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

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Call Mr Robeson at Garter Lane




 Tayo Aluko has travelled the world since 2007 telling  the story of Paul Robeson, the black American singer and actor and activist. He arrived at the Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford on International Human Rights Day. He was most sympathetically accompanied by Cork based pianist, Michael Young. In addition to relatively straightforward song accompaniment, there was a lot of underscoring of script of an improvisatory nature.  You can read the eminent Guardian theatre critic, Michael Billington's review here 

At the close of the thought provoking show, Tayo Aluko conducted a Q& A. Had anyone ever heard him live. Yes, one patron volunteered, her parents had seen Robeson in London while on honeymoon. Newly wed and all, her mother  was smitten. On the singer's death, this lady had sent a letter of condolence to Robeson's only son adding her reminiscences of her parents's experience and was very touched when Robeson Jnr  had sent a lovely letter in response to  her, no celebrity, but a lowly typing pool worker in a London firm.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8tZsiLja6jUY2Q2TkpFNjM1TnM/view?usp=sharing . At each venue a programme note with musings and social commentary on recent events highlighted  resonance between the  stage and current Irish events updated at each venue. Kilkenny version in link. This story could be and has been told in the from of a 2D TV documentary. But one man standing in front of you   telling the story with passion and commitment lives  far longer in the memory . Mr Aluko chatted and signed autographs after the shoe. Although he has traveled far  telling the stroy for a long time , he seemed as fresh and enthusiastic greeting Waterford theatre goers as if it was a premiere. He did four shows in Ireland.  It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this show returning for a few more Irish dates. Watch out for it. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

IBO Messiah in Georgian Splendour

The late Eric DeCourcy 
In my youth, I was a member of  Waterford Orchestral Players, A major part of the repertoire then was oratorio and there was an annual performance in one or other of the Georgian cathedrals. I remember playing Haydn's Creation, Handel's Samson, Mendelssohn's Elijah and of course Messiah with Eric de Courcy conducting  and Fintan O Carroll leading.  It was great training. Opportunities to play Handel's most popular work have been frequent since and always welcome. It was a rare experience though  to actually sit in the audience pews myself but an opportunity to hear the Irish Baroque Orchestra on my doorstep could not be passed up. The performance was part of the Symphony Club of Waterford series.

Under the direction of Eamonn Dougan of the English vocal group The Sixteen, The  Irish Baroque Orchestra, leader Claire Duff with 16 voice Resurgam |Choir presented a lithe and graceful reading of Handel's masterwork in which the poetry in Jennens libretto was allowed to shine.
 I am not a devotee of period instruments and don't ooh and aah over curvy bows and gut strings but I did enjoy the clarity  of the performing style. Although the soloists were all very good, it was the relatively inexperienced youngsters, Sinead O Kelly and Eamonn Mulhall who best matched the nimbleness of the instrumental ensemble  The tenor aria Behold and See with the preceding recitative Thy Rebuke Hath Broken His Heart was a highlight. Soprano aria How Beautiful are the Feet of Him was effortless and beautiful. Just how sparing Handel was in in his deployment of trumpets and drums surprised me. Owen Gilhooly and , Anne Marie Gibbons, both seasoned operatic performers lacked a bit of heft in the lower register  of their arias being more mezzo and baritone rather than bass and contralto.  Owen Gilhooly's rousing  delivery of the  bass aria, The Trumpet Shall Sound with was terrific getting right to the heart of the text. The acoustics in this John Robert designed Georgian space were very sympathetic to the forces.  Excellent * * * *




Sinead O Kelly 
Anne-Marie Gibbons (mezzo),
Eamonn Mulhall (tenor),
Owen Gilhooly (baritone)
with Resurgam choir. 

