To date, we’ve been lucky enough to host four nights in conjunction with our friend Johnny Moy at The Sugar Club. The Dublin Songs and Stories nights have all been for charity, with the Dublin Rape Crisis, Inner City Helping Homeless and other great causes benefiting. There have been some real moments of magic at the nights to date; poet Stephen James Smith played a blinder in December 2015, while veteran political activist Ailbhe Smith and artist Jim Fitzpatrick are two others that come to mind instantly as special moments. We’ve had rappers, traditional musicians, street artists and historians, and always a very engaged and lively audience! The common thread between all the various performers has been the city of Dublin, and its importance in their lives and work.
The last night happened in March of this year, and included Will St Leger, Rory O’Neill (aka Panti Bliss) and others. It’s taken us a while to get the wheels in motion again, but I will lay the blame for that on the centenary. There was plenty for historians to be doing this year! Still, we’re going back into it now and seeing the year out with the fifth night.
This night is to benefit a great cause, and a friend of the website who needs life-saving surgery in the United States (click for Gofundme page). Mags lives with multiple conditions which drastically affect her quality of life, and is in a very brave battle with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The manner in which friends have mobilised around her and her family in recent times in inspiring to see, and this is a small contribution towards a great cause.
Once again, the mix is as eclectic as you’d expect from this blog. Tickets are available in advance from here, at €10 plus booking fee.We recommend getting them in advance. All help in promoting the night is much appreciated.
Doors are SEVEN, first act on at half seven sharp!
If things had gone differently, Brian Kerr from Drimnagh could have followed his father into boxing. Thankfully for the entire Irish football community, he took a different path. There are few people who have contributed as much to The Beautiful Game in this city and country, from his close involvement with Saint Patrick’s Athletic to his work with the national squad at youth and senior level. He has done wonderful work with Sports Against Racism Ireland (SARI) and other progressive campaigns, and is a much-loved broadcaster, not afraid to call out the ruling powers that be in Irish football.
The traditional music dimension of these nights has always proven popular. At the first night, Barry Gleason took the roof off the place when he burst into song, and Landless, Rue and John Flynn of Skippers Alley have all represented traditional and folk music and singing at the nights since. This time, Danny Diamond brings his fiddle along. Majestic stuff always, his 2004 album Fiddle Music is well played around these parts, with echos of the great Tommy Potts. Danny is part of the great Slow Moving Clouds among other musical pursuits, and this promises to be a great set.
We’re delighted to have got Fuchsia MacAree on board for the night, being long time admirers of her work as an illustrator. Her work is often very playful and frequently draws on Dublin itself – her characters, buildings and eccentricities. Formerly NCAD’s Designer in Residence, you have seen her work in a wide variety of Irish publications. Anyone that can make a play on Busáras and dinosaurs is sound in our book. See her website MacAree.ie for examples of her work.
Casting a cold eye on the 1916 Centenary (how was it for you?), the works of Anu Productions stand out as among the finest contributions made by anyone on the island. Founded in 2009, this theatre company has gone from strength to strength. Their experimental and unique approach has won them many fans, and brought theatre and performance into entirely new settings. This is a chance to discuss some of their work (personal favourites being The Boys of Foley Street, These Rooms and Sunder) with director Louise Lowe.
My introduction to Cian Nugent was The Number Ones, the brilliant power pop band he forms a quarter of. This year brought his latest solo album Night Fiction, which was very well received across the board, with Lauren Murphy in The Irish Times describing it as no less than “A triumph”. Influenced by everything from the blues and folk to punk rock, he is as comfortable on an acoustic guitar as an electric one. Check out this great performance for NPR in the United Sytates for an idea of what to expect.
James Earley‘s work is a joy to behold on the streets of Dublin, Waterford, Belfast and wherever else it appears. When he painted the characters of Ulysses on the walls of Temple Bar’s Blooms Hotel, he gave Dublin a beautiful new landmark, which captivated locals and tourists alike. He follows in the footsteps of Earley Studios, who produced beautiful stained glass artworks in Dublin city centre from 1864 until the 1970s. He is one of the most talented artists working on walls in Ireland today, and bringing vivid colours to the urban landscape.
In recent years, Aoife Kelleher has been responsible for two excellent documentaries which examined Irish attitudes to faith in their own ways. One Million Dubliners told the story of Glasnevin’s Prospect Cemetery beautifully, and one the hearts of audiences right across the world. More recently, Strange Occurrences looked at the town of Knock in the west of Ireland, famous for the apparitions that locals claimed occurred there in 1879. Other works included Growing Up Gay, which focused on the lives of young Irish LGBTQ people and was broadcast in 2010.
Black Bank Folk burst onto the scene this year with their debut album ‘Rising’, an album that includes the powerful voice of Damien Dempsey, not to mention guest vocals from Jem Mitchell, Paddy Casey and others. You can check them out for yourself on Soundcloud here, but this promises to be another excellent set, from a band who play The Abbey Tavern the night before (get to both!)
Come down, enjoy the night and support a good cause.