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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.

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Anne’s Roses of Hope for Médecins Sans Frontières

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Kinvara artist Anne Korff has launched an initiative to support the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It’s a new book, Roses of Hope – Meditations, which contains a selection of six reproductions of her artwork, 25×25 cm in size, ring-bound and with a hanging attachment, ready to display on a wall.

Roses of Hope – Meditations was created as a series of paintings during the pandemic in 2020-21. Throughout this period of solitude and isolation, Anne wanted to share her artwork as a way of providing support, inspiration and nourishment for the soul. Each painting is a meditation using energy, colour and shape to bring hope and solace.

According to the Irish Times’ art critic Aidan Dunne, ‘Anne Korff’s paintings vividly reflect her experience of the refugee crisis . . . in a space of what feels like infinite loss, flickers of hope appear’.

Anne, who studied Fine Art in Berlin moved to Ireland in 1977. A decade later, inspired by her passion for history and archaeology she set up her own publishing company, Tír Eolas. Her publications include beautifully illustrated guides and maps of the Burren, south Galway, Lough Corrib, The Shannon Valley, as well as The Book of the Burren.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Film Fleadh’s invitation to pitch a script

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Submissions are now open for the annual Film Fleadh Script Pitching Competition, which will be held next month as part of the online festival.

The competition focuses on the crucial role of good writing in the audio-visual sector and has provided many writers with an opportunity to get Entrants should submit a 500-word written pitch (from beginning to end with no cliff-hangers!) and applications are welcome from writers of any skill level. Any genre of feature drama, documentary or animation will be considered.  Finalists will be chosen to pitch their idea live online as an ‘Elevator Pitch’ of 90 seconds to a virtual panel of industry judges and an audience. The winner will be announced at the Fleadh’s online awards ceremony and will receive a prize of €3,000.

In addition to the money and the opportunity to pitch to industry professionals, there are other benefits to taking part. These includes opening the door to producers; writers having their project optioned by producers; being invited on mentorships to hone their craft; bolstering their confidence and giving them their first opportunity to win over an audience. For the winner, the money can allow them the time to develop and expand their pitch into a full film script.

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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Innovation and tradition at heart of Brú Theatre’s new programme

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Martha and Ronald Sayers and Melissa Gillespie, right, during rehearsals for ‘Ar Ais Aris’ overlooking Galway Bay off Grattan Road. The immersive virtual reality experience takes place from June 11-20 in Gaeltacht communities along the Atlantic coast. PHOTO JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Brú Theatre Company has become an integral part of Galway’s arts scene since it was founded three years ago by Artistic Director James Riordan and Producer Jill Murray. Focusing on new writing, mask theatre, live music and dance, this innovative, talented company has won over audiences and critics alike.

Brú has now launched its programme for the remainder of 2021 with a mix of work that includes virtual reality performances, two stage shows and a physical theatre school.

“From drag to keening, it’s going to be great,” according to James Riordan who is ready for the next challenge.

“The support we have got from audiences and organisations alike in the past year has spurred us forwards, and I can’t wait to share all the shows, songs and stories we’ve been cooking up over the last year.”

From the beginning, Brú has produced bilingual work across a range of genres and that’s the case with Ar Ais Arís, an Irish language, immersive Virtual Reality experience which is touring Gaeltacht areas from Donegal to Cork from this Friday, June 11 until Sunday, June 20.

The show will site audiences by the sea before transporting them to Connemara’s mountain tops and far-away piers as it explores emigration, displacement and the poetic body, all via virtual performances. Inspired by Irish language writers including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Ar Ais Arís was originally commissioned by NUI Galway and Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture. It’s being presented as part of Brightening Air/Coiscéim Coiligh, a countrywide series of arts events supported by the Arts Council. Tickets are available from www.brutheatre.com

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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