Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guitar Festival of Ireland

Andrés SegoviaCover of Andrés SegoviaMusic that sounds as its creators imagined it. Musicians who play with rapture and conviction. Concert-goers who take plunges into worlds of sound, far removed from the bustle of everyday life. Every year the Guitar Festival of Ireland makes it all possible, and has been doing so for the past eight years.The festival, now in its ninth year, is a world-class music event and features a programme of great performances in some of Dublin's finest venues.

Over the course of its existence, the GFI has been transformed from a genre-based festival to a more eclectic series of events that now spans the boundaries of an incredibly diverse instrument. Never afraid to take chances the festival team have, to date, produced an impressive array of the best in live guitar music with ground-breaking collaborations from internationally acclaimed musicians as well as from innovative new artists.

This year the festival opens on 26 April in National Concert Hall with internationally renowned performer and teacher John Feeley. This this concert will coincide with the launch of the much anticipated new editions of J.S. Bach's Cello Suites arranged for guitar by John Feeley. As a recurring festival favourite he has been described by Michael Dervan in the Irish Times as 'a trailblazer...when it comes to the guitar and guitar-playing in Ireland'.

Deirdre Moynihan (Soprano) and Alec O’Leary (Guitar) are fast becoming recognised as one of Ireland’s most engaging duos. Their performance style is charming yet dynamic and displays the integrity of a well established ensemble. The programme will feature works from the Italian and German repertoire and a rare opportunity to hear the intriguing collection of traditional Spanish songs "Canciones Espanolas Antiguas" compiled by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. There is also a selection of iconic solo guitar works by J.S.Bach and Leo Brouwer. This concert is in association with the Office of Public Works and takes place in the beautiful Farmleigh House. Admission is free

This year is the 25th anniversary of the death of the great Spanish guitarist Andres Segovia. Graham Wade, one of the world's leading authorities on the art of Segovia, joins us for a special seminar entitled 'Remembering Segovia'. Graham will evaluate the true lasting effects of Segovia's career on the present guitar scene and talk about his friendship with the Maestro.

On Sat. 28 April we have a special seminar with world-renowned composer Stephen Goss. Bound to be a unique seminar entitled: Holy Grail or Merry Dance: The delusion of ‘urtext’ in collaborations between guitarists and composers. We are very excited to be able to offer this free event in association with the Contemporary Music Centre. Later that evening the brilliant Tetra Guitar Quartet will make their Irish debut. Joaquín Rodrigo referred to them as "Excellent artists” and their unique repertoire and highly original programming has helped make the quartet one of the most influential and sought-after guitar ensembles on the scene today. Don't miss this wonderful concert presented in association with, and in the wonderful surroundings of, the Chester Beatty Library.
Also making an Irish debut at the Guitar Festival of Ireland is a remarkable young Italian guitarist Elena Zucchini. Described by Alberto Ponce as "the next rising star of the classical guitar world", Elena began her career focussing on Italian and contemporary repertoire and, in 2011, her first album was released containing music by Dyens, Scarlatti, Giuliani, Petrassi and Davidovsky. Elena is a sensitive and attentive musician and she holds two masters degrees in musical performance and interpretation.

Guitar Festival of Ireland, Festival Director Alec O'Leary

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Twomilliondays – Twomilliondays

With Soundcloud offering unprecedented access in terms of glimpses into formative works-in-progress, it has increasingly become a pleasure to watch individual musicians, producers or bands as they develop their sound. One such example is Galway-based experimentalist Twomilliondays. Displaying a knack for enticing, intricate creations since he first started uploading tunes over a year ago, his sound occupies a middle ground somewhere between cerebral electronica, spacious post-rock textures and evocative minimalism.

As his first album-length statement, Twomilliondays is a release of exceptional coherence and depth. It’s also one that, in a way, illustrates the downside of digital Soundcloud/Bandcamp streaming ‘culture’ (for want of a better word): it’s great to scroll down your dashboard, listen to tracks instantly as they’re uploaded, interact and post comments; but even the most attentive of listeners will find that desktop listening doesn’t exactly lend itself to a fully-focused aural experience.

Twomilliondays certainly deserves – and rewards – immersion. These exquisitely layered tracks have an almost mathematical precision to them, yet they are also characterised by an organic warmth that reflects the range of instruments being sampled (guitars, tubas, accordions, flutes…). Setting out its stall with the gently tumbling hooks of opening track ‘Float’, the record is characterised by patiently unfurling, gorgeously textured numbers. The hypnotically chiming intro of ‘Portals’ is interspersed with sparing brass flourishes, its weightless tones gradually giving way to insistent percussion. The elegiac ‘Dadaab’ combines a cyclical loop with distorted, decayed guitar textures; growing in intensity before a gently pulsing synthetic loop sneaks subtly into the background.

