Kerry finds its voice in London

spreading the word about the kingdom

Marian o'Flaherty

KERRY found its voice in the heart of London's East End at the weekend as seminal music series Other Voices, which has nurtured a global following from St James's Church, Dingle, over the past decade, found a new platform on the stage of the historic Wilton's Music Hall in London.

It has been a year like no other for Other Voices and its founder Philip King who began this year's journey in Dingle last December before embarking on a maiden voyage to the 2013 City of Culture, Derry, in February and London last on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Kerryman was delighted to be present at this unique event on its opening night in Wilton's Music Hall on Friday where presenter Aidan Gillen welcomed a stunning line-up of Laura Mvula, Stornaway and Laura Marling to the stage as their performances were streamed live online to a global audience.

"Here we are having travelled east to London, in the heart of the city, in this magical and beautiful building that's so full of history ... There is music in the walls here," said Philip King as he addressed an eclectic and diverse audience made up of people who travelled from Dingle and all over Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA to the Wilton Music Hall.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has made this journey possible for us to be here, it's fantastic to be able to join north, south, east and west – Dingle, Derry and London – together on this magical trip," he said.

The essence of the Dingle Other Voices experience was captured onstage with Caroline O'Connor's stage design and with each act availing of the unique acoustics of Wilton's it was a night to remember.

Dingle was certainly in the mouths of those present with many recalling their trip to perform in West Kerry - including Laura Marling who spoke eloquently of her time in West Kerry - along with those who were discovering the phenomenon for the first time.

Indeed some went to great lengths to be present in Wilton's last weekend, including Erica Schmidt who made the journey across the Atlantic from Boston to London, having first encountered Other Voices on a previous trip to Dingle.

With auxiliary events taking place in the Oliver Conquest and The Zeppelin Shelter on Leman Street, The Princess Alice on Commercial Street and the Barbican Camera Café & Bar on Beech Street, Dingle was well represented in London's East End as windows, adorned with images of performances in St James's, greeted Londoners as they went about their day to day business. The event also attracted a number of Irish people from all over who beat a path to the East End on Friday night to join in the craic, ceol agus comhluadar that was palpable on the streets.

Dingle's artistic talents were also represented as Ciara McKenna and Áine Ní Chíobháin hosted exhibitions of their work inspired by Other Voices at the Oliver Conquest and The Zeppelin.

Other Voices London continued over the weekend with live performances by Dexys, John Grant, Villagers, Imelda May, Soak and Matthew E White streamed live online around the world.

In capturing a moment in a small church in West Kerry, which in turn has translated into a global movement, it is amazing to think that Dingle has seen its unique culture bear influence on some of today's most note-worthy artists in cultural centres such as Derry and London. Philip King can rest assured that the legacy of Other Voices is guaranteed.


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