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

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ceili at the Crossroads Festival: Clarecastle Singers' Club

Singers Session with Tim Dennehy photo Colm Keating 
And advance, retreat, advance, retreat and dance in your own place
Round the house for the last time now your fleeting steps retrace
Shape the silence to a golden reel and dance away all care
Through the night I hear your whisper, "dance a set for me in Clare"

          From A Winter's Tear by Tim Dennehy

Clarecastle singer and hurler Dean Power
image courtesy of Clare Champion

The last time I was in Power's Bar in Clarecastle was the occasion of the farewell concert of local tenor Dean Power prior to his departure for a young artist's position at  the Bavarian State Opera. As Dean shared the stage with some of the world's finest international opera stars in  his role of Nathaneal in the Tales of Hoffmann, fellow members of the Clarecastle  Singers Club  gathered in the local bar for the 12th annual session last Friday night in one of the events of the Ceili at the Crossroads Festival. 

If you haven't been to one , singers' sessions or clubs are a very particular type of musical evening. The emphasis is very much on the solo unaccompanied voice and instrumentals are rarely a feature. At the ones I have attended , the song selection has been in a traditional mode usually in  English. They are presided over by an MC or  a Fear an Tí who calls for order and calls on contributers in turn and generally keeps proceedings moving along smoothly. This makes this type of evening a bit easier to navigate than the musicians session where the etiquette isn't so apparent. In contrast to many choirs in the area, there was a greater proportion of gentlemen than ladies voices.
Dancing at the crossroads photo Clare People

 I arrived at 9.30 pm to find the session in full flow with a gathering of more than a hundred singers and listeners.  Procedings I am told were opened by veteran singer Robbie McMahon,  the King of Spancillhill There were love songs, songs of young love thwtarted, and love gone awry   By far the most prevailing theme of the evening though was of emigrants  pining for home and happier times be it the Town of Killaloe,  the foot of Slieve Bloom ,  or the ole misty isle in general as in Isle of Hope  and the old family homestead in particular as in My Father's House  and This Old House   A visiting singer's song extolling the virtues of the  English Lake District echoed this theme as did the lovely  lilting Scottish Soldiers's Song .  There were political  ballads  and the ever popular anti war song Willie McBride . As the saying goes  'all our songs are sad'  and indeed there were relatively few humorous songs  but I enjoyed Phillip Brennan's self penned The Well oTobartaoscán and sport got a look in with Gerry McNamara's Let Hurling Win the Day  dedicated to the local Clarecastle GAA Club celebrating 125 years of existance .

 The songs came thick and fast with interludes of funny stories before finally a short break to gather breath. Fear an tí, Tim Dennehy resumed the session  with  the spoken word, a poem by Michael Coady from Carrick on Suir (reproduced below) and one of his own self penned songs , A Winter's Tear one of  the most powerful renditions of the evening. The were reminiscences on the late and much missed Peadar McNamara, long time host of the singers sessions in Clare . Last night as I was leaving at nearly midnight, local TD Joe Carey  was being called for  a song . I gather the singing went on til the early hours and everyone who wished to contribute was heard .  Fearr an Ti Tim Dennehy was assisted by Anne Whelan and there was excellent order for each contribution from the large gathering. A truly inclusive musical experience 

Listen to Deirdre Callinan Griffin singing and talking about  sean nós tradition  at a workshop in Clarecastle on Saturday morning.

Though There are Torturers
by Michael Coady
Though there are torturers in the world,
There are also musicians.
Though, at this moment,
Men are screaming in prisons
There are jazzmen raising storms
Of sensuous celebration
And orchestras releasing
Glories of the Spirit.
Though the image of God
Is everywhere defiled
A man in West Clare
Is playing the concertina,
The Sistine Choir is levitating
Under the dome of St.Peter’s
And a drunk man on the road
Is singing for no reason

