This year we have assembled a stellar line up of both Irish and International acts and speakers for your enjoyment!
This is all in keeping with the Toronto songwriter’s low-key approach to his art, preferring to let his songs speak for themselves. A fact borne out by the nature of the effusive praise given to Paisley’s last effort, 2010’s Constant Companion. MOJO, who included it in their top ten albums of the year and extolled its “rare kind of purity”, declared that “an anti-star is born”. Rolling Stone called it a “nearly perfect singer-songwriter record”, while UNCUT singled it out as “sure-footed and ageless… uncluttered, sad and unerringly lovely.”
Both Constant Companion and 2008’s self-titled debut drew their power from the minimalism of Paisley’s unique take on 1970’s American folk rock. Largely set to simple arrangements of acoustic guitar and piano, it was an unobtrusive style that served to heighten the impact of his beguiling songs about relationships in various states of ruin and flux.
Strong Feelings expands on the same preoccupations, but this time Paisley has also opened up the sound, recording with a revolving band of brothers that includes The Cairo Gang’s leader/guitarist Emmett Kelly, bassist Bazil Donovan, drummer Gary Craig, keyboardist Robbie Grunwald and elusive Canadian songstress Mary Margaret O’Hara. Also aboard is the legendary Garth Hudson, who also made signature contributions to Constant Companion.
Like most well-kept but ultimately uncontainable secrets, news of her talent and charisma soon spread. She captured the attention of the famous British cult band “These New Puritans”, who invited her to work with them on their most recent album “Fields of Reeds”. This collaboration helped showcase her talents to broader international audiences. She also filled in a few more pages in her passport by accompanying “These New Puritans” on their promotional tour. At recent performances at the Barbican Centre in London and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, her voice enthralled audiences. Whilst on this tour, Elisa Rodrigues and “These New Puritans” also performed a number of times as the opening act for world-renowned Icelandic singer Björk.
Elisa Rodrigues is currently in the studio putting together a new album of original tracks, a much anticipated delight scheduled to drop in early 2016.
Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie Mc Donnell came to know each other’s singing over a number of years, playing in sessions in the folk melting pot of Galway city. Dipping their toe in the water as a trio, they were hailed as ‘a knockout of the festival’ at the legendary Port Fairy Folk Festival, Australia in 2012. Their debut album in 2013 was an “audacious debut” “rich in its lyrical tapestry” and received four stars in the Irish Times and RTE Album of the Week. Since their first release they have performed on some of the most prestiguous stages such as Tonder Folk Festival, Sligo Live and The Open House Festival in Belfast. The Whileaways’ second album ‘Saltwater Kisses’ released in 2015 ensures that the band continue to cut a confident trail in roots music and woo audiences with their sincerity and perfect simplicity.
The Contempo String Quartet are one of the most impressive classical outfits you’re likely to see having been called “The ABBA of the classical music”. They are winners of 14 International Prizes and are currently the Galway ensemble in residence and the RTE quartet in residence.
As a free-lance actress, Fouéré’s has worked with the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1980 she formed Operating Theatre, an avant-garde theatre company with composer Roger Doyle. She recently established an artistic entity called ‘TheEmergency Room’ for the development of her ongoing projects.
Recent stage credits include Ben Power’s A Tender Thing (Siren Productions); Gerald Barry’s opera of The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Antony McDonald (Northern Ireland Opera); Maria de Buenos Aires (Cork Opera House); The Rite of Spring/Petrushka with Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre (Sadler’s Wells and Movimentos Festival, Wolfsburg); Terminus (Abbey Theatre and international tour); and her translation and award-winning performance of Sodome, my love by Laurent Gaudé. Recent film appearances include The Irreducible Difference of the Other (Vivienne Dick), Camillo’s Idea by Aurélian Froment (2013 Venice Biennale), and This Must Be the Place by Paolo Sorrentino (Palme d’Or selection, 2011 Cannes Film Festival).
The Herald Arcangel Award, one of the most prestigious awards of the Edinburgh Festivals, was presented on Saturday 16 August to Olwen Fouéré for her performance in riverrun and her sustained contribution to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at a reception at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. Her latest performance in Stephen Fingleton’s first feature film The Survivalist has received widespread praise from critics.
