Tuesday 16 January 2018

From bad boy to choir boy -- Gillen scores new role

Gillen in Dingle
Aidan Gillen in Dingle yesterday
Ellie Goulding
Jarvis Cocker performs at last year's Other Voices festival in Dingle.
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

HE IS familiar to TV viewers as a top gangland figure but next weekend actor Aidan Gillen will be stepping into a new role.

The star of the RTE drama 'Love/Hate' and 'The Wire' is the new presenter of the concert series 'Other Voices', which takes place in Dingle next weekend.

This year, the line-up includes The Coronas, Glen Hansard and The Frames, Little Green Cars, Lisa Hannigan, Mick Flannery and Wild Beasts.

Mr Gillen, who is a real music enthusiast, didn't need much persuasion to become involved.

"I'm more than excited to be working on 'Other Voices' this year," he revealed.

"I only became an actor in the hope of one day getting on 'Desert Island Discs' and playing records -- but this is way better.

"I've spent a large part of the last few years at the end of the Dingle peninsula and witnessed first-hand how well this festival fits this place. Roll on December."

And although the event has had to take on board new partners for its survival, for its founder Philip King it's a labour of love.

"This is a small town. There's a great sense of music in it and it's a rich cultural resource. The artists that visit here sense that," Mr King told the Irish Independent.

And playing in the iconic St James's Church in the town is something of a must-do for people in the music industry.

In the past nine years, artists who have appeared there include Jarvis Cocker, Damien Rice, Snow Patrol, BellX1 and the late Amy Winehouse.

Mr King said: "Amy Winehouse was here in 2006 when she was 22 years of age.

"She was just so focused on her singing, in tip-top form, and sang as well as anyone I've ever heard in my whole life. She was truly remarkable.

"We've just finished a film, 'The Day That Amy Came To Dingle', that will be shown in January on the BBC's 'Arena' series."

This year, 'Other Voices' coincides with Dingle's 'Festival of Light', so there'll be plenty more than just live music for people to look forward to.

"We're talking about an intimacy, a warmth and an exchange that takes place for people who come here in real time," said Mr King.

"At the same time, we're using technology and working with really cutting-edge Irish companies to be able to deliver this around the town and then around the world."


St James's Church does not have a large capacity but the performances will be fed to big screens in a number of venues in the town, so those who weren't not lucky enough to win tickets for the church itself can still enjoy the music.

RTE ceased to fund 'Other Voices' three years ago but it did survive and found new partners in Intune, Failte Ireland, Imro and a team of volunteers whose commitment and generosity make this happen.

Mr King added: "We're trying to create a sense that things are possible if we pull together.

"The musicians give of their time for nothing and that's a remarkable gesture."

Irish Independent

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