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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Far Flung Trio at the Theatre Royal

Malachy Robinson : The Far Flung Trio Tour 2016 from on Vimeo.

Bach Sonata no 2 in A major
Kreisler La Folia Variations
Klezmer tunes inc Hava Nagi
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody
Bach Toccata & Fugue in D minor acc solo
Piazzola Two Tangos arr Wiebecke-Gottstein
C&W no Why Did You Leave Me
Edith Piaf La Vie en Rose Hymne l'Amour. L'Accordeoniste
Offenbach Overture to Orpheus
Encore: Cinema Paradiso theme Morricone

The Far Flung Trio finished their 2016 tour at the Theatre Royal, Waterford last night where they presented an eclectic entertaining set of repertoire. The bijou dimensions of the Victorian theatre suited the compact ensemble. The acoustic was fine and no amplification was required. Most of it worked very well. The folk origins of Liszt's  Hungarian Rhapsody were more apparent than in the virtuoso piano version. Dunne's arrangement of a famous Bach toccata reminded us that the accordion is essentially a portable organ. The only number that left me wanting more was the one that the trio did not arrange themselves. Piazzola demands the wheeze of a plaintive  reed evoking the spirit of an Argentinian  bandoneon. Spirited as the string duo rendition was , it lacked that vital colour. Robinson, a recent addition to the Hunka/ Dunne  duo proved his versatility in adding a vocals to a Buck Owens Country & Western number and a devilish  triangle to the Offenbach.

Too late to catch them on this tour but Theatre Royal has booked another chamber ensemble for April 16th. The Esposito Quartet with members drawn from the Irish Chamber Orchestra and RTE CO will perform work by their namesake, Schubert and Haydn.

More chamber music  recitals in March April via Waterford-Music who present Trio di Parma  and Chloe Hanslip with  Danny Driver upstairs in the Georgian Large Room. 



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mystery Man Paul Tiernan at the Coastguard Station

The name of singer songwriter Paul Tiernan was hitherto unknown to me. The poster pic of the artist in top hat and false music hall moustache suggested a performer with a theatrical sensibility and the addition of violinist Marja Gaynor, a major mover and shaker on the classical scene in Cork suggested a performer of some substance. The duo drew an near capacity house to the upstairs gallery at Tramore Coastguard Station on Friday night for a programme of bittersweet, elegant self penned songs (with a few covers) infused with the spirit of French chanson

A skilful player, Tiernan at times used his guitar like a percussion instrument, tapping the strings to release an eerie floating harmonic. His dark wry lyrics and appealing melodies reminded me at times of Randy Newman and Gilbert O Sullivan. He was wonderfully well-aided and abetted by the Gaynor who added mellifluous lines and Grapelli-esque riffs on violin. The whiff of a boulevard was evoked with interludes on a demonic melodica and drones on a gaudy concertina. Gaynor displayed her penchant for early music with a rumbustious Baroque partita.

Local lass, Anna McSweeney was in fine voice accompanying herself on guitar in a short supporting set.

A look through Tienan's biography shows an impressive music pedigree name checking big names among his  collaborators and citing excellent reviews from international music press.  He is promoting his 6th solo album, The Mystery of Others on this tour. If you've not heard him yet, let Paul Tiernan be a mystery to you no longer.  Do catch him on the remaining dates on this tour.

Thurs 25th Feb  White Horse Inn Ballincollig with Grainne Hunt and Marja Gaynor

Thurs 3rd March Hole in the Wall Kilkenny  with Marja Gaynor

Sunday 20th De Barras Clonakilty with The Vespertine Quartet

Monday, February 15, 2016

Joey Whelan & El Sombrero at the Copper Coast

It was a mucky, rain sodden night  in the South East on Saturday but there was slow release  of sunshine  over an evening of music , food, wine and chat at the Copper Coast Centre in the Waterford seaside village of Bonmahon.
It was my first trip to the centre, part of a UNESCO Global Geopark no less! The history of the  Bonmahon copper mining industry featured in a film shown at the Imagine Arts Festival in 2013and featured on this blog post Bonmahon copper minining on film . The centre housed in a converted church, makes for a convivial  performing space. We sat at long tables  under a vaulted timber ceiling sipping tempranillo . There are arched timber doors, a stone wall lining and a little bar in one corner.

The heat of a Spanish sun was conjured from a guitar by the fingers of Joey Whelan in two sets of works by Tarrega, Piazzola, Villa Lobos, Granados, Scarlatti, Albeniz and others, all performed from memory. Whelan added spoken programme notes and his performance was assured, very polished and quite enthralling.

The event was associated with West Waterford Food Festival and opened with an address from the chairman. There was food for body as well as the soul as during the interval,  Mexican nibbles were  served courtesy of  El Sombrero who operate out of Dunhill Eco Park.