Festive Music: ICO Joyeux Noel


 
Irish Chamber Orchestra
Katherine Hunka Director
Ailish Tynan Soprano
Rudi de Groote Cello
Cliona Doris Harp 

  • Saint-Saëns          Le deluge Op. 45, Prélude
  • Vivaldi                  Paris Concerto No. 2 in E minor, RV 133

  • Mahler                  Adagietto (from Symphony No. 5)
  • Britten                  Les Illuminations
  • Debussy               Sacred & Profane Dances for Harp and Strings
  • Francaix               From Quinze Portraits D’Enfants
  •                             In the Luxembourg garden
  •                             Madame Charpentier’s Children
  •                             At the Piano
  •                            The Baby with a Spoon
  •                            The Schoolboy
  • Martinet             Le Petit Papa Noel
  • Wade                  Adeste Fidelis   
  • Saint-Saëns       The Swan (from Carnival of the Animals)
  • Gruber/Mohr     Silent Night



I enjoyed the Irish Chamber Orchestra's festive French themed programme in the magnificent Gothic stone St Fin Barre's Cathedral .  You can read my review which appeared in Saturday's Irish Examiner here  It was a great pleasure  to hear soprano Ailish Tynan. I last heard her when she was  a guest soloist in Chansons d'Auvergne for a concert with Maynooth University Orchestra of which I was a member around 2001 or so. She was just setting off to begin her studies in London. where she now lives and enjoys a very successful career. The Francaix pieces escaped mention. They wee described by Liz Nolan in her comprehensive programme notes as 'bright, bumptious and gleeful'. Just right. 

Jorg Widmann
It isn't that long since I heard the ICO at their home base at UCH  . I had imagined that the Wunderkind of the programme title applied to the conductor  Jorg Widmann who was all over the programme as conductor , chamber music musician and composer in an impressive display of mulit tasking
. In fact the title applied to the Mendelssohn whose teenage works formed the mainstay of the programme.  You can read that review here 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Other Voices from the Other Side of the Street




Main Street Dingle


Cathy's Highlights Other Voices
Best Hang Out: Benners Hotel Lobby / Green Room
Best Spoken Word Event: Banter 98  at Foxy John's  guest Paul Galvin
Best Solo Perfromance: Colm Mac Con Iomaire on 5 string zither violin at An Lab
Best Act : Lost Brothers 
Best Local Contributer: Padraig O Sé Box Player 


Amid the   clamour of wind and rain, gig junkies and musicians made the annual pilgrimage to  Dingle for the annual niche  music festival, Other Voices.  At its core, three nights of  uber cool TV programmes featuring an eclectic mix of genres. The spin off--an   extensive fringe  of live  gigs from early afternoon  to late  draws pilgrims out of the cold into the huddle of cheerful  pubs and the more hallowed civic and sacred spaces in the South Kerry town on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.  
 If you are not in St James Church, Dingle  for the Other Voices broadcasts, the next best place to be is across the road in the relative comfort of Benner's Hotel, The elegant town house lobby acts as a green room for the performers and crew.  Phillip King looking dapper in skinny jeans and maroon bomber jacket greeted the new arrivals and artists breezed through the lobby all spruced up in their stage gear before being miraculously 'teleported' onto the big screen in front of us  like Mike Teavee in Willy Wonka's Factory


There are advantages to the hotel lobby OV experience other than proximity to the bar. The lobby audience are not bound by the same rules of etiquette such as applauding and refraining from chatting among themselves. There is a  moment on Friday though, when a hush descends, the chandeliers are dimmed and all eyes and ears lean forward, the better to hear the  sotto voceLost Brothers' beguiling close  harmonies. Flanked by  twin fiddlers, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Steve Wickham,  something magical happens as the four musicians move onto a plane of perfect visual and melodic  symmetry and both sides of the Main Street seem to resonate  in a sense of communion.  You could hear a proverbial  pin drop and there is for the first time that evening an outbreak of applause. 




 More sibling resonances as real life French /Cuban twins Ibeyi  filled the ethic/ world music slot. Their expressive gleeful features leaped out of the box. They accompanied themselves on piano and beat box but it was  their a capella Yoruba songs that  most captivated the lobby contingent.

Colm Mac Con Iomaire 
It was standing room only for Colm Mac ConIomaire’s , solo fiddle gig at An Lab, a black box theatre space housed in a school. Known for his association with The Frames,  the Dubliner featured also on David Gray's hit album White Ladder. He augmented his sean nos inspired improvisatory fantasies with a series of loops from a foot pedal station, which he jokingly referred to as his recession quartet.  He was joined by Catherine Fitzgerald on piano for a portion of the set. The Dubliner plays a distinctive  5 stringed instrument known as a zither violin with a broad bottom and angular shoulders made by 18th century Dublin luthier,  Perry. 

