'Music... is such a powerful tool for change': Three New Commissions for Galway Jazz Festival

Trish Clowes – performing at this year’s Galway Jazz Festival.

'Music... is such a powerful tool for change': Three New Commissions for Galway Jazz Festival

New work from Sean Carpio, Lauren Kinsella and Dónal O'Kelly; international artists include Daniele di Bonaventura, Trish Clowes and My Iris, Nils Okland, Kaja Draksler and Eve Risser, and the London Gay Big Band

Galway Jazz Festival takes place from 2 to 6 October and this year features three new commissions, a first for the festival. The programme, which was launched yesterday, includes over fifty events, featuring both Irish and international artists across concerts, workshops, film screenings, book discussions and visual displays. 

New commissions
The first commission, Saoirse, to be performed on Thursday 3 October, is a new work by singer and composer Lauren Kinsella, inspired by the Connemara style of sean-nós singing. Accompanied by Tom Challenger on saxophone, Benedict Taylor on viola and Kit Downes on piano and harmonium, the performance will incorporate a contemporary approach to traditional singing.

Actor and writer Donal O’Kelly will perform the second commission on 5 October, Roxy’s Head is Melted, which blends jazz, theatre and spoken word. The piece is based on activist Greta Thunberg’s dog, which came from an animal sanctuary in Cork. O’Kelly describes the piece as a ‘jazz words contemplation’. 

The third commission, Bog Bodies on 5 October, is a collaboration between jazz drummer Sean Carpio, composer and multi-instrumentalist Robert Stillman, and Swedish jazz singer Andres Holst, inspired by the sounds and landscape of Connemara. The artists will respond to field recordings taken in the Inagh valley region of Galway and the concert will include a live performance and visual display.

Programme launch
At the programme launch in Sheridan’s Wine Bar in Galway (13 August(, festival director Ellen Cranitch spoke about how the five-day event is responding to the social, economic and environmental issues of today:

The strand that runs through the festival this year is the…awareness of climate change. Music… is such a powerful tool for change and for… nurturing people and making people feel safe and also responsible. 

The festival has a strong sustainability theme this year. Perhaps somewhat unusual for a music festival, Cranitch also spoke about a seed-planting event that’s taking place on Sunday 6 October: ‘We’re going to do some planting [which is] going to be a lasting legacy. We’re going to make a garden of pollinating plants’. 

In line with the theme, the festival programme (printed on recycled paper, using 100% vegetable oil-based ink) included a loose sheet of seeds for festival-goers to plant at home, with a mix of seeds named by the festival: Daisy Gillespie, Dandelionel Hampton and Dearie Blossom. 

Also at the festival
Norwegian Hardanger fiddle player Nils Økland, who blends folk and jazz, will be in concert with a band of saxophones, percussion and bass on 6 October at St Nicholas’ Church, while Renaud Garcia Fons and Claire Antonini will perform their unique duet of double bass and theorbo in the Black Gate Cultural Centre on Friday 4 October. 

The festival also includes a concert with pianists Kaya Draksler and Eve Risser, playing a duet performance with two grand pianos, in Mick Lally Theatre on 5 October. Saxophonist Trish Clowes will also be in the Mick Lally Theatre earlier that evening for a concert with her band, My Iris, on piano, organ, guitar and drums. 

Galway singer and electronic artist Anna Mullarkey and Matthew Berrill will be in Electric on 4 October for a collaboration of electronic synth and saxophone, while Galway based hip-hop artist Celaviedemai will also perform in Electric on 5 October. Dance act Disconauts will be in Bierhaus on 5 October for a night of DJing with percussion and horn. 

A series of concerts will take place in the Il Vicolo restaurant over the weekend, which can see attendees enjoy jazz ensemble performances after dinner, while a pop-up record and CD shop, Snagsiopa, will be selling music in Mick Lally theatre on 5 October, all day. 

Download the festival programme below. For further details and booking, visit www.galwayjazzfest.ie

Published on 14 August 2019

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