Saturday 16 December 2017

The pleasure list: Come along and let Nina put a spell on you

Tribute: Karen Underwood will perform her show 'The Nina in Me' at the National Concert Hall next Saturday. Photo: Mac Sweeney/Provision
Tribute: Karen Underwood will perform her show 'The Nina in Me' at the National Concert Hall next Saturday. Photo: Mac Sweeney/Provision

Nina Simone had a difficult life, characterised by depression, illness and unhappiness in a violent marriage. She also had a voice that could express heights and depths of heartache, love, joy and sorrow.

Driven by a determination to tell the truth about life as she saw it through her songs, she became one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th century, and a key figure in the American Civil Rights movement.

Classically trained, she originally wanted to be a pianist, but was rejected by the whites-only music schools she applied to. Instead, she played in a bar for money, and sang to accompany herself.

On Saturday July 25, in the National Concert Hall, Karen Underwood, one of the country's foremost talents in jazz, blues, and soul, tells the story of her own and Nina's life, through Simone's most famous songs, with John O'Brien, Karen's decade-long partner in music, as both pianist and director.

The Nina in Me is a musical adventure that tackles religion, race and sexuality in both America and Ireland, as well as giving audiences the opportunity to hear some of the finest songs of the 20th century, in the kind of live setting they deserve.


Brown Thomas Create venture  showcases best in Irish design

Brown Thomas's commitment to Irish design, innovation and creativity is a valuable resource for both designers and customers alike. This is the fifth year in which this fruitful collaboration has been formalised as Create, and, as a nod to the year of Irish Design, will feature up to 50 designers and makers across fashion, textiles and craft, on all floors of the Dublin store along with pop-ups in Cork, Limerick and Galway, until August 16th.

Among the wonderful artists on display is award-winning ceramicist Chloë Dowds, whose hand-thrown porcelain work uses forms that are directly influenced by the structure of the saxophone. Foxford Woollen Mills creates beautiful pieces by master craftsmen and is responsible for producing some of the world's finest weaves. Caulfield Country Boards is a family-run business in Meath, crafting a range of beautiful solid wood-cutting boards from hardwood timbers, while glass designers Kathleen and Keith Leadbetter have created a unique collection of Irish handmade glassware from their studio in Kilkenny.


Smart  designer style

We may have toned down our spending slightly during the years of recession, but we never lost our love of beautiful, designer things. Which is why Siopaella has been such a hit in the last while.

Set up in 2011 by Ella de Guzman, originally from Vancouver, in Canada, Siopaella is the place to go for 'gently used' designer bags, clothes and accessories. Now with three outlets in Temple Bar, broken up into luxury labels (Cecilia Street), new arrivals and homewares (Temple Lane) and high-end high street lines (Crow Street), it's the bags that really do it for us. Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Hermes, Prada, Marc Jacobs, and a host of other labels, all in excellent condition, and at far less than the original retail price.

And if you're in the mood for selling, not buying, Ella and her team offer cash for the designer gear that no longer makes it out of your wardrobe often enough to keep. Currently looking for more boutique possibilities, around Ireland and abroad, Ella is a dynamic response to curtailed circumstances.

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