Corp_Real – Galway Dance Days Festival, which runs from this Friday, April 8, Sunday April 10, celebrates its fifth birthday with an eclectic mix of contemporary and Irish step dance from international and Irish companies, created by established and emerging choreographers. The Festival will also host a Dance Artist Survival Toolkit workshop for professional dance artists.
A highlight of the weekend will be a double-bill from French company, Compagnie Nacera Belaza at the Black Box Theatre this Saturday. The award-winning duet Le Cri, recognised by the French Critics Union as the “choreographic revelation of the year”, will feature, alongside ensemble work Sur le Fil.
This company is run by self-taught Algerian choreographer Nacera Belaza, whose 20-year career has seen her progress from creating dances in her bedroom to being fêted world-wide. She received the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in 2015 in recognition of her contributions to the art-form. Belaza’s work evokes spiritual as well as artistic journeys, and draw from traditional Algerian dances and sacred rituals. Using a minimalistic aesthetic, she plays with time, seeking that point at which, “the body no longer limits”, to create hypnotic, beautiful works.
Connecting the traditional and contemporary is also a feature of Breandán de Gallaí’s work. This performer, choreographer, academic and television presenter is a giant presence in Irish step-dance, and has played a major role in bring Irish step-dance into the contemporary arts lexicon. His company Ériú will premiere Single…Jig? at the Black Box Theatre this Friday, April 8.
As a performer, de Gallaí achieved global recognition as principal dancer in Riverdance. As a choreographer, he pushes the boundaries of Irish step-dance, with large-scale works such as contemporary Irish dance ballet Rite of Spring, the multi-award nominated Nochtú, and this year’s Linger, which tackled sexuality and ageing. As New York’s The Villager stated, he “turns Irish step dancing into a movement vocabulary that can express a full range of emotion, not just virtuosic display”.
In his new work, Single…Jig?, de Gallaí partners with soundscape designer Paddy Mulcahy and an ensemble of Ériú dancers to take on the theme of being single in the digital age, creating a tale of uploaded personal profiles more in line with who people think they should be rather than who they really are.
Oona Doherty will share this double-bill with de Gallaí to perform in a special edition of her work HOPE HUNT. Doherty’s searing, brutally physical style has led her to be regarded as one of the most exciting choreographer/performers of her generation. HOPE HUNT reveals a gritty, urban aesthetic, and is a virtuosic hunt for truth and hope in a journey through European stereotypes of masculinity.
This year’s Corp_Real – Galway Dance Days symposium, The Dance Artists Survival Toolkit, is dedicated to the artists themselves.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be
Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.
The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.
It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.
Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.
People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.
The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.
The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at Eventbrite.ie.
All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh
Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.
It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.
The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023. Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.
Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.
Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.
On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.
Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.
For more information on the County Fleadh, go to www.galwaycomhaltas.ie.
Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday
Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.
This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.
This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as ‘language and movement at the same time’.
Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31. These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.
■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at www.musicforgalway.ie, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.