Monday 11 December 2017

Culture club: Cool arts events taking place around the Fleadh

Sligo's vibrant arts scene will also be getting in on the Fleadh act, with some special shows, events and exhibitions. By Martha Kearns

The Virtual Trad Orchestra is an ambitious project that combines technology and traditional music
The Virtual Trad Orchestra is an ambitious project that combines technology and traditional music

There will be céilís, family and lunchtime events, cinema screenings, talks, readings, walks, tours, exhibitions and late-night music sessions.

Sligo has always had a strong tradition of culture and the county's arts centres are putting on impressive events to coincide with Fleadh Cheoil na héireann.

The town's prinicpal arts centres - including the Hawk's Well Theatre, The Model and The Factory Performance Space - ahave strong programmes all year.

The Fleadh, however, has provided an opportunity to showcase some special performances.

One of the headline events is The Virtual Trad Orchestra, an ambitious traditional music project at the Hawk's Well Theatre that will digitally bring musicians together from all over the world to perfom the quintessential Sligo anthem, Down by the Salley Gardens.

The ground-breaking initiative will see the world's finest traditional singers and musicians - including Maura O'Connell (pictured right) - play the song live, joined digitally by performers from all over the world.

Musical contributions are invited to be uploaded to before July 27 and the Hawk's Well will curate the submissions into one spectacular collaborative live performance on August 16.

The Virtual Trad Orchestra project will form part of the final night of Fleadh celebrations at the Hawk's Well and will include a host of musicians and singers including Maura O'Connell, Gerry O'Beirne, Seamus Begley, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Pauline Scanlon, with many special guests expected to drop in.

Also at the Hawk's Well is a special performance of The Second Coming, which was greeted with worldwide acclaim following its premiere last year. This truly original performance, which is a co-production between the Hawk's Well Theatre and Fidget Feed Aerial Dance Company, features Irish traditional music and dance, theatre, film and aerial dance. Inspired by W.B. Yeats, it features an original live score by Michael Rooney and is directed by Mikel Murfi.

Traditional music will take over at the Hawk's Well for the week with lunchtime and evening performaces every day of the Fleadh. Some of those performing include Cathy Jordan, Oisín MacDiarmada, Brian Fitzgerald, Michael Rooney, LOKI, Danú, Liam O'Flynn, Paddy Glackin, Seamie O'Dowd and Flook. Fleadh Fusions 2015, on August 10, includes performances from some of Sligo's young traditional musicians.

"There is something for everyone this year - from a host of children's events and lunchtime concerts to the wonderful evening performances and late-night music sessions in the bar. It's going to be a special week," said Hawk's Well Director Marie O'Byrne. "One performance I am particularly looking forward to is The Second Coming. It's a beautiful show and we are thrilled to bring it back to Sligo this summer."

The Model, which is home of The Niland Collection, is focusing on a family-friendly Fleadh.

As well as its ongoing exhibitions, it has a range of fun performances, workshops, film and activities suitable for all ages, including a mini céilí, a family concert with Kila and daily tours of the exhibitions at 2pm.

"The Model is delighted to welcome back Fleadh Cheoil na héireann to Sligo and we are thrilled to apart of it," said The Model director, Megan Johnston. "The Model always run great exhibitions, concerts and events. However, the Fleadh gives us the opportunity to engage more with traditional Irish music, particularly from the perspective of children."

The Model will host the IFI Children's Film Festival; An Cósán Glás, an illuminated lantern-making workshop as well as a mini ceili that will feature young ceili dance groups but will also include a soft play area and art activities.

Other highlights inlcude Hot Potato, an outdoor street spectacle featuring circus and theatre on August 15.

At The Factory Performance Space, Sligo Youth Theatre's production of Diddledee Eye My Eye will run all week with two performances a day from August 11 to 15.

There will also be a exhibition of new work from contemporary visual artist Bettina Seitz. The Trembling of the Veil is inspired by the theatre - including At The Hawk's Well and The Only Jealousy of Emer - of W.B. Yeats.

Irish Independent

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