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Groups combine to showcase multicultural flavour of Clare

Culture Night will be celebrated this year with online and in-person events, and two organisations have combined efforts to remind the people of Clare that there is far more than just Irish culture in the county, writes Conor Clohessy.

‘Many Cultures of Clare’ is a showcase celebrating diversity that will bring together music, song and dance from a variety of participants of different ethnicities, living in or connected to Clare and its surrounds.

This online event will be accessible on September 17 from 4pm to midnight and is organised by the Inisowiacy Polish Folk Group and the Clare Immigrant Support Centre.

Anna Scanlan, in charge of the event on behalf of Inisowiacy, explained, “With the folk group I am part of, we focus on music and singing, since 2015. Over the years, we observed the similarities between the Irish and Polish cultures, and soon we had members from Bulgaria, Spain, the US … all wanting to join in. Music makes it so that we all speak the same language.”

Through curiosity, the organisation continued to reach out for musicians and people with other talents living in Clare that originated from another country and found that there was a great foundation for a truly impressive spectacle in Clare.

Anna is the artistic director of the event, elaborating that the showcase will present a range of different cultural backgrounds from around the world, now present in Clare, in a 14-minute video.

She continued that there is plenty of colour and interesting music to be found in the video, from samba and flamenco costumes to Nepalese instruments that Anna was not even familiar with herself before filming.

“They are very short videos, but it will offer a great mix. For example, we have a singer from Bangladesh, we have dancers from Bulgaria, a Moroccan flute player, things like that.

“The videos were shot by volunteers from Inisowiacy and Clare Immigrant Support Centre, so the videos are amateur, but we like to think that this is just the beginning of the idea. We want to see how we can evolve it for next year, if there is an interest. We would love to involve even more nationalities who want to show their culture.”

‘Inisowiacy’ is a word created by the founders of the organisation, taking the word for “island” in Irish and adding to it “owiacy”, the Polish suffix to denote that one is from a particular place; the organisation works to promote Polish heritage specifically, and its unique similarities with that of the Irish people.

Anna emphasised how important it is for everyone to take part in Culture Night, recalling that in times before the pandemic, Clare Immigrant Support Centre organised live events during Culture Night with those they could gather in Glór, with a similar set up to “Many Cultures of Clare.”

Anna expanded that she is specifically enthusiastic about events such as this, being a Polish woman married to an Irish man; she wants to seize every opportunity to show their children their heritage on both sides, not just through the Polish tongue, but through a language everyone can understand – music.

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