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Liscannor’s Aoife shows her strengths with new release

LISCANNOR songwriter Aoife Doyle will release Strength To Be Strong, the first single from her upcoming album, this Friday. The song is a groovy, soulful mix of gospel, jazz and roots, with stomping brass arrangements. “Strength To Be Strong is about having to dig deep to find the strength to stay strong in the face of ongoing adversity. To release this song as the first single off the album felt like an appropriate choice, given the world events of the last 18 months, she explains. Aoife, originally from Bray, County Wicklow, has been living in Liscannor since 2014. She grew up in a house steeped in traditional and folk music, and completed a BA in jazz performance at the prestigious Newpark Music Centre, and an MA in Songwriting at the World Academy of Music and Dance in UL in 2018/2019. 
She cites a wide and varied range of musical influences including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Alison Krauss …

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Glór thrilled as the show goes on

GLÓR’S director has said the venue are “thrilled” to be open after a “long and challenging period” due to Covid-19. The Ennis arts centre is looking ahead to offering a full programme of live, in-person performances from September. As the venue embarks on its 20th year, director Orla Flanagan has reiterated glór’s committment to supporting and developing a range of artists and with the support of the Arts Council and Creative Ireland. She said the venue was pleased to have commissioned and co-commissioned a number of projects which will come to fruition over the coming months. Ms Flanagan said, “We are thrilled to now get the show firmly back on the road at glór. It has been a long and challenging period being dark and we have given 100% to imaginatively engaging with the public and supporting artists, but we cannot wait to share the magic of the live experience again. We now know there is nothing quite like it.” …

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Creative trio breathe new life into Ennistymon venue

THE working from home revolution, prompted by the pandemic, has inspired a creative trio to make the move to the Banner county, where they hope to breathe new life into a much-loved North Clare venue. Kymann Power, Áine Leech and Diarmaid Keane who are all digital creatives, with a strong interest in arts, culture and music, have made Daly’s in Ennistymon their new home. The three have been reaching out to musicians and those in the arts with a view to using their digital skills to support them in finding new audiences online and on social media. “Before the pandemic, I was working from home in Dublin,” explained Áine, a Westmeath native. “I was tired of looking at the four walls and got out just before lockdown.” Clare was the destination of choice according to Kymann. “I had travelled here with Áine a few times and when we were looking for a base in the west of Ireland, we happened …

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Philadelphia here comes SON

IT’S a case of Philadelphia Here I Come for Ennis musician SON, Susan O’Neill, however she won’t be breaking any Covid-19 travel restrictions. SON has been named among 18 Irish acts who will perform virtually at the Philadelphia Folk Festival on Saturday, August 15, with the support of Culture Ireland. For the first time ever, the festival has dedicated a full day of its programme to performances by Irish musicians. Looking ahead to her performance she said, “It’s really great to be included in the Philadelphia Folk Festival line up this year. Technology can be so wonderful and this is one of the ways it can help us to keep sharing music with music lovers across the world. So glad to be part of it all.” SON began her musical career as the youngest member of the Ennis Brass Band along with joining the Really Truly Joyful Gospel Choir. The critically acclaimed performer is a member of King Kong Company …

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Fleadh Nua hits the right note by going online

THIS year’s Fleadh Nua has struck a right note with plans to move online while also raising vital funds for charity. Like many other events around the county, this year’s Fleadh Nua in Ennis has been cancelled as a result of Covid-19. However in a bid not to disappoint the thousands of regular Fleadh goers from around the country and overseas, organisers of are putting together an online programme of traditional music, song and dance and seeking to raise much needed funds for Trocaire in the process. “When people heard that this year’s Fleadh wouldn’t be going ahead we received many messages from those who attend the event every year saying how sad they were not to be able to come to Ennis for Fleadh Nua 2020, especially since this year’s event had been scheduled for the June Bank Holiday weekend,” said Frank Whelan, Cathaoirleach of Fleadh Nua. To ensure fans of the festival will not miss out on the …

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Virtual concert going live

HAD things worked out differently Consairtín 2020 would be going ahead this week in Ennis, but Covid-19 has scuppered those plans. While the concertina won’t be heard in any public settings around the town, the organisers are putting a ‘virtual concert’ together, which will be going on YouTube and Facebook on Saturday evening. Among those featuring in it will be Tim Collins and Claire Griffin of Crusheen, Mary MacNamara of Tulla and a number of other musicians. Áine Hensey is one of the organisers and looking forward to the virtual concert, “Having had to make the decision (to pull Consairtín 2020) we thought it’d be nice to do something, for everybody really, for the musicians who were supposed to be performing and for everyone who was supposed to be coming. We said it’d be nice to put something together. “Basically what we’ve done, pretty much every one who was due to perform in the concerts over the weekend have recorded …

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Wexford Opera Festival features three little known operas every year.

A night at the opera

The Wexford Opera Festival is a bit of an unusual proposition but it works and has done for years. Take three obscure operas, some of which haven’t seen the light of day since their début performance, and stage them again over the course of a few weeks. Of course, some operas are obscure for a reason and maybe they should be left mouldering but for every duffer there are several gems. This year was promising, with all three operas sung in Italian. It’s a general rule of mine not to go near German language opera. I find it dark and depressing. Surprisingly, opera in English is often woefully bad. There’s the advantage of being able to fully understand what’s going on without resorting to subtitles but there’s just something wrong about English language opera. You’re generally safer sticking with Italian or at a pinch, French. We travelled down in the aftermath of Ophelia and just before storm Brian made itself …

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Ennis Fleadh breaks attendance record

The largest crowd ever thronged the streets of Ennis for Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017. Over 450,000 people attended over nine days of the largest traditional Irish music festival in the world. Numbers peaked at 100,000 on Saturday when crowds exceeded anything ever experienced in the town. All operational plans including a detailed Pedestrian Management plan operated effectively throughout the entire event. Nine hundred students participated in masterclasses at Scoil Éigse. Concert audiences broke all records, Fleadh TV broadcast nine hours of exhilarating TV, while Legacy, Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann’s flagship orchestral performance, premiered to the packed 2,000 seater Shannon Aerodome. In tribute to Ennis, Fleadh goers were enthusiastic in their appreciation of the scale and professionalism of the event organisation. Businesses in the hospitality and retail sectors indicated a significant increase in footfall and the success of the Fleadh can also be attributed to the efficient and friendly welcome extended by their teams. “We hope that Ennis, Clare and the …

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