The violinist Darragh Morgan will tour the western islands of Valencia, Inis Mór, Inishbofin and Tory on 4–10 October. The tour, supported by Music Network’ s Performance and Touring Award, will feature music for solo violin by Bach, Telemann, Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Bill Campbell, Michael Nyman and Philip Glass as well as traditional airs. Speaking to JMI, Morgan explained his motivation for the tour: ‘I have always been fascinated by the islands of the west coast of Ireland since a childhood trip to Inis Mór. Their remote, bleak and austere character attracts me and a life-long ambition of mine has been to perform on the Aran Islands. I chose October for this tour as I felt it's really something I want to give back to the locals of these Islands, not the tourists.’ Visit www.darraghmorgan.com
The Reel Deal
ForeFront Productions, the makers of Geantraí, the long-running traditional-music series on TG4, are currently making a new seven-part television series to be aired on RTÉ 1 in 2009. The series will focus on young traditional musicians, particularly those under 30, and include interviews with, and performances by, Zoë Conway, Damien Mullane, Tara Breen and Tim Edey. There will also be features on the group Beoga, the Irish Traditional Music Archive, and traditional-music education. The series is directed by Paschal Cassidy and produced by Tony McCarthy. Visit www.forefront.ie
The West Awake
Fiddle/whistle players Cora and Breda Smyth, both of whom have toured the world with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, undertake a Music Network tour – The West Awake – this September 17–26 with guitarist Donogh Hennesy, one of the founder members of Lúnasa, and singer and Meteor award nominee Pauline Scanlon. Visiting Ballina, Thurles, Baile Mhuirne, Bray, Dublin, Navan, Carrick-on-Shannon and Clifden, it coincides with the recent release of Cora Smyth's album of new compositions, Are We There Yet? Visit www.musicnetwork.ie
Free State IV
Crash Ensemble is seeking submissions for its annual showcase of new music by young Irish composers. Free State, now in its fourth year, will take place on 27 November as part of a two-concert series. The call is open to composers up to the age of 35 who are Irish or of Irish residency. The deadline for submissions is 1 October at 5pm. See Crash’s website for a detailed instrumentation list and submission guideline. Visit www.crashensemble.com
Globalising Irish Music – Podcast by Bill Whelan
Globalising Irish Music – Podcast by Bill Whelan
Scholarcast is a new podcast initiative developed by Dr P.J. Mathews of UCD. Comprising a series of lectures on ‘The Art Of Popular Culture’, given by prominent figures in academic and cultural life, a lecture by composer Bill Whelan on ‘Globalising Irish Music’ is now available as a podcast and PDF transcript. Visit www.ucd.ie/scholarcast
This year’s Dublin Electronic Arts Festival (DEAF) will open with performances at Andrew’s Lane by Stephen O’Malley of the American band, SUNN O))), and Stephen Stapleton’s band Nurse With Wound. The festival runs 23–26 October and will also feature the release of a thirty-six track CD of Irish electronic music. Visit www.deafireland.com
A new experimental model for music-making will be attempted in Dublin on 10 October. Creative Spaces is an initiative by arts manager Aisling Ryan, offering musicians ‘space for creative exploration with other musicians of all genres’. There will be no stage, programme, or designated audience, with ‘the focus on process, not product’.
Béal Tuinne and Conal Ó Gráda at the Cork Folk Festival
The 29th Cork Folk Festival, which takes place on 2–5 October in 22 venues across the city, will include a performance from composer Shaun Davey’s new group Béal Tuinne. Featuring Séamus Begley, Rita Connolly and Jim Murray, Béal Tuinne performed their debut concert in October 2006, which subsequently became their first CD, Live in Dingle, and a television documentary by Philip King broadcast in 2007. Conal Ó Gráda, one of Ireland’s most distinctive flute players, will also be performing at the festival, marking the launch of his long-awaited second CD, Cnoc Buí, the follow-up to his seminal 1990 release, The Top of Coom.
