Artists and Musicians Collaborating in County Clare
Anon is Anall is a series of exhibitions run in parallel with the Ennis Trad Festival. It involves traditional musicians working with visual artists, responding in various ways to each other’s work. The idea behind it is twofold: to celebrate the musical and visual art of County Clare, and to prompt the participants to try new approaches to their work.
The third in the series will be exhibited in the Rowan Tree during the forthcoming Ennis Trad Festival, running from 10 to 14 November, and a recap on the entire series is being organised for next year’s Festival, which will include the pairing of Martin Hayes and Mick O’Dea, and be exhibited in Glór.
Fiddler Siobhán Peoples, who has been participating from the start, said that she has found the process very interesting. Having worked in the first year with a sculptor for whom she wrote three slip jigs; and having produced a three-part jig in response to a triptych of prints in the second year, she was partnered with artist (and organiser) Carmel Doherty for this year’s exhibition.
‘It was my turn to offer a tune this time,’ explains Peoples. ‘I tend to write tunes when, for whatever reason, I can’t talk to someone, when I’m speechless. This tune came after a local musician had passed away very suddenly and it was very calming for me at the time. It’s called ‘Na Ceithre Cuinne’ because he used to refer to his children as his four corners, and his wife as his rock.’
‘I hadn’t a clue where the tune had come from. It wrote itself, really. And the idea of the series that I got from chats with Carmel was to inspire one another. So the way this tune had come to me when I really needed it and been inspired by this powerful person, seemed to fit with that idea.’
In turn, Doherty has produced a series of landscape paintings in response to ‘Na Ceithre Cuinne’. They are a homage to the power of nature, in particular the sea, and to the ability of art to capture something of that power. ‘I knew the story behind Siobhán’s piece, but I wanted to treat the music more as a departure point to inspire my work. It had a dark, haunting feel to it that immediately made me think of a wild day out at Doolin with a storm about to come, and the movement of massive waves and seagulls.’
Doherty’s sense of the importance of the arts in an economic recovery is central to this project. ‘In these difficult times we have had to pool our resources, and I think offering our work collectively like this will help us as artists but also County Clare as a cultural destination. I believe a full-scale mobilisation of the arts sector to support tourism in Clare would reap great benefits.’
Other pairings in Anon is Anall III include Bernard Dowd and Michael O’Connell (uilleann pipes); Brian McMahon and ‘The Pecker’ Dunne (banjo); Jean Regan and Tóla Custy (fiddle); Mike Mulcaire and PJ King (accordion); Richard Sharpe and Padraig Rynne (concertina); Will Gilchrist and Karol Lynch (banjo).
Published on 4 November 2011