former member of Irish indie legends Rollerskate Skinny, whose 1996 single Speed To My Side remains a classic.

But August Wells is different to the feedback drenched Skinny sound. These songs are slower and more melodic, with a Nick Cave feel to some of them. How does Ken feel about his new band?

“I’m not going to say anything different, but for me I’m happier with this stuff than anything else that’s gone before,” he says. “Just because the battle to get it done wasn’t as huge. My partnership with John involves a lot less talk about the idea than other projects I’ve had.”

The band’s latest single is the melancholic yet heartwarming Come on in out of That Night. How did that song come about?

“That one presented itself almost complete,” Ken says. “These things are mysterious. But that phrase ‘come on in out of that night’ – I didn’t understand it initially, but I just kind of trusted it. Then I built verses around the chorus idea.”

On an August Wells record, you’ll hear a saxophone player, a violinist and a French horn player. But the band is based around the partnership between Ken and John Rauchenberger. How did the pair meet?

“I met him through a circle of friends,” Ken says. “We were all walking home and he wanted us to show us his house. There was a piano there – I’d known him for two years and didn’t even know he could play!

“He sat down and started playing for a minute, and I thought ‘that’s interesting. Those weren’t very predictable notes’. So I suggested why don’t we just get together and play. He lives a hundred yards from me!”

There’s a unique aspect to the relationship that Ken is pleased about.

“John’s gloriously uninformed about any contemporary music,” he says. “Well, the last 40 years. You make the most pop culture reference and he scratches his head. It’s great – you don’t have to have that conversation ‘no, make it more like this’. You’re not referencing other people, you’re just talking in musical terms. Make it more simple, or more complex – he finds an unusual route into my songs, and it makes it more enjoyable.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Charting the changes in how we use language

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Not many people these days would be able to point out a ‘collya’ in the Claddagh. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Galway Heritage with Peadar O’Dowd

Nearly three years ago, one of my columns appeared under the heading, ‘Words Are a Crucial Part of Our Heritage’.  The passing of time has only served to highlight the importance of this.  Not surprisingly, as 2020 closed to the disconcerting sound of fireworks going off across Galway City, the lack of clarity around words only added to the hardship and confusion already suffered by the population during the unforgettable first year of Covid, and all it entailed.  Some of the confusion came from issues around identifying the pandemic itself in its early stages, as well as naming it.

From its appearance at the start of the year, when it was classed as another virus to add to a long list that predated it, we seemed to have settled, initially at least, on calling it the Coronavirus, a title still it seems, much used in the USA.  We were told from ‘on high’ in that country that it would be over perhaps by Easter!  We in Ireland got to know the pandemic as Covid-19 – but even now, with new variations of the virus coming onstream, we may be off on the word game yet again.

More confusing were new words used in explaining its spread, such as ‘asymptomatic’, a mouthful, if ever there was one.  Then, there was the initial confusion about the usage of the words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, as given to describe the results of testing for Covid-19.   Normally, the former is the good thing and the latter the bad outcome, but not here.  Think of it!

As well, a whole plethora of unfamiliar words came into general use, such as ‘pandemic’ itself, (often pronounced ‘pendemic’ in the States), as well as ‘mitigation’, just to mention two.   Here in Ireland, where we have the ‘gift of the gab’, we were soon indulging in such delights as ‘staycations’, as well as ‘wet pubs’, and we even brought back ‘shebeens’ yet again into general conversation.

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

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Cake on the menu as popular Over the Edge series turns 18

Judy Murphy

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Poet and animal lover Kathryn Slattery.

The popular monthly open reading series, Over the Edge, marks its 18th year in existence this month and, in spite of the restrictions caused by Covid-19, there will be a celebration to mark this milestone.

The first ever Over the Edge: Open Reading took place in Galway City Library 18 years ago and that was its venue until March 2020, when the first lockdown was announced.

Since then, Over the Edge readings have taken place on Zoom, which is what will be happening for the 18th anniversary event, next Thursday, January 21, from 6-8pm when the Featured Readers will be Ciaran O’Rourke, Kathryn Slattery and Stephen McNulty.

There will be an online celebration and it may even involve cake, according to the event’s co-founder Kevin Higgins.

It will also be business as usual and the regular open-mic session will be held after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always especially welcome to take part in this, Kevin says.

The first of the Featured Readers is Stephen McNulty, a radiographer at Galway University Hospitals. A regular attendee of the poetry workshops that Kevin runs at Galway Arts Centre, Stephen’s poems have appeared in publications including  Boyne Berries, Drawn to the Light, ROPES and Vox Galvia. He is also an avid fan of Mayo football.

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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Connacht Tribune

Poetry courses from Galway Arts Centre

Judy Murphy

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Kevin Higgins

Galway Arts Centre is offering aspiring poets a choice of three online poetry workshops, all beginning the week of Monday January 25.

They are being facilitated by Kevin Higgins, whose best-selling first collection, The Boy with No Face, published by Salmon Poetry, was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish poet. Kevin has published several books with Salmon in the intervening years and his next full collection, Ecstatic, is due from the County Clare based publisher this summer.

His work also appears in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe April 2014).

Kevin’s poems have appeared in journals and newspapers in Ireland and abroad and have been broadcast on RTÉ Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4, while he has read at events supported by the Arts Council and Culture Ireland in mainland Europe, the USA and Australia.

His workshops at Arts Centre will begin the week of Monday January 25, and be conducted via Zoom.

They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (starting Tuesday, January 26); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (starting Thursday, January 28) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (starting Friday, January 29).

Each week Kevin will give participants a poetry-writing exercise for the following week and will offer each person constructive suggestions about to how make their work as good as it can be.

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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