Mac Con Iomaire joined The Lost Brothers for their late afternoon gig at An Diseart .  The audience  crammed into the mahogany pews  listened with an intensity bordering on reverence under the lilac glint of the Harry Clarke stained windows.  
Fireside Banter with Jim Carroll

Over at Foxy John's Pub, music journalist Jim Carroll took up a position  by the fire for the 98th Banter session, a series of interviews with musical interludes podcast for an online audience  Interviewing a somewhat guarded Paul Galvin about his new book, it emerged that his writing talents had been spotted at school and he might well have gone into journalism.  You can listen to that podcast here . 

Back in Benner's for the evening broadcast. Damien Rice had us swooning with his witty lyrics en francais and  we chatted among ourselves as Mercury winners, Young Father's  raucous heavily choreagraphed routine  didn't quite transmit effectively through the glass and chrome  receptacle.  'Not quite my cup of tea' was one punter's summary. It was good too to hear local  box player, Padraig o Sé's emphatic slides and polkas coming in on the Saturday night air in Main Street.

To stay near the main hub of activity, you won’t want to pass Benner’s Hotel .  Although the town was buzzy, there were plenty of vacancies with just a few premises displaying house full signs. We stayed at the Marina Lodge which offered bright and comfortable budget accommodation in a super  waterfront location a stones’ throw from the town centre .




















 S9

Monday, December 8, 2014

Limerick Choral Union: Celebrating 50 years of Singing

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On Sunday, it was my pleasure to join the orchestra for one of the biggest choral events of the year. Limerick Choral Union marked the end of their 50th year with an epic choral extravaganza featuring 240 choristers, a trio of soloists and a 53 piece orchestra. Always an outfit to do things in style, LCU invited Galway Choral Association, a teenage choir from Villiers Secondary School and boys and girls from Scoil Ide to join them . The collaboration across the generations and county borders made this a truly joyful vibrant occasion. Musical director Malcolm Greene pulled all the elements together with his customary energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail.



Soprano Jean Wallace
A fearless Jean Wallace stepped into the breach caused by an indisposed Franzita Whelan. Poulenc's Gloria is a gorgeous six movement work full of colourful contrasts. The comprehensive programme notes reminded us that the work was premiered in Boston in 1961 not too long before the choir was first formed. The dramatic stakes were raised with a performance of Carl Orff's epic choral cantata, Carmina Burana.  based on two dozen medieval Latin texts on the fickleness of fate and the perils and pleasures of  overindulgence. Jean was joined by Hungarian baritone Gyula Nagy and Derek Moloney in counter tenor mode The  varied palette of vocal timbres and textures enhanced with unusual rarely heard orchestral colours  in wind and percussion sections made for  rich musical tapestry  

The house was full to capacity and after a standing ovation, choristers, musicians and patrons lingered a long time in UCH foyer  to savour the occasion, a fitting finale to the Limerick City of Culture. I was proud to be a part of it.


The programme will be repeated in Galway with Choristers of St Nicholas Scola Cantorum at Seapoint, Salthill, on Saturday 31st January 2015



Related Posts http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2014/04/good-grief-limerick-choral-union-easter.html






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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lines of Vision: Words and Pictures at the National Gallery

To celebrate 150 years of the National Gallery, 56 Irish writers have been invited to select  a picture from the house  collection and to contribute a literary response  to the work to a new book edited by Janet McClean, Lines of Vision: Irish Writers on Art. You can view all the paintings selected in a special exhibition running at the gallery until April. Many of them are familiar. Included is the Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ selected by John Banville. There are several of Jack B Yeats paintings and that misfortunate Monet now rehung is looking none the worse for wear Copies of the book are on hand so you can read the response and view the painting. Admission is free.

You can read Peter Murray's extensive piece in the Irish Examiner  on the project here http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/portraits-of-great-paintings-irish-authors-take-inspiration-from-the-greats-293505.html

You can hear several of the authors interviewed by Sean Rocks on an RTE Arena special recorded in the gallery. Listen back here 





Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Voci Nuove: Cork Choral Group Raising the Bar




My preview piece on a coral concerts taking place this weekend, featuring the combined efforts of two excellent choirs is in today's Irish Examiner. You can read it here http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/love-loss-and-hope-in-horror-of-war-299528.htm.

MY e interview with MD Lynsey Callaghan and member Brendan Long is here.  Voci Nuove can be heard at the Unitarian Church in Dublin and at the Cork Vision Centre on Saturday this week.
  Can you expand  a little on  the process in finalising  the programme? 