This is a rough list of participants and songs 930 to 12.00 . All details may not be accurate
Maire O Donoghue  Love Song  Michael White Chapel Gate of Curraclare Rebecca Griffin My Forever Friend  Charlie Landsborough , Helge Belgium, Young Siobhan Cunningham Crusheen, Joe Downey Isle of HopeTriona Marrinan O Grady  Hannah, by the roving of her eyeGerry Abraham The Orange and Green, Mick ScanlonThe Town of  Killaloe,  Gerry McNamara Let Hurling Win the Day,  Darren Richmond Cumbria SongAnne Whelan Love Song Can you hear me London Town,  Phillip Brennan The Well of Tobairteascain , Hugh Kearney , Joe Kearney   Funny tales,   Peter O Connell In my Fathers House PJ Fitzpatrick MyOld Sligo Home,  Ger Carrigg My home at the foot of Slieve Bloom,  Donal Kenny Robert Emmet,  Michael Whelan Scottish Soldier Song Mary Clancy Song of Emigration ,  Noirin Lynch Love Song, Cathy Desmond Love is Teasin'
Related articles
The Raw Bar  Festival of Traditional Singing

The Singer and the Song Willie Clancy Week  2012

Come the Sails   Michael Coady was one of the featured poets

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tony Miceli MJQ Tribute at Dolans

Following on from the David Friedman gig ,  Limerick Jazz Society  brought us another excellent vibraphone virtuoso for a gig at Dolan's Upstairs lounge.  Tony Miceli from Philadelphia fronted a recreation of the line up of The  Modern Jazz Quartet,  not a genre heading but title of an influential ensemble established in the early 50's and active on and off until the 90's.  The line up  included  Limerick man John Daly on drums, Phil Ware, piano and  bassist  Dan Bodwell. There was a good range of tempos in the set list from the frenetic Cherokee to the more restrained Blues in C minor The set list included Bags Groove, a piece named after a nickname of Milt Jackson, the vibraphone player and founder of the MJQ.  The treatment of a protest anthem opening with a slow piano exposition by Phil Ware was a highlight.The group are embarking on a short tour of Ireland and patrons can expect a very cool sophisticated set with fine ensemble playing from the quartet and effortless virtuosity from front man Miceli . Catch them in Limerick , Wexford  and Dublin later this week.

A clip of the original  Modern Jazz Quartet

Monday, July 16, 2012

Live Opera from Munich & Aix-en Provence to your armchair

Munich Calling - Gotterdammerung 


I have often enjoyed listening via RTELyricFM  to live radio  broadcasts from the Met  on Saturday nights. It adds to the pleasure  for me  to know that the experience is  at that very moment  being shared on two sides of the Atlantic whether from a position at the sink in my kitchen in the West of Ireland or in a plush seat in the parterre of a prestigious opera house in New York.
There was a feast of live opera  experiences  accessible  to anyone with an internet connection  as two compelling live opera events were screened this weekend.  On Sunday night, I watched the first and last acts of  Gotterdammerung live from Munich Opera House. The burning stage set in the third set looked incredible. How lovely to see the artists coming to the steps for a final 'curtain call'  for the crowd watching in Max-Joesph Platz.

Curtain Call on steps of  Munich Opera House
My review of an evening spent at the Bavarian State Opera here

On Saturday afternoon , the final performance of Written on Skin, a new work given a world premiere at Festival d'Aix -en - Provence was screened live. I had difficulty watching  live   but switching to a larger 16  inch laptop and I was able to watch later  on demand without breaks in the picture. It will be available as one of the performers, Barbara Hannigan points out in this tweet for some months .  The links within the  embedded tweets work.  I attended the second night of this opera and my report is here Written On Skin Review.  My Fair Lady it ain't.

