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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Keane Power of Imagination: Imagine Festival Launch




The power of imagination to carry us through life's difficulties was the theme of Eamon Keane's engaging key-note address at the Imagine Festival launch at St john's College. Drawing on childhood reminiscences and his rich and varied career as a broadcaster, musician and counselor, Keane drew in the audience with his easy story-telling style, -recalling his mother Maura Hassett playing Chopin in their council house-an incident of stage fright as a fledgeling virtuoso and his encounters with assorted characters including Nelson Mandela, fiddler John Sheehan and some colourful North Kerry denizens. Describing himself as a musician who fell into journalism, he graciously paid tribute to his WLR colleague Mary O Neill for her arts programme 'giving voice to artists and documenting the local scene'. Hear hear we say! Sadly with no piano in St John's College Oratory, we'll have to wait for another occasion to hear him play
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Rick O Shea seemed genuinely delighted and excited to be taking on  the direction of Waterford Writer's Week and gave a glimpse of what's in store in the weekend of events in various venues around the city. Mark Roper was on hand to read some of his poems. There were a couple of songs from troubadour Lorcan Reidy and a snippet of Sam Shepherd.

I love the Imagine Festival and often  gravitated back to Waterford for it when I lived away. On a very small budget and with a team of committed volunteers, it presents a range of arts events to brighten up those dark and dull days in late October. While it is works hard to spread the word nationally, I believe the festival aims to serve the local audience first and makes a virtue of its diversity rather than targeting a niche. I do have a quibble though. I found this launch event too long and the scheduling made it awkward for attendees to support the many arts events already happening in the city that evening.  A 6.30pm start wrapping up at 7.30pm would have  facilitated patrons to support the launch and also get to Garter Lane in time for a trad group or to  classical music recitals in the Large Room and Waterford Crystal. And surely there would have been a few takers for a cabaret singer in Theatre Royal. Maybe we could have a diary somewhere where any confirmed events could be posted so planners could see at a glance what is scheduled and avoid those awkward clashes.

Related posts: I was fortunate to hear Eamon Keane and John Sheahan perform together at Listowel Writers' Week some years ago My report here http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2014/06/dublin-kerry-alliance-at-writers-week.html

My Round up of Imagine Festival 2016 http://cathydesmond.blogspot.ie/2016/11/imagine-gfestival-my-roundup-of.html

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