Date Published: 18-May-2011
Musician Siobhán Armstrong played the historic Irish harp for Queen Elizabeth last Tuesday in Trinity College, having been invited to perform for the British monarch by the university where she studied for her music degree.
Some people might regard that request as a major honour, but while Siobhán isn’t dissing it, she’s definitely more excited about the prospect of meeting up with fellow musicians in Galway and playing for the general public at the sixth annual Galway Early Music Festival, which takes place this weekend in the city.
Early Music refers to Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music and dance, and while it might sound a bit rarefied for most of us, Siobhán promises that the music her group will be performing in St Nicholas’s Church on Saturday night, will be “ravishing”, while the songs have themes that speak to people from all generations.
She is founder and director of the Irish Consort, which is presenting a concert based on the type of entertainment found in England’s Royal Court at the turn of the 17th century. These concerts, with speaking, dancing, singing, music making, were known as masques, explains Siobhán, who has spent 20 years working in the area of historic and harp music and who plays both early Irish and European harp.
During her student years in Trinity she developed a particular interest in music from that era. Her interest in the music drew her to the instruments, and she now has an extensive collection of copies of harps from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque eras
Siobhán says the Irish Consort will feature beautiful music and singing from the time, with vocals courtesy of [soprano] Róisín O’Grady, “an amazing singer”.
The songs, by some of the most famous songwriters of that era, remain relevant, she says. “English Renaissance songs had very human themes. They deal with love and pain and loss and the fact that human beings are fragile creatures.”
In fact, Siobhán sees a correlation between that music and the 20th century blues. “There is a kind of melancholy to both. The themes are universal and always the same.”
Those whose work will feature in the concert include Thomas Campion, who wrote songs to be accompanied by lutes. “The historical harp is the equivalent of the lute – it’s a plucked instrument,” explains Siobhán. Also accompanying Róisín O’Grady’s singing is Nicholas Milne on bass viol – this is the precursor to the cello.
The other part of the Irish Consort programme will feature instru
mental music of the era, which would have been performed for the king. Claire Duff will play violin, Laoise O’Brien will be on recorder, Nicholas Milne on bass viol, and Siobhán will play Renaissance harp and early Irish harp, both of which featured at court.
“The flavour is of Ireland meeting the Continent in entertaining and beautiful instrumental music,” says Siobhán. There is also humour, especially in the opening sections of these scores – “there is funny lively stuff”.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.