Grand Théatre de Provence
All this and the BBC Proms too. We enjoyed it the first night TV coverage on BBC2  with the wonderful Bryn Terfel and others . Sadly , My Fair Lady on Saturday night  was not televised but came in on BBC Radio 3 via internet connection .
I liked this blog post from Adrian's Blog on the first night telecast

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Singer and the Song at Willie Clancy Week

Young Buskers Miltwn Malbay - photo Cathy Desmond


I'll roam the deserts of wild Abyssinia And yet find no cure for my pain I'll go and enquire on the Isle of St. Helena No there we will whisper in vain Now tell me ye critics now tell me in time The nation I'll range my sweet linnet to find Was he slain at Waterloo or at Elba on the Rhine If he was I shall never see him more
     The Green Linnet

The Willie Clancy Summer School, held annually in Miltown Malbay, Co Clare  is celebrating 40 years of activity dedicated to the memory of the influential uilleann piper. The format of classes, ceilis , lectures and concerts has remained reassuringly  unchanged over the years and on Friday I heard the afternoon of 'Traditional Singing in Irish & English' at the Community Hall.

Traditional Singing fromSean Garvey at Miltown Malbay Hall an Pobail
The singers in turn offered two numbers each from their sean nós reperoire of unaccompanied song. Pauline Hanley from Donegal was followed by Mary Smith from Isle of Lewis who sang lullabies in Scots Gaelic. Sean Garvey from Kerry gave us the Napoleonic song,  The Green Linnet and a song of emigration from Valentia by Sean Murphy . Representing the younger generation, Nell Ni Chrónín. a Cork singer in her early twenties had a lovely warm delivery in her lilting song. All gave short introductions to set the context and the provenance of the song. Young Scottish singer, Griogar Labhruaidh's  charming introduction to a song of cattle rustling in the Scottish Highlands was  as long and as much a part of the performance as the song itself. A piper himself, his vocal style imitated that instrument at times almost like scat singing.
What a pleasure to hear Ulster Singer, Len Graham, surely one of the most authoritave voices in the sean nós tradition . His powerful  delivery of The Wee Lass on the Brae and a North Antrim version of The Parting Glass were a highlight of the afternoon. Mike Flynn represented Clare and closed the proceedings with his rendition of The Rocks of Bawn

Gown and Parchment for late Muiris O Rochain cofounder 

This was music stripped to its barest elements, a solo voice unsupported by any instrument telling  stories.  Perhaps the most notable aspect of the afternoon was the intensity with which the audience of locals and international visitors listened to each singer to catch every nuance in the lyric. It was the same intensity which surrounded me in an audience  in a packed French Theatre last week for a new opera production at the prestigious Festival d'Aix. While the forces and scale may have been different, the impulse of storytelling through song and the eagerness to listen were the same in the  Grand Theatre de Provence and Halla an Pobail , Miltown Malbay
Here's to the next 40 years of Willie Clancy Festivals in Clare. Long may it prosper.

Shop Window Ben Lennon Fiddler centre

Other related posts you might enjoy The Raw Bar Festival of Singing in Clare

For the Great Gaels of Ireland are the man that God made mad, for all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

48 hours at leOFF 2012 at Avignon - Cinq Spectacles

La vie OFF

 Avignon  Cinq Spectacles at  le OFF 

Best Show                     Operetta Cor de Teatre Barcelona Theatre de Beliers *****

Highly Recommended En Chantier Le Poubelles Boys Palais Royale ****
                                    Mon Violon s'apelle Raymond  Place Theatre   ***
                                    Les 2 G                                      Theatre de Balcon ***

Only if you must        Tango Mon Amour                     Theatre de Balcon *

Best show Operetta video clip here

So many shows- where shall we go tonight dear?
We arrived in Avignon on the eve of the annual garguantan theatre festival  . The Provencale city, famous for its Palais des Papes  and a bizarre bridge becomes a powerful magnet for every theatrical  and musical troupe in France and beyond it seems as the city is transformed into ‘le plus grand theatre du monde’ for three weeks in July. Like Edinburgh, the city is host to an official festival with large scale entertainments and a sprawling fringe festival.  My focus was on the fringe festival  known as  le OFF. During le OFF, the city host to 1,200 separate acts with something in the region of 12,000 performers  crammed within its walls during the three week festival , most of whom seemed to be promenading about in their costumes at all hours of the day or night in an effort to attract any undecided punters to ‘aller a leur spectacle’.  There appears to be a theatrical space  on every street and any venue satisfying basic minimum requirements can be transformed into a performing space.

