Tuesday 25 October 2016

Other Voices, Dingle review: 'an ideal vehicle for an artist to reinvent themselves to be a bit bolder and bigger'

Published 07/12/2015 | 10:40

Glen Hansard at Other Voices
Glen Hansard at Other Voices

Other Voices has come a very long way since its inception in 2003. It launched in Dingle as a low key late night television series focusing on Irish singer songwriters presented by Glen Hansard and Jerry Fish. Now, it often takes leave of its Kerry home and tours the festival circuit.

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The Kerry festival has taken some intriguing risks over the years, giving a stage to Amy Winehouse and Florence + The Machine when the world didn't know their name.

Gaz Coombes at Other Voices
Gaz Coombes at Other Voices

The 2015 instalment features the return of the Oscar winning Hansard alongside Gaz Coombes, formerly of Britpop group Supergrass, and a minimalist slow-core trio from Duluth Minnesota called Low.

The free music trail completely takes over the town’s bars and venues, while the Skelligs hotel hosts an international tourism, arts and culture conference. In terms of the music, Glen Hansard, Richard Hawley, Limerick rock trio Bleeding Heart Pigeons, Low and Mahalia Music headline the ‘main stage’ in St John’s Church on Saturday night. Oscar winner Hansard captures the essence of the event, delivering a set of songs from his recent album Didn’t He Ramble alongside some wonderful stories about long nights out and a touching tribute to his late father entitled ‘Pay My Way’.

Mahalia Music at Other Voices
Mahalia Music at Other Voices

Richard Hawley used to be a member of Britpop band the Longpigs, and also served a stint with Shefflied band Pulp. He strips it back to the bare essentials for his Other Voices appearance for an acoustic set complete with some musings on the ingredients of a full Irish breakfast and other matters.

Dublin band Overhead, The Albatross pack a few hundred people into tent for a swoon-some Sunday afternoon set of apocalyptic post-rock that also knows how to be tender and touching. Gaz Coombes look incredibly dapper with his fez hat and natty threads. His music is equally as smart, beautifully showcasing his Mercury nominated solo album Matador. It illustrates how this is an ideal vehicle for an artist to reinvent themselves to be a bit bolder and bigger, just like Other Voices itself.

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