New Ross and Danville Municipal District in San Francisco are forging a Friendship City relationship which will be cemented by the staging of the Eugene O'Neill International Festival of Theatre in both areas during September and October.
To launch the initiative, the classical guitarist and County Wexford School of Music principal David Creevy will join the celtic jazz singer Melanie O'Reilly in representing Wexford in San Francisco at a special musical tribute to Ireland's national composer Turlough O'Carolan. The Eugene O'Neill Festival honours the famous Irish American playwright whose family came from Tinnerany.
O'Carolan was a blind harpist born in the same era as Bach who mixed European influences with haunting Irish melodies which he performed throughout Ireland. David Creevy has previously delighted American audiences with solo harp pieces of Carolan's melodies for classical guitar and is now collaborating with vocalist Melanie O'Reilly to bring the forgotten songs to life.
The duo will perform and give workshops in San Francisco from September 15 to September 20, culminating in a performance to launch the Eugene O'Neill International Festival of Theatre in Danville.
They will return to Ireland to perform at the Brandon House Hotel in New Ross in October when the festival transfers here for the first time, with plays presented on the Dunbrody Famine ship and in St. Michaels Theatre.
'We are excited to perform these Irish pieces in a unique way for Irish and American audiences' said Creevy who teaches classical guitar at the School of Music. 'The melodies are beautiful and the stories behind them range from love and joy to deep contemplation on life and death. They are deeply Irish of course but they transcend cultural ties by their universal themes'.
A graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama where he studied with John Feely, he was one of six guitarists from around the world selected to study with the heir to the legacy of Andres Segovia, Christopher parkening in Southern California. He has received standing ovations in US concerts, notably for his St. Patrick's Day O'Carolan recital.
Currently based between California and Ireland, Dublin-born Melanie O'Reilly has become one of Ireland's best known celtic jazz singers and composers. She performs extensively throughout the US, Scotland, Ireland and France. Her original compositions are often inspired by Irish themed stories as well as the works of Irish literary poets such as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Seán Ó Riordáin and James Joyce
She was a visiting Scholar/Musician in Residence at UC Berkeley and has been awarded an Artist Visa for 'extraordinary ability' by the US. She teaches 'The Irish Song Tradition' at the California Jazz Conservatory as well as Songwriting at Walton's School of Music, Dublin.