First stop was the tourist office, to grab the programme of telephone directory proportions and then began the arduous  process of sifting through the offerings to devise a plan of attack, thirsty work requiring some glasses of rosé while  weeding out the Moliere from the Music Hall.  As it was officially the eve of the festival, most of the shows were listed to open the next day but most were offering free admission to the dress rehearsals.  So having disregarded any purely theatrical offerings as my French is not up to it or one man shows, here is my selection of the spectacles I saw at OFF 2012

On Friday at Palais Royal I was enchanted by the Poubelles Boys who have fashioned a highly entertaining song and dance show, En Chantier’  using items readily available at any builders providers outlet. Pure music hall in style, featuring slapstick comedy with the usual straight man format augmented with a duo of funny men who sang , danced and produced such amazing sounds from scrap heap materials that I found it hard at first to believe there were no backing tracks involved .  We were entertained in the fil d’attente by a German jazz quartet , who in a  reversal of theatrical order  had an impressive selection of real instruments including  upright piano on wheels and acoustic double bass.

210.30 on Saturday morning might seem a little early to hear opera singers at their best but I was mesmerised by Operetta from Catalan Company , Cor de Teatre at Beliers Theatre .  A large cast by OFF standards featuring 25 singers, the show was a jukebox melange of opera arias and hilarious theatrical humour.   In a novel  opening, a cast member enters bearing a piano on her back, from which the rest of the company gradually emerge and eventually retreat back into at the finale . In between, we hear popular arias interpreted in a series of hilarious theatrical sketches. Bellini's Casta Diva is delivered as mini biopic of Callas unfolds, Traviata’s Drinking Song becomes  a shambolic dress  rehearsal and the Habanera from Carmen is accompanied by a coughing and sneezing ‘audience’.  I loved the simplicity of the company mimicking an orchestra in the William Tell overture and the transformation of the company into a cycle  race pack and entourage was perhaps the funniest  of all. Not everything worked for me .   An aria from Samson and Delila was just too lovely to  fit the heavy ballerina sketch and the bobbing chorus in the number from Tannhauser made me feel a little seasick. The  company appeared to be hugely enjoying themselves on stage . This was by far the most entertaining show I have seen in two years at OFF and ironically although a piano is a featured prop the singing is entirely acappella . Sometimes simple things are best.

A Marriage of Figaro at Petit Louvre was a little too Beaumarchais and too little Mozart for my poor grasp of declaimed French. The  theatre company Comédiens & Compagnie was, I assume very much in traditional Commedia dell'Arte syle and featured very fort voce delivery,  white faces, masks and seemed a little long at over an hour an a half without a break. 

A nostalgic show that openly declared its allegiance to Music Hall was Les 2 G featuring  Denis D’Arcangelo and Jean Luc Revol as Georges and Gaétan  , two music hall  artists presenting their farewell concert and while I couldn’t follow all the dialogue, there was sense of great charm and excellent showmanship  and they evoked memories of Morecambe and Wise. The was a  familiar number How Much is that Doggie in the Window en francais of course in a series of songs on a  canine theme. They were wonderfully well supported by two musicians on piano and accordion . Even for an anglophone there was plenty to enjoy.

5Tango Mon Amour later at the same theatre de Balcon, was the disappointment of the day .  Although billed as a tango a trois, two performers, Octavio de la Rosa and the wonderfully alliterative Camilla Colella both 'far too sexy for their shirts'  danced at rather than with each other  in their undies  for a tedious hour  long presentation and it was far too’ imaginative ‘ to feature too much of anything as clichéd as classic couple dancing and a decent frock.  They seemed to have borrowed a few buckets  from the Poubelles boys which in lime green plastic  took the look off their monochrome theme somewhat. Interesting to note  that the backing track featured Kirsty McColl’s version of Libertango.