Given the historical significance of this year, I was eager to reflect on this through music. The programme includes a mixture of contemporary works and older pieces, but, for me, all are in some way connected to war and adversity that has occurred throughout history. As well as this, there is great hope in many of the pieces so that while they comment on suffering, they also express the belief in eventual peace.

Among the predominantly 20th century/ contemporary,  Schutz represents the historic period . What is special about this  piece that earned it a slot?

This biblical text (Revelation 14:13) has been used in funeral music of many German-speaking composers. Heinrich Schütz’s six-part motet comes from Geistliche Chormusik (1648), an important collection of 29 of the composer’s motets using German-texts. The collection represents a transition in his writing and while its stylistic roots are in the Renaissance, the expressive contrasts within the piece clearly represent the Baroque era to which it belongs. The year of publication of Geistliche Chormusik is significant because during this year a series of peace treaties were signed which ended the Thirty Years’ War in the Holy Roman Empire and the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Dutch Republic. Although the treaties did not entirely restore peace throughout Europe, they created a base for national self-determination and their principals became central to international law and the prevailing world order. The Thirty Years’ War was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history and it was against this backdrop that Schütz composed his tribute to the dead. Presumably Schütz was not untouched by these horrors that were Raging through Europe and his words and yet in this piece we see faith prevailing, claiming 'blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord'.

only 3 years old and already much lauded. Can you fill us in on the accolades the choir have garnered to date;

Voci Nuove was formed in October 2011. It was originally comprised of  9 voices from Cork School of Music, with the goal of performing alongside Cois Cladaigh in the Galway Jazz Festival. The choir quickly rose to the heights of  receiving a choral  workshop with The King's Singers in Dublin. Voci Nuove has grown from strength to strength and in September 2012 they held auditions to expand the choir. They began performing at concerts, and in Spring 2013 they completed their first series of concerts in Cork, Ennis and Galway entitled Pitches be Crazy, hosted by and collaborating with Cantare Chamber Choir (Ennis) and Cois Cladaigh (Galway). As a part of this tour, Voci Nuove performed Spectrum by Sam Perkin, Cork, an exciting choral work which was composed for the choir. 

They began competing, winning several categories at Cork's Feis Maitiú, 2012. In 2013, the group were awarded 2nd place in the Sacred and Chamber choir categories at the Cork International Choral Festival, and were awarded the John Mannion Perpetual Trophy for their performance of Ave Regina by György Orbán. They opened this Cork Choral Festival by singing for the Shandon Sunrise, and following this they performed a challenging programme in the beautiful surrounds of Triskel Christchurch.

In October 2013, they competed at the inaugural City of Derry's International Choral Festival. Here, they were awarded first prize in the International category, and placed first in the National Sacred Music category. In November 2013, they travelled to Vienna for their first choral exchange, hosted by Amerlingchor.  This was a valuable experience for Voci Nuove, to broaden their musical artistry, by working with a new conductor, collaborating with another choir, performing instrumental music, and exploring genres not in their typical repertoire.

Voci Nuove's 2014 is already proving to be a busy and exciting year. In February we had the chance to perform Spectrum again at a Cork School of Music concert which celebrated the new music of composer Sam Perkin. The following week, Voci Nuove participated in a workshop with Grammy-award winning ensemble Chanticleer in the Cork Opera House. On 11th February, Voci Nuove supported Chanticleer in concert also at the Cork Opera House. This same week, Voci Nuove appeared on RTÉ's The Today Show to promote their concert with Chanticleer.

In April 2014, Voci Nuove launched their Spring-Summer 2014 tour, Cardboard Pocket Rag, in the Dublin Unitarian Church. On this day they were grateful to receive a pre-recital choral workshop with Michael McGlynn. Other stops on this concert tour included the Mitchelstown School of Music & Arts and the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City. For this Triskel concert, Spizzrag, Voci hosted The Yale Spizzwinks(?), a dynamic young male a cappella ensemble from the US.

Following Voci Nuove's weekend at the City of Derry International Choral Festival 2013, Voci Nuove were invited by Cork International Choral Festival's artistic director, John Fitzpatrick, to compete in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition 2014. Here, Voci Nuove's performance of Come Sleep by Daniel Brinsmead won the Lady Dorothy Mayer Memorial Trophy award in the Fleischmann International competition. They also received the Trofaí Cuimhneacháin Philib Uí Laoghaire award for their performance of Molaimís go léir an tAon-Mhac Chríost by Ben Hanlon. They were awarded second prize in the Ireland's Choir of the Year competition.

