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Virtuoso brothers set for new musical heights

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Brothers Anton and Vladimir Jablokov, who will play at the Town Hall on Saturday, October 8.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Classical and folk music will get all ‘shook up’ when Slovakian brothers Vladimir and Anton Jablokov showcase their new album at the Black Box Theatre on Saturday, October 8.

Vladimir and Anton Live, which was recorded over three sold-out nights at the Wexford Arts Centre earlier this year, features old Russian folk tunes alongside classical music by the likes of Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich. All compositions are performed in the brothers’ unique style, which focuses strongly on improvisation and makes for a lively listening experience.

Their Galway visit is as part of an Irish tour to promote the album and it comes hot on the heels of their appearance at the BBC Proms in the Park in Belfast, where they joined the likes of Lesley Garrett and Broadway sensation John Owen-Jones at the Titanic Centre.

Before that, the brothers were touring the UK as special guests of soprano Katherine Jenkins – and they recently guested at the prestigious Isle of Wight festival.

Their new album was inspired by their paternal grandfather, Nikolaj, who was born in Moscow in 1925, explains Vladimir, who moved to Ireland 12 years ago and has slowly carved out a career in the music business here. His younger brother Anton, who has a Master’s degree in classical music from the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland, is currently studying for a solo diploma there.

The boys grew up in a musical family in Bratislava, with four other musical siblings – five out of the six now make a living as musicians.

Their father Alexander was a violinist who met their mother Katarina while both were studying at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Katarina was from Slovakia and the couple settled in her home city, Bratislava.

Vladimir and Anton were middle children and close in age, with a particularly strong musical bond. Both studied violin, piano voice and music theory at the Conservatoire in Bratislava. However, while Anton always knew he wanted to be a professional musician, Vladimir rebelled.

As a teenager, he knew he didn’t want to become an orchestral musician, but the chances of becoming a soloist in the world of classical music were slim. Only the top five per cent of classical musicians have that option, he says.

“Being an orchestral musician just wasn’t my thing. I always wanted to do something else.

“Coming to Ireland was just a mad idea about going as far away as possible and doing other work,” he recalls with a laugh. “Obviously the whole family was against it.”

Vladimir had dreamed of salmon fishing in Kerry, but it was not to be and being broke in Dublin was no fun. So he joined a group of like-minded musicians from mainland Europe and took to Grafton Street.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

GAA club’s tournament honours stalwart who died at just 28

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Pictured at the launch of the Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament which takes place in Mervue this Saturday. Back: Kevin Curran, Kevin Barrett, Robert Fitzgerald, Aidan Brady, Alan O'Donnell, Donal Murphy, Eanna O'Connell, Eoghan Frain, David Henry. Front: Aodhain Ó Conghaile, Liam O'Donnell, Rory Murphy, Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Barrett.

The untimely passing of a city GAA stalwart six years ago is still deeply felt by the club he represented but he remains an inspiration to young up-and-coming footballers who will be displaying their skills this weekend.

The Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament for under-age teams will take place in St James’ GAA grounds at Mervue tomorrow, Saturday, when many memories of a great young clubman will be exchanged.

Darragh, from Lurgan Park in Renmore, was just 28 years of age when he lost his battle with cancer in 2016. Since then his beloved club has been organising a tournament for young footballers that’s proving immensely popular.

For tomorrow’s event, the St James club will entertain local teams including St Michael’s, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Killanin and an Cheathrú Rua, as well as Kiltane (Bangor Erris) and Elphin-Ballinameen from North Roscommon.

It is a nine-a-side tournament, which takes place from 11am to 5pm, and will involve Under-11 teams who will compete against each other during the day.

The fact that Darragh’s late father, Tom Frain Senior, hailed from Roscommon means that GAA support for the event is coming from both counties – this makes it extra special, as well as adding to the profile of the tournament.

Best friend and one of the event’s main organisers, another St James stalwart David Henry explained that this was the sixth year of the tournament and that Darragh would be very pleased that his name was being associated with the development of under-age football.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Too many cafés’ as city retail continues to decline

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Barber Tom Nally outside his premises.

The changing face of Galway city centre is a source of concern to those who say it reflects a decline for people in terms of retail choices.

Those who regret the loss of several long-standing family-run operations in the city in recent years don’t believe that what has replaced them has enhanced the appearance of Shop Street, in particular.

“We are looking at a proliferation of coffee shops, bookies and mobile phone outlets in their place,” observed long-standing city centre businessman Tom Nally.

Cllr Niall McNelis agreed there were far too many coffee shops in the city centre and believed that anything that has been zoned retail by the Council should remain retail.

The Labour Councillor said a proper retail strategy needed to be adopted and some of the ‘big-name brands’ needed to be encouraged into the centre of Galway to lure shoppers into town.

Meanwhile, popular barber Tom Nally regretted the number of family operations that have ceased trading in the recent past.

“It is sad to see the long-established family businesses in the city centre going and it would be great to say that what is replacing them will enhance our streets . . . but unfortunately this is not the case,” he added.

Mr Nally who has been operating out of his High Street premises for almost 50 years, said the number of unoccupied premises in an around the city centre was a new phenomenon.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

State cracks down on quick-buck landlords

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New measures to clamp down on illegal short-term lets in the city will kick in next month, in an attempt to tackle mounting pressure on the rental market.

From September 1, sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com will no longer be allowed to advertise short-term rentals if the correct planning permission is not in place.

The measure seeks to strengthen laws introduced in 2019 which state that the use of a property for short-term letting for longer than 90 days in a rent-pressure zone requires permission from the local authority.

City Councillor Niall Murphy (Green) said the move follows on from an objection he lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

“The ASAI said it couldn’t be expected to police these ads so the websites like Airbnb were off the hook. But after September, they will have to ensure that those advertising on their sites have planning permission,” he said.

The proliferation of short-term lets in the city has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with scores of holiday leases available at the same time as city residents are battling it out for an extremely limited number of rental properties.

This week, almost 400 short-term lets were available on the leading website, Airbnb, while just 19 homes were up for rent on Daft.ie.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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