5 Finally before leaving on Sunday, I caught a charming and funny show ‘Mon Violon s’appelle Raymond’  in one of the spaces of the Palace Theatre . I had some misgiving about this one as it was billed as a one man show  which I usually avoid so I was delighted to see two performers on stage   with straight  man Jean Claude, pianist  as foil to funny man Kordion Heretynski on violon. Like the 'Operetta' we got lots of well  known numbers from a number of genres together with mad cap humour with parodies of Richard Clayderman and Andre Rieu wrapped up in virtuoso musicianship .

There were some familiar shows from last year's programme with Road Movie, Cello Sur Canape and Beethoven ce Manouche all featured again this year
Off parade 

Reading the local press reports, there seems some concern at the continued expansion year on year and the extent of the  festival is somewhat overwhelming. The sheer logistics of programming and marketing must be challenging.  I can report that two Irish acts featured on then programme although not due in town til later in the festival. They were chanteur Peadar King from Inish Boffin  and John Scott, Irish Modern Dance Theatre.    There were some shows in English but only one company from the UK was listed in the fringe , no doubt the draw of  the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the opposite pole  of the Monde Theatricale proving an equally magnetic draw for those North of the Channel.  

See my guest blogger's review of Master and Margerita at the official Festival d'Avignon

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Written On Skin at Aix 'Moderne mais bon'

Christopher Purves, Bejun Mehta, Barbara Hannigan

'Shatter the printing-press.
Make each new book a precious object
written on skin.'

There was quite a buzz in the  Grand Theatre de Provence for the much anticipated new opera, Written On Skin, in English  by composer George Benjamin and librettist Martin Crimp  trailed as a new contemporary masterpiece.

The plot taken from an ancient local fable* is described by Martin Crimp on the publisher's website thus;

      ‘A rich landowner invites an artist into his house to make an illuminated book. He wants the book to immortalise in pictures both the violent operation of his political power and his peaceful enjoyment of domestic order – embodied by the humility and child-like obedience of his wife, Agnès. But the making of the book becomes a catalyst for the woman’s rebellion. After her first successful experiment in seduction, she exploits her new intimacy with the illuminator to influence the contents of the book itself – forcing her husband to see her as she really is – and laying the ground for an extraordinary final act of defiance.’
(Martin Crimp).

For the telling of this unremmitingly bleak  tale of the power, passion and oppression, the stage design uses a device of a two tiered set  divided into several chambers . There is a fracturing of time frames with honeyed  lighting and medieval costumes for the 13 century retelling contrasting with the flourescent lights and monochrome research lab setting of the contemporary chambers.  The characters, the main protaganists are joined by 'angels' and four other extras in modern dress who move between the spaces and busy themselves with scholarly tasks simultaneously with the main unfolding action of the bleak tale.  While this means there is always something to look at, it is distracting and it does rather diminish the shock of the murder somewhat when the victim appears upstairs, nonchalantly ambling around a few moments later in the 20th century. Strange  also is the device of the characters singing about themselves in the third person despite there being extra singers on hand to do the work of narration .

Clayton, Mehta, Loeb photo Boris Horvat AFP

A student of French composer Messiaen, Benjamin's  orchestration delivered by the full scale  Mahler Orchestra is very interesting, a constantly changing palette supporting the on stage action. Unusual elements in the pit were Harmonica de verre (GlassHarmonica) and Bass Viole de Gambe and mandolin. For such a bleak and sexually charged tale there is much use of woodwind and brass bass timbres in dramatic moments. Of the cast, for me, the countertenor Bejun Mehta is perhaps the most compelling voice. One can believe it is the voice of an angel  and the duets with soprano Barbara Hannigan are beautiful. Baritone, Christopher Purves* as the Protector sings so well, you can't  hate him too much despite his unsympathetic role. 

In contrast to last years' perfunctory applause following a production at LArcheveché, last night's performance was greeted with sustained applause and there were about half a dozen curtain calls and a standing ovation for the nine strong cast, joined on stage by Benjamin and Crimp.

