Barra Ó Séaghdha

Barra Ó Séaghdha is a writer on cultural politics, literature and music.

Liberty Hall Theatre/NCH, Dublin9-11 November 2007György Ligeti was still alive when Benjamin Dwyer had the idea of dedicating a festival to his work; Ligeti had been dead for over a year when the idea eventually came to fruition. It was, however, very...
Spiegeltent, Dublin Fringe Festival19 September 2007Clear Sky Ensemble is almost a feature writer’s dream. Here is a group led by a guitarist/singer/percussionist/composer from Congo and containing musicians from Brazil, the US, Germany, Iran and Italy,...
NCH, Dublin/4 Dame Lane, Dublin28 September 2007Friday 28 September was a big day for Music 21, as this year’s program of events concluded with two radically different concerts. Lunchtime at the NCH saw Hugh Tinney take a fresh look at some contemporary...
New Theatre, Temple Bar, Dublin29 July 2007‘Neck, pegbox and scroll’ was the attractive title of a concert devoted to works for cello and double-bass that took place in the New Theatre on 29 July. This was the latest event organised by the Young...
Barra Ó Séaghdha, Dublin, writes: Having complained so much about the poverty of debate on cultural matters in Ireland, I must thank Leith Davis, Ronan Guilfoyle and Barra Boydell for having taken the trouble to respond to recent articles of...
A review of the inaugural TRADITION:DL, the Dún Laoghaire Festival of Traditional Music
A review of the recent RTÉ Living Music Festival which focused on jazz and the music of American composer John Adams.
Barra Ó Séaghdha finds much to debate in a recent work on music and Irish identity.
The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland
The very first Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, the most comprehensive publication on music ever to have been undertaken in Ireland, is currently in preparation and scheduled to be published in 2010. Including over 2,500 articles reflecting Ireland’s musical culture, it will be the standard work of reference on musical life in Ireland for many years to come. But, writes Barra Ó Séaghdha, given the controversial views on Irish musical culture of one of the two principal editors, and the lack of debate surrounding them, what form will the encyclopaedia’s coverage of classical and contemporary Irish music take?
Horizons: Featured composer – Donnacha DennehyRTÉ NSO, Darragh Morgan (violin), National Chamber Choir (David Darcy, chorus master), Gavin Maloney (cond.)NCH, Dublin, 30 January 2007Strange Folk!: Crash Ensemble & Iarla Ó LionáirdSamuel...
J.J. Smyth’s, Dublin 2 1 November 2006 For many of those fortunate enough to experience the 2000 Mostly Modern Festival, the days that culminated in the first public outing of the Barry Guy New Orchestra were a highwater mark for improvised music in...
Sean Carpio, Simon Jermyn and Joachim BadenhorstSean Carpio’s front room14 September 2006It was the first evening of three on which drummer Sean Carpio and a varying selection of musical accomplices were due to play in his flat as part of the Drama Festival...
Barra Ó Séaghdha, Dublin 7, writes: If, like many other JMI readers, I was deeply touched by the letter from Ms Choona Day about the tragically curtailed career of her composer-father B’ween Kay Li, there was a further personal dimension...
Sparked by a recent book on musical life in America over the past two centuries – Joseph Horowitz’ Classical Music in America: A History of its Rise and Fall – Barra Ó Séaghdha considers the classical music experiences of the US and Britain – and what Ireland can learn from them.
Recent work by Cork guitarist Mark O'Leary.
ESB Beo Celtic Music Festival, NCH, Dublin5 August 2006It is not difficult to see the thinking behind the pairing of Iarla Ó Lionáird with Martin Hayes for one evening of the ESB Beo Celtic Music Festival. Both have unquestionable credentials...
(chaturangi – 22-string guitar)Farmleigh Salon Series (programmed by Improvised Music Company), Farmleigh, Castleknock, Dublin, 17 July 2006A large black dog nearly put paid to this review – and, for a very long minute or two, it seemed likely...
Emigration and exile: songs from Palestine and their relevance to Celtic Tiger Ireland.
The Bray Jazz Festival 2006.
Barra Ó Séaghdha experiences a performance at the NCH of the extraordinary String Quartet II by Morton Feldman, which lasts six hours without a break…
Various venues, Dublin, 31 March-1 April 2006Building on last year’s one-day event, the second i-and-e festival of improvised music took place on Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April. In Ireland, where improvised music enters people’s consciousness...
Bank of Ireland Arts Centre, Dublin, 3-4 March 2006This year’s Bank of Ireland Mostly Modern Festival was an Irish/Italian affair, with Luciano Berio and the less well-known Francesco Clementi figuring prominently. In addition to the major focus on his...
NCH, Dublin, 31 January 2006 Andrew Hamilton – Map; Volans – Cello Concerto; Stravinsky – Four Études for Orchestra; Volans – Strip-weaveRTÉ National Symphony Orchestra;Gavriel Lipkind, cello; Robert Houlihan, conductorThe...
The Festival de Jazz et de Free Music in Mulhouse, France.
Various venues, Temple Bar, Dublin, 26-29 January 2006Anyone who can play as Tommy Peoples can is entitled to operate by his own rules. He started proceedings on the Saturday night by letting us know that he did not find formal appearances like this entirely...
Vicar Street, Dublin, 24 November 2005Rachid Taha is a leading figure among the new French-Algerian musicians who blend techno-trance/dance influences with rai and other North African sounds. If this suggests that his following in Paris would be predominantly...
Whelan’s, Dublin, 17 November 2005The appearance of Jon Balke’s Magnetic North Orchestra at Whelan’s on 17 November was one of the last in a year-long series of concerts presented by the Improvised Music Company and the Jazz Architects and...
Composers' Choice 2005.
Dear EditorGiven that I had been quite critical of his programming, it is entirely understandable that Kevin O’Connell should be annoyed with my review of the 2005 RTÉ Living Music Festival. Henze’s work featured above that of any other...
Music, Ideas and History
Barra Ó Séaghdha reviews The Progress of Music in Ireland, a wide-ranging new book of essays by Harry White on the relationship between music, cultural history and musicology in Ireland.