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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gilbert at the Olympia

My teenage daughter Alice is a big Gilbert O Sullivan fan and there was a time when  I knew all the lyrics of Nothing Rhymes and we travelled to Dublin to hear the Waterford born singer in the Olympia Theatre.    Backed by a 11 piece band including string quartet, 2 backing singers ,  lead and bass guitar drums and sax and keyboard player, he delivered  two very energetic sets, mixing hits from his back catalog with more recent material.  With a giant screen as a backdrop , the set was enlivened by photos , aninmated clips and videos .  This certainly gave a fresh input into Oowackadoo and I loved the video of Gilbert duetting with Peggy Lee .  The New York orchestral  musicians seemed to play with a particularly emphatic brio that was palpable even in two dimension format. Gilbert gave interesting introductions to the songs setting the context for the material.   . The centre stage was taken up with a baby grand piano and in a token rock star gesture , G clamboured on top for an encore rendition of Get Down but he was at his most comfortable sitting and performing from an electric piano, seeming a liitle ill at ease standing without any barrier between himself and the audience.  There is an edginess to his  stage persona  which does make him a compelling performer if not an easy listening one .  There is a certain poignacy to a 64 year old artist peforming to a backdrop of images of his stunningly handsome younger self
The large band were spread out across the stage and I regretted that we could not see the string quartet very well as they were place fairly far back one side and with a very full band it was not always to make out the string lines .  Occasionally there were small coordination problems suggesting that this might be an early tour night. The audience was made up people in the 50 to 60 age group for whom G O S songs would have featured in the  soundtrack of their adolescence. There was a bit of dancing in the boxes and one gentleman stood up occasionally and sang along with the star from his spot in stalls.

Waiting at stage door The Houlihans

Following the concert as a large crowd gathered in the lobby to meet the star while  at the stage door I met the three Houlihan sisters , loyal fans  who were waiting hopefully to have a few words with Gilbert.  Full marks to his management team on the lovely display of album covers and memorabilia in the the lobby, a nice touch.

Maureen's Bar

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gaultier Historical Society Solstice Evening

I was delighted to be attend the Gaultier Historical Society
 It was a wonderful evening of history, poetry and music.  Ray McGrath recited a lovely piece of Yeats poetry that I supported and here is an audioboo Ray McGrath recites a Yeats" poem with Cathy Desmond in violin (mp3)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Roisin McMullan Graduation Performance

Bach Partita two movements
Mozart Violin Sonata in G minor
Bruch Violin Concert Prelude and Adagio
Arvo Part Transitions

There was a good crowd of family and friends at Danlann an Chlár to hear violinist, Roisin McMullan perform her MA programme . Looking lovely in floral dress and red shoes she gave a performance of great poise and maturity in a diverse programme, part of her MA programme at UL. Roisin introduced each piece, giving some context to the works and she was ably accompanied by her former music teacher Michael Hennessy. Playing with a pleasing firmness of attack, she began with movements from a Bach solo partita She brought out all the playfulness of the Mozart. Although the Bruch concerto poses some great technical challenges, she was always in control. The audience included Michael Collins of Ennis Cathedral choir and his wife Carmel, Marie Corley and Sr Anne Considine, both fiddle players and Rachel Mulally, a virtuoso violinist herself. I chatted to Bob Creech Of Summer Music in Galway who told me of the exciting plans for this year. It was a wonderful occasion particularly for those in the audience who have been following Roisin's progress from novice to master over the years. Bob's daughter, Andrea Creech was Roisin's first teacher and one wonders how many thousnads of hours of practicing led to the assured bravura performance we heard tonight.
Congratulations Roisin. Best wishes on your post graduate career.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Serenade Cathy Desmond Stringschool

CDS Stringschool
Summer Serenade
34 Willsgrove Cahercalla

For one night only 2nd June 2011
The Cahercalla String Ensemble
Violins Naoise McMahon , Emily Ryan, Grainne Kelly, Alannah Aherne. Introducing Laoise and Niamh McMahon, Bass section Jesse Onyejekwe, Liam Murray
Piano Corner
Liam and Dillan Murray on piano
Introducing Emma Ouellette, Ailish Moran, Saoirse and Joanne O Brien, Enya and Jane Gilhardi
And introducing Isobel O Neill and Clíona Bourke students of Alice Foley

