Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little John Nee brings Sparkplug to Imagine Waterford

Little John Nee 'Sparkplug'

Waterford is a hive of activity  in October during the Imagine Festival. The impressive range of events take place in venues around the  in the smaller spaces of the South Eastern capital. The was an invasion of  eminent trad folk from Clare with  members of the Cotter clan , virtuoso fidlder Maeve Donnelly and scholarly concertina player Tim Collins  all in town as part of the John Dwyer Trad weekend. On Saturday night Little John Nee brought his latest theatrical invention to the bijou theatrical space of the Central Hall Waterford. The set was an intriguing  cornucopia of bric a brac , pallets and the accoutrements of a vintage car mechanic. To the forefront were a consort of ukuleles and various other musical instruments. This is the third of Little John's shows that I have seen.  His collaboration with Raymond Keane of Barabas in Johnny Patterson, The Singing Irish Clown produced a memorable theatrical experience that had a particular resonance to audiences in Ennis where I saw it. The Derry Boat mined the experience of  Northern migration to Scotland . Yet again the the versatile and unusual artist drew us in to the beguiling world of a character on the margins of society inviting us to empathise with a skillful blend of humour,  pathos and melody. Before loading up his van and heading West, Little John spoke  to me about his latest creation, Sparkplug,  You can hear that interview here

Little John Nee at Red Kettle HQ

listen to ‘Little John Nee’ on Audioboo

On the night he performed all the parts himself using the eclectic range of instruments  and loop pedals to set up an inventive aural backdrop of ostinatos adding to the melodramatic effect. You can here a version of the show with other actors playing some of the parts in this RTE Drama podcast

To paraphrase the author,  there is no better way to spend a Saturday night than in the company of a Rockabilly Conceptual Artist . Have a listen and see what you think.

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1 comment:

  1. "Little John" was there on Friday and Saturday night. I went on the Saturday night - I thoroughly enjoyed his show. A tour-de-force!

    However - I did feel very sorry for him - he has a huge amount of props and musical instruments backed up by a very comprehensive amplification system he used for "looping" his music - BUT a very small audience. On the Saturday night there were seventeen people in the hall - three of them were there to check out the hall for the next evening's ballet/dance show. I heard someone say there were much more than the night before. Was that person connected with the organising the event? How many people paid?

    This very talent artist had travelled all the way from either Galway or Letterkenny. I would not have know such a show was on only for Donal Kavanagh - originally from Glenville - now living in Letterkenny - mailed me to urge me to go.

    Anyway - here are two links to his RTE podcasts:

    Mick Roche.