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Bringing music home during Covid-19 with glór

ITS doors may be closed, but glór has been doing its bit to meet the challenges of Covid-19 by bringing people together – from the safety of their own homes. Director of the Ennis arts venue Orla Flanagan believes that shared experiences are an important way of bringing light into these uncertain times.
With that in mind, the venue has launched glór sa Bhaile a new series of premier performances, bringing Clare’s finest artists direct from their homes to yours every Thursday evening at 8pm. Steo Wall and Jacinta Sheerin have already featured live from their home in Ennistymon with Katie Theasby set to feature this week.
Orla explains, “We wanted to create something unique to glór, where essentially by providing this platform for artists, we could pay them and support them in this particularly challenging time, whilst also importantly connecting with our great and loyal audiences in Clare and beyond, to promote the wonderful talent we have on our doorsteps in Clare. So the series glór sa Bhaile, which is a collection of short performances by artists connected to glór and Clare has emerged. We also felt that these days people are enjoying seeing inside people’s homes, seeing what hangs on the walls and how essentially we all live, and so we have asked each of the artists to choose a favourite spot in their home or garden as their ‘stage’.”
The artists’ premiere performances can be watched through Facebook Live, and on Youtube.
Orla admits that the lock-down has been difficult. “Particularly when we had to close up the building and ‘go dark’ which was very disappointing for a large number of performers, artists, promoters,  local arts organisations, as well of course for our staff. Our staff team is temporarily reduced to a small number who are working away at home busily managing the cancelled / postponed events, we had 59 events due until the end of May from closure, communicating with the public and bookers, and also contingency planning for the future as much as we can.”
She describes glór sa Bhaile as a “delightful project” to work on. “I started with a massive wish list of artists –  my limited budget forced my hand in making a short list, and the artists so far have been really enthusiastic and up for the challenge. And whilst some of the line up are very experienced performers, the online platform is pretty new, so there is a learning curve involved, for me included, which adds an exciting new energy to it. Also I think in the main artists are used to being very busy and are very resourceful people, and seem glad for the focus, and aren’t phased by the challenge of making a performance using only the technology in their home…I invited the artists to develop the performance around a theme of their choice if that appealed to them, so some will play with that.”
Last Thursday’s launch with Jacinta Sheerin and Steo Wall was “rather exhilerating”.
“Steo and Jacinta have two young children so they sensibly chose to pre-record their performance, and so I didn’t expect it to feel as ‘live’ as it is did. The set up on Facebook Live is smart and allows so you to see how many people are watching – at least 130 watched the viewing at 8pm on Thursday – and they can all comment, so there is a wonderful sense of community, and a geographical freedom to the experience. Finding shared experiences at this time is really necessary I think, and to provide a bit of brightness, uplift and rhythm to someone’s evening is a really rewarding role for glór particularly right now.”
glór sa Bhaile is also featured as part of Clare County Council’s #InThisTogether initiative for people to Stay Connected, Stay Active and Stay Mentally Well.
Future performers taking part in the project include Catherine Ireton, on May 7, Aodán Coyne from Socks in the Frying Pan joined by his American fiancé Lee Worrell on fiddle on May 14 and Síomha on May 21 with more artists set to be announced.
She concludes that the team are looking forward to a time when they can re-open the doors. However, she adds, “I don’t believe we will get back to normal in the same way, certainly for a good while. Hopefully we will be bringing wonderful shows to the community of Clare before long, but for now we will consider a range of ways we can promote creativity and connect communities, and we will do our best to think outside the box on this, as our artists always do.”

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