As pointed out elsewhere, there are shades of the likes of Autechre or Fennesz evident, but never to an obvious degree: the sound is uniquely his and hard to tie down genre-wise. Among the minimalist and electronic influences there are also hints of Irish traditional music on ‘Organum’s dizzying, increasingly elaborate patterns, while ‘Arcanum’ gives free rein to the percussive tendencies that are a recurring feature on the album. Possibly the best track of all is ‘Solfeggio’, which begins with celestial ambient strains before growing in intensity via a sublime gear-shift.

As implied before, this isn’t an album for snap judgements. Each successive listen will bring out something you hadn’t fully noticed before: background details become focal points; obscured tones and drones grow in clarity; conflicting elements suddenly start playing delightfully off each other. In terms of creating its own absorbing soundworld, Twomilliondays is reminiscent of the likes of Pantha Du Prince’s This Bliss or Four Tet’s Rounds: not genre bedfellows by any means, but the same masterful balance of elements is frequently in evidence. With a second release apparently in the pipeline, this may be just the beginning: if so, the bar has been set high.

AU Magazine » Twomilliondays – Twomilliondays

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tributes to Banjo Barney

Barney McKenna, member of The DublinersBarney McKenna, member of The Dubliners (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Irish president Michael D Higgins has led tributes to folk musician Barney McKenna, the last surviving member of The Dubliners, who has died, aged 72.

A renowned banjo player, McKenna – affectionately dubbed Banjo Barney – passed away yesterday morning in his beloved Dublin, after collapsing at his home in Howth.

He was the last remaining member of the original line-up of The Dubliners, celebrated worldwide for their revival of Irish folk songs, their raucous sound and their hell-raising.

Mr Higgins, a friend of McKenna, said he had made a major contribution to music and song throughout his life, and above all to the banjo as an instrument.

“His influence on and generosity to other instrumentalists was immense,” he said.

The president recalled McKenna’s “huge commitment” to the Irish abroad as well as at home, and the band’s popularity in Britain, where The Dubliners played a packed Albert Hall in 1967 and again more than four decades on last month.

Fiddler John Sheahan, who joined The Dubliners just two years after it was formed in 1962, said McKenna’s death would be a universal loss.

“He was one of these unique characters,” he said.

“He was like a brother to me, as were the other former members of The Dubliners. Over the years we became very much a family, I suppose, in our own right.

“He’ll be a huge loss to everybody.”

Alan Felton's THE WIND THAT SHOOK THE BARLEY Plays at Brighton Fringe, May 16-18

In Alan Felton's new show for Brighton Fringe, “The Wind that Shook the Barley,” Felton will be singing with Viviene Moore, a Brighton-based singer and accompanied by Tim Roycroft on guitar. The three join together to run through songs and readings that display the poignancy, despair and heroism of Irish rebellions over the course of 400 years.

The show brings to life through traditional music and contemporary writings the drama of the tense relationships between the Irish and the English during 400 years of Irish rebellions. Written and directed by Alan Felton, the unusual venue is the comfortable ambience of Alan’s parlour on the seafront in Hove.

This is the show’s first Fringe outing and runs for three evenings 16th, 17th and 18th May at 6 o’clock. “The show’s title, from a song of about 1798, recalls the universal heartbreak of a girl who doesn’t want her man to join the rebels, but in a twist of fate gets shot herself whilst saying farewell to him in a field of barley.”

Alan Felton is an actor, singer and entertainer who studied history at Oxford University and has a lifelong passion for reviving lost music and Irish history.

Vivien Moore has loved singing all her life and enjoys all kinds of music from rock to Early Music to Irish folk songs.

Tim Roycroft has had a passing interest in folk music since the 60s so when he joined a local Morris side the world of traditional music opened up and became a major influence.

Alan, Vivien and Tim are performing together for the first time and will answer any questions or talk about all things Rebellious after the show or over a drink just round the corner at the Iron Duke Hotel.

For more information, visit www.brightonfringe.org.

Read more: http://westend.broadwayworld.com/article/Alan-Feltons-THE-WIND-THAT-SHOOK-THE-BARLEY-Plays-at-Brighton-Fringe-May-16-18-20120415#ixzz1sHXtAU4V