In The Backstrand in Concert, Mark Roper read extracts of his poetry and prose from a recently published book, The Backstrand as images by photographer, Paddy Dwan also from the book, were projected behind the speaker. The readings were punctuated by interludes on electric piano played by Eric Sweeney. The musical style was minimalist, unruffled, reminiscent of Satie's Gymnopedies.
The aerial shots were stunning giving us a fresh perspective on a spectacular resource on our doorsteps. The Garden Room in the Medieval Museum was full for the event with many staying on for the Tricolour ceremony in the afternoon. You can hear the cheerful sound of the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band as heard on the day in the audioboo below
|Eileen Hayes and Michael Power with director Shauna Farrell|
|Lackendarra Jim County Museum Archive|
|A septet circled the stage and provided an aural backdrop of improvised sound in a folk idiom. Added to piano, bass and drums were whistle, harmonica, guitars The presence of a small shrutie box reminded me that the ancient Greek rhapsodes recited the epic tales of the wanderings of Odysseus to lyre accompaniment. The musical activity did at times overpower the monologue and were microphones for all players and actor necessary in such a small venue? Lorcan Reidy's low whistle stood out from the aural canvas.
The projected brightly coloured images from drawings by Mari Lynch picked up the themes of natural beauty and the trauma of war. A silhouette in a foetal position rimmed in jagged red recalled the iconic cover of Brian Keenan's 'An Evil Cradling' .
The evening opened with a set from Rua , an acapella vocal trio featuring Cliona Lily and her cousins Cathy and Treasa Forristal. The ladies had a very pleasing and secure vocal sound in a set of traditional and modern Irish songs. They seemed more comfortable singing than in navigating the stage banter aspect of performing and appeared to take cover behind a tall music stand.
There was a clubby atmosphere in the venue which was sold out for the two night run with a gathering of friends and supporters. The post show theatre chatter went on long after the show in Jordans Bar where Eileen Hayes and Michael Power reminisced about Lackendarra Jim from their own childhood experience of growing up in the Comeraghs.
Jordan's Rigout is a collective of players that jam regularly in Jordan's Bar on Tuesday nights. The style is eclectic, with an emphasis on Blues, Americana and Irish folk. There is always plenty of fine instrumentals and vocals and tends to build to a good old fashioned sing a long towards the end of the night. On a recent visit, Paul Dillon's rousing rendition of 'Smoke that Cigarette' brought everyone to their feet.
|Players in Jordan's rise to support Paul Dillon in The Smoking Song|