Eliza Carthy in Enniskillen
Following her performance at Analog in Dublin in July (see the review on page 49), leading English traditional singer Eliza Carthy returns to Ireland to perform at the Enniskillen Arts Festival on 28th September. Carthy has just released a new album of her own songs, Dreams of Breathing Underwater. In a blog on the album on www.eliza-carthy.com titled, ‘Is it folk music?’, she writes, ‘Well, yes and no. A lot of the new material on the album is based on traditional song, so whether or not you believe traditional song is folk music is part of your answer. The rest of it is pop music, and whether or not you believe that pop music is folk music is the rest of your answer.’ Visit www.enniskillenfestival.com
Unveiling of the Seán Ó Ríada Statue in Cúil Aodh
Seán Ó Riada Memorial Statue
Several of the original members of Ceoltóirí Chualann, along with many members of the Ó Riada family, attended the unveiling of a new Seán Ó Riada memorial statue in Cúil Aodh, Co. Cork. The life-size statue, by sculptor Mike Kenny, portrays Ó Riada playing the organ, and is located in the grounds of St Gobnait’s Church, where the composer’s Mass is still sung every Sunday by a choir led by his son Peadar. See photo above.
This year’ s Music21 series runs across September and October in Dublin, with seven concerts at the National Concert Hall, Liberty Hall and the Sugar Club. The centenary of Olivier Messiaen will be celebrated with a performance of his Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus by the British pianist Ian Pace on 8 September, lasting two hours and fifteen minutes without a break. Other highlights include a concert by Polish cellist Andrzej Bauer and performances by Maya Homburger (baroque violin), Barry Guy (bass) and David Adams (harpsichord). The latter will include improvisations by Guy and Benjamin Dwyer’s work, Praeludio and Passacaglia, which was written for the group. Visit www.music21.ie
Win a Subscription to Naxos Music Library
JMI has joined forces with Naxos, the world’s largest clasical music label, to offer you the chance to win a 12-month subscription to one of the most comprehensive online music libraries. Naxosmusiclibrary.com is an invaluable resource for serious music enthusiasts, professionals and collectors incorporating the complete catalogues of Naxos, BIS, Chandos, CPO, Hänssler, Hungaroton, Marco Polo and selected titles of other leading independent labels. The winner will have online acess to over 332,000 tracks of music spanning genres as diverse as classical music, contemporary jazz and Chinese music. See page 27
Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoimh – New CD
Scottish singer Julie Fowlis and Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, lead singer of Danú, release a new recording of songs and tunes together this September. Titled Dual, a word which has meanings in both Irish and Scots Gaelic, Fowlis and Nic Amhlaoibh showcased a selection of the new Scots–Irish material at the Tradition:DL festival in August in Dún Laoghaire. The two acclaimed singers are joined on the album by Éamon Doorley on bouzouki and Ross Martin on guitar. Visit www.juliefowlis.com and www.muireann.ie
Sligo New Music
With the Model Arts and Niland Gallery undergoing renovations this year, Sligo New Music is operating a one-day off-site event, with three concerts in three different venues on 20 September. The programme will focus on the music of the Dutch composer, Jacob TV, and the French-Romanian spectralist, Horatiu Radulescu, with performances by the Amstel Saxophone Quartet and Maria McGarry (piano). Works by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars and Erkki-Sven Tüür will also be heard, as will a new work by Siobhán Cleary. Visit www.modelart.ie
Brazil Now! is a festival of contemporary music from Brazil taking place in Dublin from 28 September to 3 October. The festival aims to celebrate the music’s indigenous influences in particular, looking at a wide cross-section of Brazilian music, from Villa-Lobos to the Maynooth-based composer Victor Lazzarini. Brazilian musicians Paulo Demarchi (percussion) and Fabio Zanon (guitar) will perform, as will local musicians Tommy Halferty (guitar), Ronan Guilfoyle (bass), Sean Carpio (drums), Kenneth Edge (saxophone) and Izumi Kimura (piano).
30th Cork Jazz Festival, 24 -27 October
Celebrating its 30th year, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival 2008 bill is headlined by former Miles Davis collaborators Chick Corea and John McLaughlin and a raft of other big names, representing the entire spectrum of the genre, from Dixieland to Neobop. Highlights include: Enrico Rava, the Martial Solal Trio, the Yellowjackets, the Galliano-Rubalcaba Allstars and the Dave Liebman Quartet. Visit www.corkjazzfestival.com
David Flynn / Kerry Chamber Music Festival / Trad Connections
A new work by composer David Flynn commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Peig Sayers will be premiered at the Kerry Chamber Music Festival, which runs from 29 September to 5 October. The work, described as ‘a juxtaposition of the classical and traditional music worlds’, features local uilleann piper and low whistle player Eoin Duignan. The festival will also see performances by, among others, the Norwegian Engegård Quartet, with repertoire ranging from Vivaldi to Piazolla. Visit www.kicmf.ie
David Flynn is also involved in the Trad Connections nationwide tour which features a mix of Irish traditional, jazz and classical music performed by Hugh Buckley (jazz guitar), Liz Coleman (fiddle), Ciarán Swift (steel-string guitar, mandolin and banjo), TG4 Young Musician of the Year Martin Tourish (piano accordion) and Flynn (classical Guitar, octave mandolin and vocals). The tour, which visits Bray, Navan, Ennis, Portlaoise, Birr, Clifden, Dunlewey and Tralee, runs 5–28 September.