What have been the highlights / most proud moments 

Winning the International competition at the inaugural Derry International Choral Festival, performing in Vienna, and opening for Chanticleer in Cork Opera House all stand out.

 What direction does VN hope to go in with new MD at the helm? 

Onwards and upwards, continuing to tackle exciting new projects and music, and raising our profile in Ireland and beyond. 

Is new music a particular priority for VN ?  

I am constantly impressed by the standard of music that is being written in Ireland at the moment and the great work that organisations like the Contemporary Music Centre and the Irish Composers Collective are doing to champion the products of our composers. I think it's important for composers to have an instrument to write for and if we want more music to be written we really have to encourage this through performance. We are very lucky to have composers writing pieces with our choir specifically in mind. This is very exciting and mutually beneficial.

The venue  Cork Vision Centre  is not one I have been in before. What is the acoustic like for vocal groups/  Any particular reason for choosing this venue?

We've always striven to do things a little differently from the typical classical ensemble. Not that there's anything wrong with performing in big established venues, we just like to bring an audience to lesser explored places, both in music and location. The acoustic is perfect. The Vision Centre is a re-purposed church with high ceilings and flat walls that lend themselves nicely to acapella choral music. 

How did the collaboration with new Dublin choir come about?

It is a very exciting time for both choirs as Laetare Vocal Ensemble has just begun its journey and Voci Nuove has taken on a new musical director. It made sense for both groups with so many similarities to join up and share an exciting concert of so many 'firsts'. The choirs already have many connections: a number of past Voci members who moved to Dublin are singing with Laetare, the conductor of Voci is also a member and there are many friendships between members of the two choirs through participation in other musical activities (Irish Youth Choir, Irish Youth Chamber Choir). The collaboration works on so many levels: it means each choir gets to perform both at home and in a different city and so early on in the year; the members of each choir get to bond both within their choir and with another group; the themes can be explored more thoroughly with potentially two different perspectives or interpretations; there will be a connection between the two choirs so, should members relocate, there will hopefully be a place for them to continue their singing. There is so much musical talent in Ireland and these concerts hope to celebrate young chamber choirs and their musical achievements. It makes perfect sense for two exciting choirs to work together to create something special for all involved.

Are any of the composers involved in the rehearsal process?  

The Irish composers have been so generous with their time and talents. We have remained in touch throughout the process of learning their music and if I have any questions i know that i can drop them an email or call them and they will be willing to help.

What is your rehearsal schedule over the next few weeks leading up to the concert 

With really only one week to go, we will have our final rehearsal the night before the Dublin concert. We will rehearse in the Vision Centre and can get a feel for the acoustic and the layout. I am really looking forward to this rehearsal because, with the concert so close, I am expecting that there will be great focus and energy.

Are all your members Cork based.

We recently acquired a bass 2 who travels from Limerick and for this we are very grateful. 

How does a choir of young musicians who have not been exposed to  war approach preparing to perform works on a war theme. 

The programme is a challenging one with very sombre themes but there is also hope. Many of our pieces look to an end to war and suffering. Luckily, I don't think that any of us have had first-hand experience of war. Each piece, however, tells a story and we will try to create a scene, bringing our own experiences and emotions to the music. i think empathy is crucial for performing, so while we might not have experienced war, everyone has experienced suffering in their lives. It is our challenge to take our experiences and use them to make us better, more genuine performers. 
New MD Lynsey Callaghan

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pathos and Gaiety: Piano Trio at Waterford~Music Chamber Series

Hunka , Tinney and Johnston at Waterford City Hall
Katherine Hunka, violin
Hugh Tinney, piano
Guy Johnston, Cello (UK)
Franck: Sonata for violin and piano in A major, M. 8
Glière: Duos for violin and cello, Op. 39
Schubert: Piano Trio No 2 in E flat, D929  


Following fast on the heels of the Contempo Quartet, Waterford~ Music presented another top class evening of chamber music in the elegant Georgian Room at City Hall. There was a sense of Modern and Classical spirits converging on the Romantic in a recital given by Katherine Hunka, Hugh Tinney and Guy Johnston under the aegis of Classical Links Irelnad last week My review is in today's Irish Examiner (Weds 19 Nov).

