Arts Week with Judy Murphy
Broadcaster Pat Kenny was on hand in Dublin on Monday evening to launch the new release from renowned tin whistle player and music teacher Mary Bergin.
But this was no mere album from the woman who has been involved in traditional music since childhood – rather Mary Bergin –Irish Tin Whistle Tutorial consists of a series of books and accompanying CDs, catering for people who are beginners at music through to those who are at an advanced level and culminating with classes for professionals.
“A lot of people say to me that they’d love to play an instrument, but feel it’s too late,” says Spiddal based Mary, who is widely recognised as having brought playing in Irish music to a whole new level since her first album, Feadóga Stáin was released in 1979.
“In my head and in my experience, it’s never too late to learn” she adds. “Even if people think they are not musical, if they have an appreciation of music, they can work it.”
And while beginners might be a bit intimidated by the notion of picking an accordion or a fiddle, a tin whistle isn’t quite so scary, she laughs.
Mary Bergin – Irish Tin Whistle Tutorial will ultimately consist of three books and CDs – the third, for professionals, is still in the pipeline from the woman whose playing was described by Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains as “pure genius”.
From Shankhill in South County Dublin, Mary began playing tin whistle even before she went to school. Her mother played fiddle, both classical and traditional, while her father played the melodeon.
As a youngster Mary played a Clark C whistle and when she was taken to an Oireachtas concert and saw the legendary Willie Clancy playing a similar instrument, it cemented her love of the instrument. Since then, she has played all over the world, both as a solo performer and in her earlier days with groups such as the Green Linnet Céilí Band, Ceoltóirí Laighean and de Dannan.
She continues to perform on a solo level and also with the group Dordán, but passing on the tradition through teaching is also very important to Mary. She is renowned as a musical educator here in Galway and also teaches at folk and traditional schools and festivals worldwide.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Comedian Shane for city show
Shane Clifford, who has been described by podcaster and comedian Blindboy as ‘The best comedian in Ireland, hands down’, will be at the city’s Town Hall Studio next Thursday, December 1, at 8.30pm to perform his new show, AW Class.
It’s being presented by the Lisa Richards Agency who are promising loads of laughter as Tralee man Shane tries and fails to get to grips with rugby fans, posh dogs, sinister yoghurt and retail breakdowns.
Shane who previously worked in Tesco, was 30 when he did his first stand-up show about six years ago. That was after he had quit his job, gone travelling and decided, on a whim, to upload some silly videos to the internet. He dealt with issues such as mental health and masculinity in an original and funny way in these videos and has since gone on to gain a reputation as an original voice on the Irish comedy scene, playing festivals and venues including Whelan’s.
Tickets €15, plus €1 booking fee, from tht.ie, 091-569777 or from the Town Hall Theatre box office.
INO present Donizetti comedy at Town Hall
Irish National Opera will return to Galway next Thursday, December 1, to present Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm.
Donizetti’s sparkling operatic comedy is an intergenerational tug-of-war about love and money. It features Don Pasquale, a grumpy old bachelor; Ernesto, his good-looking young heir; and Norina, an attractive young widow.
This unorthodox love triangle is the basis for a hilarious and touching show that offers an entertaining slant on the threat of being disinherited, a mock marriage and a spendthrift wife.
Sung in Italian with English surtitles, it’s conducted by Teresa Riveiro Böhm and directed by Orpha Phelan, with Graeme Danby as Don Pasquale and Kelli-Ann Masterson as Norina.
Tickets for Don Pasquale are €30/€27, plus €1 booking fee, from tht.ie, 091-569777 or from the Town Hall Box Office.
Music festival set to return after a successful debut
Musicians, artists and DJs from more than 15 countries congregated in Galway City at the weekend to take part in the inaugural Songs From An Open Road (SFAOR).
Organisers Pádraic Boran and Pat Neary say the overwhelmingly positive reaction from audiences and participants alike augurs well for its future. They are hopeful it marks the beginning of a new international winter World Music festival in Galway.
There were a couple ‘firsts’ over the weekend. For many who attended the beautiful Loft @Seven in Bridge Street, it may well be a case of an ‘I was there’ moment, as an intimate but appreciative crowd saw a stupendous set from Indian futurist jazz percussionist Sarathy Koewar and his band. This was their Irish debut and also marked the beginning of a pioneering world tour from the burgeoning group. Pat and Pádraic are hopeful that this exciting talent will return to Ireland and Galway soon.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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