Arts Council Funding
Under the Arts Council’ s 2008 Regularly Funded Organisations scheme, which funds key arts organisations, twelve opera, music and traditional-arts organisations have been offered €7,962,842. This is an increase of one per cent on the 2007 figures, with only three organisations receiving an increase: Crash Ensemble, Note Productions and Music for Galway.
From that figure of almost eight million, three opera organisations (Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company and Wexford Festival Opera) received €3,972,032; seven music organisations (Crash Ensemble, First Music Contact, Improvised Music Company, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Music for Galway, Music Network, and Note Productions) received €2,912,650; and two traditional-arts organisations (Irish Traditional Music Archive and Na Píobairí Uilleann) received €1,078,160.
Also in 2008, the Arts Council offered 76 bursary awards to artists totalling €915,210, of which €93,725 (10%) was awarded under the categories of Music and Traditional Arts to ten composers and musicians.
The Arts Council recently completed its 2005–2008 traditional-arts initiative and announced in July that it plans to develop another three-year strategy. This will be informed by a new report on the Deis funding scheme written by Margaret O’Sullivan and Trish Murphy of Arts Projects Ireland.
Deis has supported over 250 projects in its first three years, amounting to almost €1.7 million in funding. In the first six months of 2008, €311,021 was offered to 37 traditional artists and organisations under the Deis scheme. Visit www.artscouncil.ie
Order and disOrder
Order and disOrder is a new DVD resource for Irish schools focusing on Raymond Deane’s 1993 work Seachanges (with danse macabre), which is prescribed for Leaving Certificate Music. Performed by the ensemble Concorde, Seachanges is explored by the composer and discussed in the context of his Macabre Trilogy, three works which deal with the subject of death. The composer also discusses his ideas about music and approach to composing, twentieth-century influences, and his political activism. The 183-minute DVD is produced by Arthur Sealy, teacher of music at Mountmellick Community School, Co Laois. Visit www.cmc.ie/shop
Concorde, Hyun Si and Carter
Concorde Ensemble perform on September 28th at the National Gallery of Ireland with guests Dutch bass clarinetist Harry Spaarnay and Korean composer Hyun Yi, who has been especially commissioned to write a new work for the concert. Concorde performed the world premiere of Hyun Si’s Island Baby for soprano and chamber ensemble in 2007.
Concorde will also be celebrating American composer Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday later this year. The American composer turns 100 on December 11th. Concorde have regularly performed all-Carter programmes, including a celebration of his 90th birthday in 1998, and, as Concorde Director Jane O’Leary told JMI, performed his Sonata for flute, oboe, cello and harpsichord in the composer’s presence at the Dublin Festival of Twentieth-Century Music in January 1980. Visit www.concorde.ie
Joseph Kubera and Michael Byron
Dreamers of Pearl
Joseph Kubera, a favourite of Manhattan’s Downtown scene, will give the European premiere in Dublin of an hour-long solo piano work by the New York composer, Michael Byron. Dreamers of Pearl, which was written for the pianist in 2005, is said by the musicologist Amy C. Beal to crystallise ‘the mystery and constancy of Byron’ s “obsessive image”’. The performance, which will also feature a new work by Dubliner Benedict Schlepper-Connolly, takes place on 4 October at the Unitarian Church, Dublin. Visit www.ergodos.ie
A new 13-part series of Apex presented by Bernard Clarke begins this Autumn on RTÉ lyric fm. Featured in the upcoming series are Led Zeppelin, Kraftwerk, Robert Johnson, Lee Scratch Perry, The Smiths, Fela Kuti, The Specials, Steve Reich, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Visit www.rte.ie/lyricfm/apex/
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Published on 1 September 2008