Longley’s work engages diverse subjects, including Homeric literature, the landscape of Carrigskeewaun, jazz, Walter Mitty, and the politics of Northern Ireland. On the public and political responsibilities of being a Northern Irish poet, he has commented: “Though the poet’s first duty must be to his imagination, he has other obligations—and not just as a citizen. He would be inhuman if he did not respond to tragic events in his own community, and a poor artist if he did not seek to endorse that response imaginatively.” Reviewing his Selected Poems (1993), critic Fran Brearton praised in particular Longley’s more political poems, noting his “use of a compassionate yet unsentimental voice, and an attention to detail which restores specificity at a point in history when it is most in danger of being lost in abstraction—numbers, dates, death-tolls counted beyond comprehension.”
After a 12-year publishing silence, Longley’s 1991 return, Gorse Fires, won the Whitbread Poetry Prize. Subsequently, The Weather in Japan (2000) won the Irish Times Literature Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Longley’s recent publications include Snow Water (2004) and Collected Poems (2006). In 2001 Longley was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Now Professor Emerita at Queen’s University Belfast, as a lecturer and later Professor of English at Queen’s, Longley was influential in both literary and political culture of Northern Ireland both during and since the years of The Troubles. While she was a teacher at the Queen’s University, the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry was founded. She gained particular renown in Ireland for her public criticism of “depredatory ideologies” both in their political and the literary aspects. In her Lip pamphlet From Cathleen to Anorexia (1990) she was scathingly critical of the identification of feminism with Irish nationalism. At the Yeats Summer School in 1993 she attacked The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing for ‘a propensity to censorship and an obsession with colonialism’, developing those arguments in her 1994 collection of essays The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland, an extended critique of nationalism in Irish writing. She has also been one of the foremost scholars in Edward Thomas studies, publishing two editions of his poetry (1973 and 2008) and one of his prose (1981), and is one of the editors of the planned Oxford University Press series, Edward Thomas: The Essential Prose. Writing in Dublin’s Sunday Business Post, Seamus Heaney called her 2008 Annotated Collected Poems the “definite new edition of Edward Thomas…a crowning achievement by Thomas’s best advocate”.
From 1989 to 1994 she was Academic Director of the John Hewitt Summer School. Trinity College Dublin gave her an honorary doctorate in 2003.
He has edited The Great Book of Ireland (with Gene Lambert, 1991), Revising the Rising (with Máirín Ní Dhonnachadha, 1991), Irish Poetry Since Kavanagh (Dublin, Four Courts Press, 1996), Watching the River Flow (with Noel Duffy, Dublin, Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann, 1999), The Great Book of Gaelic (wiith Malcolm Maclean, Edinburgh, Canongate, 2002) and The Book of Uncommon Prayer (Dublin, Penguin Ireland, 2007).
He was the Series Editor of European Poetry Translation Network publications and Director of the collective translation seminars from which the books arose.
He has worked extensively as a broadcaster of literary programmes on both radio and television. He was presenter of Poetry Now on RTÉ Radio 1, and later presented RTÉ’s TV books programme, Imprint. He also served as Co-Director of the Cork Film Festival from 1986 until 1989 (along with Mick Hannigan). He became Director of Poetry Ireland in 1989 and served in this position until 2000. He is a member of Aosdána and was appointed to The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon in 2003. He also served on the Board of Cork European Capital of Culture 2005.
Among his awards are the Listowel Prize for Poetry, 1992. He lives in Dublin.
Norman Ackroyd was elected a Royal Academician in 1991 and was made Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art in 2000 and in 2007 was made CBE for services to Engraving and Printing.
Ackroyd lives and works in London.
He has published two collections of short stories, Psychotic Episodes (Arlen House, 2013) and Liar Liar (Wordsonthestreet, 2008) and contributed stories to many journals in Ireland and North America including The Valparaiso Fiction Review, Natural Bridge, Grain, Prairie Fire, The Penny Dreadful and The Stinging Fly.
Early in 2014, his radio play, Oscar Night, was produced and broadcast as part of RTE’s Drama on One season.He is also a contributor to the anthology, Young Irelanders (ed. Dave Lordan, New Island, 2015).
He has just signed a two-book deal with PICADOR and his first novel, Ithaca, will be published early in 2017.