Twinkle Twinkle Theme and Variations
Piano Emma, Lightly Row, Katie’s Waltz ,
Ailish Pancake/ Nobody Knows Zebra
Lightly Row
Long Long Ago
The Ensemble featuring Naoise
*********** Piano corner Dillan and Liam
Chim, Chiminee, Prelude Liam
Haunted Castle and Mary Had A Little Lamb

Premiere Waltz Carse The ensemble featuring Grainne
Fiddle Time Blackwell featuring Alannah
Enya and Jane Green Gravel Girls and Boys
The Railway Train , Haunted Castle
Saoirse and Joanne Happy Birthday Lean on Me Waltz
The Way You Look Tonight Laoise
Carribean Sunshine. Emily
Piano Corner Isabel Moon and Stars Waltz and Black Cat , Bruno Mars
Cliona Love Me Tender and Happy Birthday
The String Ensemble
Frere Jacque Old MacDonald Dance des Bouffons The Marines Hymn
Ode to Joy Beethoven
Bravo to all my students for their hard work during the year. I have enjoyed the lessons and am very proud of the progress you all have made over the year. Thank you to all parents and grandparents for your support I look forward to seeing you in September. Classes will resume second week of September Cathy Desmond / Director CD Stringschool

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Cathy Desmond String School Website

Piano supplied by Penguin Pianos Willsgrove
Cakes sponsored by Allegro Laptop Repair Services 086 804 7092

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peter D Walls

In Cork to experience some of the Midsummer Festival frolics, we were delighted to see and hear singer, Peter D Walls in Cork City last week and he kindly spoke to me following his bravura performance on Oliver Plunket St outside the GPO, and it was one of the highlights of our day in Cork

Here is my first audioboo interview. There are some technical glitches that I hope to improve on. You know it is Cork when you hear The Echo Boy in the background.

Interview with singer Peter D Walls in Cork (mp3)

Monday, June 13, 2011

London Calling

Best foyer event was  in National Theatre
Poster at RAF Church

Top London Destinations 
  • Concert   Holst Singers Pizetti and Palestrina at Temple Church
  • Free  Foyer Event  Rive Gauch Gypsy Band at National Theatre
  • Best Building British Library
  • Best Dining Experience Strada Italian Restaurant at RFH
  • Best Late Night Venue Ronnie Scotts’ Late Night Jazz Tim Thornton and friends
  • Best Pub  Pat and Dave pub singalong at Soho pub Coach and Horses
  • Opportunity Missed Saudi Air Force Musicians at St Clemens Danes Church  
  • Musical London Road at the Cottesloe

Mileson at Cello Factory

Birds Eye View from Terrace at NT
The murder of five Ipswich prostitutes and the reaction of local residents may seem a most unlikely plot on which to base a successful musical  but London Rd running at the Cottesloe Theatre,  part of the National Theatre complex on the South Bank doe this. Operatic in the sense that it is all sung in the manner of a sort of recitative  with the speech patterns recorded verbatim  but  with some repetition of lines in the manner of a chorus, the cast of eleven actors play a range of characters from London Rd residents, press photographers and reporters and  prostitutes .  The characters are so well drawn, you can’t quite believe that actress playing an elderly Neighbourhood Watch committee  is the same one playing a drug ravaged girl on the streets .  The Cottesloe is an intimate space it is easier to chat to other theatre goers than in the larger West End spaces. 
South Bank Busker

Arabian Air Force Music Group

The foyer offering is a  Hot Club de Paris style jazz band,  Rive Gauch with  violin, guitar , accordion and the sound wafts around  the open plan foyer space .
On passing the St Clements Danes RAF church opposite the Courts of Justice , I notice some turbaned gentlemen gathering in the doorway.  They are the musicians of the Royal Arabian Air Force getting ready for their lunchtime concert of Omani folk music   I am tempted to forgo my original plan, more tempted by the promise of  lunch afterwards than the prospect of unfamiliar musical treats but I  hesitate and press on to my destination.
Later in the evening I return to the same road and seek out Temple Church
Repaired and beautified
  in the tranquil  leafy law chambers district existing mere metres from the bustle of Fleet St  in a Harry Potteresque sort of way where I learn that Pizetti is not edible accompaniment to the Palestrina  but a very fine 19th century Italian liturgical composer.
Stephen Layton takes a bow
The high backed stall type pews arranged  at perpendicular angles give an unusual feeling of being in a private listening space which may account for the hushed concentration of the audience, the silence unbroken even in the short interval between works.