Here is the second movement of the Schubert E flat piano featuring a glorious cello solo played here by the Beaux Arts Trio. Guy Johnston, BBC Musician of the year in 2000 gave a spine tingling performance of this movement based on a Swedish folk song.

Excellent programme notes by Enda Rohan were supplemented by introductions by Tinney and Hunka

How wonderful to be able to hear musicians of this calibre on our doorstep this great venue. More terrific evenings are lined up in the series. Looking forward to hearing pianist, Joanna MacGregor and pianist Michael McHale is teaming up with ace clarinettist Michael Collins. . Check out the details here


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Tsunami of Black Porter and a Skip Full of Blaas



Thanks to John Cloono for this colourful report on the Booze Blaas and Banter. I am proud to have been included on the bill for this annual event


Photos Ciarán Conneely
The crackling of sizzling sausages blended with the pleasant aroma from Jack Molloy's spicy breakfast beverages as early house punters gathered around the side door of Jordan's Pub, at Waterford's Quay's on Saturday 25th. last for the 2014 Booze,Blaas N' Banter gig.  A wisp of light white smoke rose gently from Jordan's beer garden,where Peter and Noel Atkins prepared the culinary delights which awaited the restless,gathering crowd.  City gulls crossed from the river to view the proceedings as other avian scavengers flew in and watched for any easy pickings, from atop Greyfrairs and The French Church.
Within seconds of the doors opening at exactly 9am, pints were being pulled and corks softened on large bottles from the shelf and cooler. Balls of white flour from Michael and Dermot Walsh's bakehouse caressed the results of the Atkins brothers labours, but now embellished with a wonderfully flavoured aromatic sauce, specially blended by Waterford's answer to the ' Roux Brothers ' or Hairy Bikers.  These warm blaas  and their savoury fillings, which passed around the bar, were quickly consumed by the hungry early morning revellers, some who claimed to have been on half rations since the previous Thursday. Pat Galvin on box and Tom Casey on banjo are quickly into their stride as the crowd settle in for a few hours of Booze,Blaas N' Banter.
By 9.30am local journalist, renaissance man and MC for the event, Ciaran Murphy,formally gets proceedings under way. Those in attendance were regaled with stories of Olde Waterford, Redmondism and Ballybricken,The Glass Factory, The Larkin Tapestry,  The Clyde Shipping Co. River Craft and Navigation as well as the Fenor Melee and 1922-1923 Farm Labourers Strike.  Dermot Power sang ' The Black Leg Miner ' docker, Dyksie Walsh gave us ' Don't Forget Your Shovel' and other Christy Moore songs. Paul Dillon played guitar and elevated us to an other dimension, whilst Cathy Desmond played Lilly Marlane and 'She through the Fair' on a magic fiddle.  Mathew Roche recited Oliver Goldsmith and Johnathan Swift whilst Louis Quinlan read from his punk poet repertoire.  Marcus and Michael Power covered anti-war and love poems and in a rip-roaring, Agi-Prop critique of Kenny's Government, Joan Burton and water tax, Konor Halpin, had the crowd roaring ' Can't Pay,Won't Pay - Water Charges, No Way ', a cacophony of sound that surely echoed all the way to the Fine Gael offices on Ballybricken.
By One O'clock,a fleet of taxi's were ferrying some of the early revellers home to their beds,whilst hardier souls retreated to the beer garden, where an informal session had started. All through the morning an overflowing crowd enjoyed their drinks and Baccy,in the late Autumn sun in front of the Central Hall, in a scene reminiscent of Hogarth's Gin Lane.  Andy Jordan agreed with the crowd that "this was the best Booze,Blaas N' Banter to date" and that apart from Blaas "there was a tsunami of black porter consumed".
The event was organised by the Waterford Council of Trade Unions as part of the Imagine Festival. The WCTU wish to thank all the readers and performers as well as all who contributed to insuring the event was a success.
Ends.
JC, for the organising committee.
John Power,has pics. johnpowerphotography@gmail.com

























Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Short Movies at the Waterford Film Festival



By Guest Blogger John Hartery

The 8th Waterford Film Festival went about its business this weekend with a series of sessions in Garter Lane. The venue is a good one, centrally located and with a fine cinematic set of equipment.
The festival features short films of c10 mins which are presented in batches of 6 or 7 at one sitting.
 I caught one screening which included 8 movies. They ranged from a menacing hostage revenge drama as gaeilge via an hilarious comedy set in a gym to a fine drama about grief and loss set on a river boat.