It was an evening of many parts that combined to make a memorable  occasion. It was extraordinary, that while many live music events struggle to attract an audience, in this  relatively  remote part of West Waterford quite a way from any major conurbation,  on a miserable rainy evening, there was a audience of 50 patrons gathered. John Galloway was a gracious MC and  sombreros  off to Copper Coast manager, Catherine Kavanagh on a fabulous PR job.

El Sombrero: Javier Garduno & Michelle Comerford

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Irish Chamber Orchestra at the Mansion House

Pergolesi Salve Regina in C minor
Haydn from The Seven Last Words of Christ Introduzione: Maestoso ed Adagio Mozart Kommet her ihr frechen Suender KV 146
Haydn from The Seven Last Words of Christ Il Terremoto (The Earthquake)
Schubert Salve Regina D676
Schubert String Quartet in D minor D810 Death and the Maiden

The Irish Chamber Orchestra tried out a new  venue for their Dublin concert this week. moving into town from their more usual base at the RDS and bypassing the salubrious portals of the  NCH where I heard them last. There was a near capacity crowd and a lively buzz at The Round Room at the Mansion House. I almost got caught with the 7.30pm  start time and soprano Ailish Tynan was just finishing her introduction as I took my seat.

The room is a very large circular, domed space  and  the orchestra were placed at floor level at one end. While the acoustic is not as good as other venues I have heard them play in, it was in many respects, a more satisfying  evening. As soon as I could, I moved to an empty seat in the front row. Not only did this dramatically improve the sound effect but it was  a joy to watch conductor Gabor Takács Nagy direct his forces and observe the  rapport between him and the excellent soloist. Ailish Tynan's performance had a chamber music  sensibility,  her glorious  voice blending  like another instrument with the strings rather than soaring above them.  Mahler's arrangement of Schubert's string quartet, Death and the Maiden was vivid and exciting.

Audience and performers mingled during the interval. We met our soloist, Ms Tynan, in an aisle cooing over a very well behaved guide dog.  Des Keogh was  there to support his daughter, Oonagh. The German ambassador was in the house and  the Lady Mayoress attended wearing  her chain of office.

As always from the ICO there was superb musicianship and clearly great empathy between conductor and ensemble and it was pleasant to be in the city centre.  I would like to see the ICO experiment with the room, perhaps placing the ensemble in the centre with the audience placed around them. I would suggest making a bee line for the seats nearest the musicians for best  acoustic experience.


McLoughlin & McCarney at Tramore Coastguard Station

Treeline encored at Tramore Coastguard Station

Tony McLoughlin Singer songwriter
Tramore Coastguard Station has a marvellous location perched on the cliff at  the seaside town with a view of the sweep of Tramore bay. A café operates on the ground floor and the upper floor houses an art gallery and hosts occasional music gigs. The venue  offers a chatter free alternative to the pub and patrons are free to byob. To date I have heard veteran balladeer, Andy Irvine ,  the inimitable Francie White and his Omega 3 (plus 1) here and last night, songwriter Tony McLouglin held court at the venue joined by ace guitarist, Mick McCarney. McLoughlin  in jeans and cowboy boots and with a languid drawl in his mellow vocal delivery had an air of Nashville denizen in his rugged stage presence. The songs were good in a bluesy, country vein and easy on the ear. McLoughlin's set was much enhanced by Mick McCarney's skilful guitar obligados and interludes. The late Brian O Donnell was remembered in a dedication and  another  to local Green candidate Grace O Sullivan who was in the house.  Here is the PR blurb.

'The Irish performer and songwriter Tony McLoughlin has created a catalogue of literate songs that shine a spotlight in the dark corners of our real lives, while at the same time blending elements of country,folk,americana,and rock into his overall sound.His lived-in voice and captivating melodies can take you places you’ve never been before.’         (Hotpress Magazine).
Tony will be joined by Guitarist Mick McCarney who began his professional career in music in the 80’s playing with Donegal soul funk band ‘Quarterdeck’. He has since played with the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. ‘Naked Lunch'(Steely Dan Tribute band), Dolores Keane, Chiara Browne and Ben Reel.

While this was a good gig from a musical point of view, the paucity of audience did not help to create a lively ambiance or indeed can not have made it a profitable evening for the artists. Munster Express arts critic made these comments on the Tramore arts scene in a recent review '

'When this newspaper ran its Arts & Theatre look back at 2015, I had some emails from Tramore people who deplored the fact that I had not included the 'vibrant art community' at the Coast Guard Arts Centre. Looking back over my diary I found I had not received an invite from the Coast Guard Centre for months and I had thought it was going the way of some arts organisations. Apparently, I am no longer on their information or mailing/invite lists.

I have noticed that since arts events went from 'Arts Service' funding to a catch-all 'Tourism Development' funding, things seem to have deteriorated in Tramore.

I think the Coastguard Station is a great venue offering advantages over a pub setting but audiences will need to be wooed to this alternative in a concerted effort by  both the artists and the venue promoter.

Next week Paul Tiernan is joined by the fab Finnish violinist Marja Gaynor for a gig on Friday 19th . It looks very promising.