With time to kill before I meet my travelling companion I wonder around a bustling Soho and am lured by the  tinkling sound of an old Joanna . Pat and Dave are installed in the Coach and |Horses
Pat and Dave
where they lead an old fashioned singalong for any punters wishing to partake .  (Don’t know the words? Copies of the lyrics are provided ) 
And indeed a young Welsh  man seated at the bar launches into a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone . Sadly the Chas and Dave hit    There Ain't no Pleasing You which I associate with cockney singalongs is not included in their repertoire yet. 
Researching at British Library

Soho Sing a Long

We arrive at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club 
Ronnie Scotts
for the  late show just as headline act Michel Le Grand is leaving via the front door .  (You could say we rubbed shoulders) The red velvet  cushioned banks arranged in tiers  with atmospheric subdued lighting make it a seem a sophisticated space for late night jazz where substantial business types rub shoulders with college students .  The MC  hovers  front of house and does a good job of creating an intimate atmosphere and does an creditable  turn at  scat singing himself.
 .....He who tires of London

Soho Gig Listing

Foyle's Best picks

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blogging Masterclass at Immrama Lismore Travel Writing Festival

Top 5 Blogging tips 

  1. Keep it brief  - 400 words or so
  2. Use images or videos
  3. Make lists
  4. personalise the blog
  5. Include anecdotes, details
Herodotus - set the blogging template
 Lismore had a sleepy air about it on Saturday morning but a good crowd were assembled in the ballroom of the historical Lismore Arms for the blogging workshop with  presenters from a range of media.  After a hasty discussion on the choreography of the session,  Manchán Magan after a brief declamatory  introduction  handed over to guest celebrity blogger, vagabond  and adventurer Rolf Potts.

Potts showed  some of his wild adventurous blog videos on the big screen and gave an overview on the rise of the travel blogger and mentioned the main players.  Suitably rugged,  Potts cut an unassuming figure and made way for Irish social networking supremo, Darragh Doyle of who gave an  overview of the  bewildering plethora of social networking tools available.  Doyle’s passion and enthusiasm for his area of expertise permeated the morning and he explained well the potential of blogging and addressed some of the concerns of social media virgins with a wry and self deprecating humour.

Cover & title page18th c musician's travel journal

 The final contributer was Áine  Goggins of TG4 who presented some segments of her TV  programme Tholg go Tolg where she' couch surfed' throughout Europe whilst  filming her adventures. The clip of her meeting the German grandparents was  very authentic and rather wonderful and what a useful aid her concertina proved .  I couldn’t help but feel somewhat nostalgic as they leafed through  an old photo album.  Will such an activity be a redundant in a computer screenage where we print our photos less and less?  Of the various topics discussed, it was the  couch surfing phenomenon which most seemed to engage the interest of the group.

There was a brief discussion on monetising your blog via links and selling adds.  Canoeist, Jasper Winn, from the floor reported his success in targeting a particular sponsor
Conflicts in the interface between published writers and bloggers was in the air.  With much talk about ancient Greece on the airwaves this week, my thoughts strayed back to the Greek travel writer Herodotus with his quirky reports and anecdotes ticking many of the dos boxes of modern  travel writing gurus and Potts, known to quote ancient Greek philosophers himself reminds us that travel writing is about telling stories.  And the couch surfing hosts surerly epitomised the   Classical Greek culture of being hospitable to strangers lest one should be a God in disguise.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rockabilly Bank Holiday fun at Tramore

 Great rockabilly fun at Seahorse Tavern Tramore

Bank Holiday Seaside Fun at Tramore Co Waterford.

After walking the prom and having put some pennies in the slots, we surveyed the local gig scene and decided on a rockabilly night with the alarmingly named, The Nervous Breakdowns who were appearing at the Seahorse Tavern. I quelled a moment of apprehension looking at the volume of bouncers that were employed on Strand Street but the crowd seemed amiable enough many of them sporting quiffs. The venue seemed very devoid of chairs so we hovered for half an hour until the band fronted by bassist Fran Sarsefield in an unmistakable Déise accent struck up about 10.30.

The band performed with great energy and enthusiasm a series of lively uptempo numbers with no slowing down and pausing for breath. It wasn’t long before suitably dressed ( well most of them) and coiffed punters took to the tiny dance floor to shivvy and jive. There were some smashing outfits and it seemed that the band had gathered a sizeable loyal following of rockabilly fans.