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Tradition plays key role in John’s new folk album

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John Blek will play Campbell's Tavern on October 22.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

John Blek’s gung-ho approach to touring all over Ireland and abroad is steadily helping to raise the profile of this contemporary folk singer-songwriter. The Corkman – whose surname is O’Connor but adopted the surname Blek in homage to a Parisian street-artist – will play Campbell’s Tavern, Cloughanover on Saturday, October 22, part of a nationwide jaunt to promote his second solo album,Cut the Light.

It’s an extensive tour that, in the past few weeks, has seen him play Wexford, Westport, Galway, Tipperary, Cork and Limerick. He started booking the gigs in January, while playing guitar with fellow Corkonian Anna Mitchell during her tour of Germany.

“In the evening I was finding myself sitting down in the hotel, the hostel or wherever we were staying and I thought ‘I may as well start’,” he says. “I got in touch with venues, firing out emails and making phone calls. It got out of hand pretty quickly. I thought I’d do eight or nine shows; that’d be a lot generally. But I kept finding more nice venues to play in and it morphed into a tour of Ireland and Germany between now and the end of year, 36 or 37 shows.

As a member of the excellent six-piece John Blek & The Rats, John is well versed putting a tour together.

“It can be tricky to co-ordinate everyone’s diaries,” he says of touring with a band. “But with this it was one diary, and it was just a much easier thing. I enjoy the booking though. Maybe half as much as I enjoy the playing, but that’s enough!”

Cut the Light was recorded over four days in Bantry, an impressively quick time – was that down to the skill of the players, or the expense of recording?

“It happened, I suppose, because of good preparation, which doesn’t sound very rock and roll,” John says. “Then the other side of it was I had gone to Brian Casey, who I recorded it with in Bantry, and said ‘look, this is my budget, what can we do?’.”

John has cited the English folk singer Bert Jansch, who died in 2011, as an influence on his music, and so do a lot of younger folk artists these days. What does John glean from Jansch’s work?

“For this collection of songs, I had chosen to delve into the folk world a bit deeper, be it Irish, American or British,” John says. “I kept coming back to Bert Jansch, Richard Thompson and Liege and Lief, a record by Fairport Convention.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Textiles take centre stage in Kinvara

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Grace Gorman’s work is inspired by jewellery passed down by family members.

A new textile exhibition that opens in the Kinvara Courthouse this Friday, October 7, features art from two recent graduates of the Atlantic Technological University in Galway.

Isabella Florio and Grace Gorman were invited by the Kinvara Arts group, Kava, to show their work in the courthouse gallery for this show, which runs until October 17.

Isabella’s show is entitled Vita Rurale and has its roots in Italy, she explains.

“It’s inspired by my Italian heritage; by nostalgic summer days spent in the South of Italy, surrounded by good food, family, and sunshine.

“The bountiful fruit and vegetable garden grown by my Italian grandparents was a copious source of inspiration, informing the motifs and silhouettes for both my print and fashion collections.”

Isabella studied fashion design at The Grafton Academy in Dublin from 2016-17, where she learned about pattern drafting and garment construction. After deciding to explore new avenues, she enrolled in GMIT (now ATU) to study Fashion and Textile Design.

Her work there focused on fashion design as she explored the techniques and processes relating to surface design and textile manufacturing, using a wide range of mediums.

In addition, she developed a keen interest in fashion illustration and colour theory – and all of those interests can be seen in this show.

Grace Gorman’s inspiration came from jewellery passed down through family members, including her grandmother.

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

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Music on the move as renowned performer entertains 400 pupils

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Rachel McGuinness, a fifth class pupil from Bawnmore National School, joined Sergey Malov to play the Galway Hornpipe.

Renowned violinist Sergey Malov hosted a series of concerts for 400 primary school children at Tuam’s Mall Theatre last week.

The Meet the Violins event, which was part of Music for Galway’s outreach programme, involved children from schools in Clydagh, Ballinlass, Bawnmore, Tuam, Athenry, Sylane and Glinsk Sergey Malov, who was in Galway to perform concerts in the city and Portumna on Thursday and Friday, hosted the event. He introduced the young pupils to instruments from the violin family through contemporary and traditional music, playing a mix of Bulgarian and Irish folk music as well as movements from Bach’s cello suite no. 6. He also played Ernst’s The Last Rose of Summer, a variation on the old Irish tune.

One of the pupils, Rachel McGuinness, from  Bawnmore National School, joined Sergey onstage with her violin to play the Galway Hornpipe.

Sergey, who is originally from St Petersburg, plays violin, viola, baroque violin and cello da spalla. In 2017, he was appointed professor at the Zurich Musikhochschule.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Put on your dancing shoes – Glór Tíre is back

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Glór Tíre presenter Aoife Ní Thuairisg.

TG4’s hit country music competition, Glór Tíre, is back and for the first time in more than two years, it’s being filmed with a live audience where dancing is being encouraged.

Its creators, Gael Media, produced two series of the show during Covid, which resulted in more than ten hours of live country music being broadcast on TG4 – but the live audience element of the recordings were restricted due to the pandemic.

For this year, which is series 19, Glór Tíre is moving out of the Quays Bar in the city to a Gaeltacht studio as it welcomes back its dancing audience.

The first four episodes are being recorded in Studio Telegael An Tulach, Baile na hAbhann, this week and will lead to four shows being screened on TG4 in January, followed by three live elimination shows in February.

Eight emerging talents of Irish country music are being mentored by established performers as they battle to win the title of Ireland’s Glór Tíre Country Music champion.

The first concert show, shot this Wednesday, featured music legend, Louise Morrissey, and her two contestants; as well as rising star, Donegal’s David James, and his two contestants.

This Thursday’s mentors are Galway’s Mike Denver and Derry’s John McNicholl, each mentoring two contestants.

Glór Tíre, TG4’s longest running and most successful country music series, is presented by Aoife Ní Thuairisg and Séamus Ó Scanláin. Jó Ní Chéide and Caitríona Ní Shuilleabháin return as the resident judges, joined each week by a special guest judge.

For those wishing to attend this Thursday night’s performance, doors open at 7.30pm with the first recording at 8pm sharp. There is a cover charge of €10.

 

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