Among the capacity house at this relatively new space was the conductor Charles Dutoit. The verdict of the post show cognoscenti?- Moderne, mais bon!

Note on Venue Grand Theatre de Provence.

We found it tricky to locate the venue which is in the modern  commercial district of town. Arriving at the office at L'Archeveché Theatre, no venue map was available for the festival and it was a hot and sticky walk to the Tourist Office to get our bearings. On arriving early at the theatre, I could find no obvious entrance as  the entrance is concealed behind circular metal  metal gates which open one hour before the performance.  This is not a space that lends itself to lingering in for  apres opera chat and  within fifteen minutes of final curtain call, the audience had cleared the theatre and moved to the attractive circular space contained within the gates.  Legroom was not generous and taking your seat in the centre of a row minutes before curtain up was a bit of an effort. 

Some afterthoughts Comments added 13th July 
* The fable  by Guillem de Cabestany Le Coeur Mangé

*Tickled pink to read that Christopher Purves sang with Harvey and the Wallbangers, a band I remember seeing in the Shaw Theatre, London in the early 80's 

The opera will be screened live tomorrow 14th July at 4.00 GMT Link here  It will be available for a few months.

I enjoyed this review from Fench critic Jacques Drillon Le Nouvel Observateur .

Telegraph review from Liam Cagney here

Monday, July 9, 2012

Master and Margarita in Le Palais des Papes, Avignon

By Guest Blogger John Hartery

The spectacular courtyard of The Palace of the Popes in Avignon was the  backdrop for the extraordinary production by Complicite of The Master and Margarita. It marked the opening of the Official Avignon Festival that runs for 3 weeks in July each year. The performance is a sell out for the run.  It played without a break for just over 3 hours  to 2,000 people. It was quite a feat of ambition to stage such a play in such an arena. It worked.
The venue's the thing -Palace de Papes, Avignon

The drama written by Edward Kemp and director Simon McBurney is  based on  the Russian,  Mikhail Boulkakov’s novel of the same name.  The book was written in the 1930’s and is allegorical opus that blends thinly veiled references to Stalin and state control of its citizens with God & the Devil. How the novel  saw the light of day, including the fact that his wife completed It  is a story in itself. The programme notes describe it as ‘Bulgakov’s poetic, political maelstrom of a novel’. The queue to buy the original work after the event was revealing.

The giant 30 metres, or so, courtyard wall of the venue was the canvas upon which high quality video projection was deployed to support the action in the most creative ways. Think attending a giant outdoor 3D movie where the dialogue and acting was by real people. 
Master and Margarita

The sound was extraordinary  and one of the stars of the night from the  noise of a door creaking  to the teeth jarring squealing of tram cars resonating and echoing within the confined space of the auditorium. It created  the increasing threat of menace as the one dastardly deed followed another.
The plotline concerned a novelist who has written a manuscript involving Pontius Pilot and Jesus Christ. The novel’s conceit of Pontius Pilot adjudicating on Jesus is then woven throughout the drama. The Devil dominates the evening.  At first,  he is played as a Stalin type figure who deploys his henchmen to murder and incarcerate ordinary citizens. He then  reappears in the Pontius Pilot and Jesus story  and participates in the good versus evil debate.
The human element to the story concerns the novelist who has written a book about ‘mercy’  and  falls in love with Margarita. She calls him the Master   after reading the work. He is incarcerated in a mental home where we see a Kafkaesque scene of attempting to prove sanity. 

Along the way there were beheadings, a foul-mouthed cat, galloping horses, a hanging,  a crucification  and lots  of other grim and philosophical bits. But hey!, it deals with tough times and lfe and death issues.

Paul Rhys as the Master and the Devil was outstanding.   Cesar Sarachu  played the sympathetic and gentle but persuasive Jesus Christ. 

The play was directed by Simon McBurney and has recently finished a run   in London. 