I was lucky  enough to catch the winner ' They Call Me The Kid' a sort of coming of age drama set in a fun fair. This tracked a day in the life of a 12 year old boy. He was accompanied by his imaginary guardian, a cowboy, as he overcome the challenge of his day. 
I liked Open Mic a take on the world of the London stand up comedy scene with a nice twist at the end. 

My favourite was Waterway written and directed by Carrie Crowley. This was wonderfully shot on the Shannon and captured the hidden world of the Irish inland waterways.  The piece featured National Treasure Michael Harding and Druid Theatre veteran,  Marie Mullen. Amongst the credits was somebody who had the wonderful title of Cast Mammy!
Who knows what future famous screen directors or actors were amongst the movies we saw?

Bravo to all involved and great value at €6 a session.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice at the Lime Tree, Limerick

By Guest Blogger John Hartery 

The long established College Players Theatre Company present its latest offering in the Lime Tree in Limerick this week.The Rise and Fall of Little Voice is revealing as a title but belies a work of poignancy and hindered lives.
Set in the North of England it's about a mousey young woman, Little Voice, played by Jean McGlynn who is immersed in her world of LPs of female singers such as Bassey and Garland. She is exceptionally shy but possesses a wonderful voice. The mother, Mari, terrifically played by Mary O'Sullivan is the opposite-  loud and brassy in a Bet Lynch way. Enter would-be  impresario Ray Say, Brian McNamara, who identifies Little Voice's talent and spots a chance for an earner. Added to the mix is an hilarious performance in the largely silent role of Sadie (Rebecca Murphy). Nigel Dugdale nicely played the  love interest, Billy, and David Griffin was a very believable MC. 
Written by Jim Cartwright, the play   captures the working class Coronation Street  world of; working mens' clubs, two up two down, kitchen sink, heavy drinking, northern bluntness  and with lots of black humour. 
On the first night, the accents drifted a bit and the enormous range of scene changes were largely on cue. 
The set by Garry Lombard was inventive and cleverly including an alleyway. That rarest of theatrical props a cherry picker got a run out!
Direction was by Michael Finneran. This was an ambitious venture but the seasoned group of actors and production team   did a fine job. Runs till Saturday 14th November

A Limerick Leader article  here

Friday, November 7, 2014

Jacob Deaton's Tribulation at Garter Lane

Jacob Deaton, Andrew Czibi, Kevin Lawlor 
Live jazz is a rare enough treat in Waterford so we went along to hear visiting American jazz guitarist, Jacob Deaton at Garter Lane last night. Deaton a  young man from Atlanta seemed unfazed by the low turnout and backed by a home team of Kevin Lawlor on drums and Andrew Czibi on bass gave a committed virtuoso performance of mostly original material with a standard. The extended numbers gave all three space to show their mettle and the mood was introspective, thoughtful. In the introductions, Deaton set the context of the numbers and was personable and charming and seemed genuinely delighted to be in Ireland. We could have forgiven a touch of grumpiness but there wasn't a trace in the Atlanta native's sunny mien. Kevin Lawlor was admirably restrained on drums and his subtle special effects fully exploited the possibilities of his standard drum kit with some lovely brush work. Andrew Czibi gave a virtuoso performance on bass. His extended solo in the introduction to No Sunshine was tricky using some avant garde playing techniques. All the more remarkable in that it is work Czibi is only very recently aquainted with. There was a touch of Ry Cooder's work on the soundtrack of Paris Texas on My Home blending folk and jazz.

Venue Notes: The presence  of a clearly identified front of house person to welcome  patrons was lacking.  It is disappointing to see no representative from WIT Music Department either staff or students or indeed any representative from the Jazz Weekend fraternity. Were any phone calls made by either promoter or Garter Lane to boost audience numbers?  It seems Waterford music lovers will turn out for a festival but not on a damp midweek evening in Winter. Such a pity




Set List

Tribulation
I have my reasons
Sketches of Trains
My Home 
I Remember You
No Sunshine  Bass solo Andrew Czibi
Inside Out