Saturday, July 7, 2012

'Corps et Ombres'. In the Frame; Caravaggio in Montpellier

There is a special place in  Irish art lovers' hearts  for 17th century Italian painter, Caravaggio
The discovery of the the masterpiece, 'The Taking of Christ',  implausibly hanging over a fireplace in Dublin was much reported on in the press in 1993 and  the painting turned up recently on the much talked about RTE series, The Nation's Favourite Picture, chosen by popular local hero, Ken Doherty. Quite the Renaissance man himself, the Dublin international snooker star has a penchant for the contents of frames other than those on the green baize.  Further unexpected finds of the Italian Master have been reported this week from Milan, although experts remain sceptical. Reading this article in the Irish Times,  whatever about the provenance of the paintings, it seems very unlikely that a team of experts managed to keep the find  under their hats for two years

 By all accounts, he was bit of a  bowsie (Caravaggio, not our Ken) and prone to a bit of a schmozzle as they say in sporting circles, and even though he refused to take an apprentice, jealously guarding his techniques for producing his innovative  chiaroscuro effects,  he could be said to have founded a school of painting malgré lui. 

The Fabré Museum in Montpellier is currently showing an exhibtion  Corps et Ombres (literally , Bodies and Shadows) dedicated to the painters work and those of his followers. The exhibition is an initiative of FRAME a collaborative venture between regional French and American galleries. 

The vivid, rather gruesome Tarantinoesque display of extra large canvases  on several floors of the Fabre Gallery was impressive. The themes were mostly religious with a preoccupation with severed heads  either Goliath after his tete a tete with David and St John the Baptist  having got on the wrong side of Salomé. The Security Guards seemed to be on high alert, no doubt mindful of the unfortunate mishap with a Monet in Dublin this week . 
Sacrifice of Isaac

The Fabre Museum is housed in an  attractive leafy boulevard in the Southern regional capital.  There was a choice of attractive lunchtime spots and we enjoyed the entertainment provided by this trio of buskers at Cafe Illona  We stayed in the nearby seaside resort of Palevas- les -Flots   where our hosts  at Le Cigaliere   Hotel    spoke warmly  of their fishing trip to the Shannon region.  

listen to ‘Buskers in Montpellier, France July 2012’ on Audioboo

listen to ‘Buskers in Montpellier, France July 2012’ on Audioboo

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ennis Cathedral End of Term Choral Endeavours

The Cathedral Choir under director , Michael Hennessy, rounded off their season with a concert at Ennis Cathedral with special guests, Holy Family Chamber Choir
and soprano  Helen Houlihan at Cathedral Of St Peter & Paul on Thursday 28th June 
Following a set by the junior guests, the choir sang numbers by Karl Jenkins, Faure and  Billy Joel, finishing with a number from Fiddler on the Roof . Helen in terracotta ensemble sang a dream sequence of numbers including Beautiful Dreamer, I Dreamed a Dream (Les Mis) and The Quest  from Man of La Mancha (To Dream the Impossible Dream)
The orchestra were led by Hugh Connolly and cathedral organist, Leon Walsh opened the evening with a rousing War March of the Priests by Mendelssohn.

Ennis Street Festival: Art Exhibition June 29th 2012

Juggling  on Ennis Streets Ana Colomer 

Driving past the cathedral on Friday evening, I noticed a flurry of activity in Tom Mannion's travel agency premises. Closer inspection revealed  a gathering of amateur artists of Ana Colomer’s and José Croft’s art groups and their supporters,  celebrating the end of year exhibition . The walls were adorned with the work of a dozen or so artists, most of them in attendance to receive compliments. I spoke to Mary McMahon whose beautiful botanical study of waterlillies owed something to Monet. Among the other paintings that caught my eye was Thea's painting of  fiddlle player, John Sheehan.  There was a splendid cake in the style of artists' easel and as I was leaving piper, Mick  Coyne had arrived with some pals hinting at more merriment to follow.  On the way out, I met councillor Johnny Flynn, not an exhibitor but  a supporter of Ennis Street Festival since its' inception seven years ago.  I can report that there was a great buzz at this evening celebrating an arena of Clare's artistic endeavour . Bravo! Let me know when the next showing is .