Pleased to see the folk queen

Thu, May 08, 2014

SHE USED to think folk music was “old and boring”, but a little persistence and some tough advice from an American duo she once roadied for, set Maddy Prior on her way to becoming one of Britain’s greatest post-war folk singers.

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Dimitra Xidous - keeping bees and meeting Leonard Cohen

Thu, May 08, 2014

THERE WAS a fine turnout The Crane Bar last Saturday afternoon for the launch of Dimitra Xidous’s debut poetry collection, Keeping Bees, published by Doire Press.

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Russell Kane and comedy as a social survival mechanism

Thu, May 01, 2014

THE IRISH and the British - in some ways so similar, in others so completely different. One commonality is a strange uneasiness with success. In Ireland it manifests as ‘the begrudger mentality’. In Britain, it’s the ‘mustn’t grumble’ belief that failure and being inadequate is your deserved lot. The other great common factor is drinking, or rather drinking too much.

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Dreams, the dark side, and the Dum Dum Girls

Thu, Apr 24, 2014

FROM THE lo-fi, buzzy, pop-punk of the debut album, I Will Be, to five years later, the lush, sophisticated indie-rock/dream pop of their latest album Too True, the evolution of the Dum Dum Girls has been one of contemporary Indie rock’s most rewarding journies.

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Kevin Higgins - taking on Left and Right with poetry and humour

Thu, Apr 03, 2014

THERE WAS a time when a photograph of Mick Wallace must have marked the bull’s eye of the dartboard in Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s office. That dartboard must be overcrowded these days with pictures of political foes and the Minister running out of enough darts to throw at them all.

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Craig Davidson - bare knuckle tales of a Canadian writer

Thu, Mar 27, 2014

BARE KNUCKLE boxing and dog fighting in small Canadian cities; the activities are cruel, often barbaric, but the people taking part in them have their reasons, however misguided, however tragic. It’s just not black and white.

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Foil, Arms & Hog - the dynamic trio

Thu, Mar 27, 2014

THEY SURVIVED freezing temperatures in America, killer snails ‘down under’, tropical gangsters, and ‘too cool for school’ Californians. Intact and unbowed, they now take on Ireland.

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Mark Thomas - a dissenter’s challenge to the status quo

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

HE IS taking the British police to court over data collection; held a flash mob in Apple’s London store in protest against multi-nationals and tax avoidance; ran a pro-choice rally in Belfast; and is determined to get banned from every Tesco store.

He is Mark Thomas, the British comedian, commentator, and journalist, and these acts of rebellion are at the heart of his latest stand-up show 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent, which he is bringing to the Róisín Dubh.

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‘The Irish public’s interest in fiction perks me right up’

Thu, Mar 20, 2014

ONE OF the most praised novels of recent years was Patrick deWitt’s highly original western tale The Sisters Brothers, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won a number of prestigious awards in deWitt’s native Canada.

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‘It is the characters who really take over’

Thu, Mar 13, 2014

ONE OF the most keenly anticipated readings at next month’s Cúirt International Festival of Literature is sure be that of Tipperary born author Donal Ryan.

Ryan’s two novels, The Spinning Heart and The Thing About December, have been showered with praise and awards, establishing him as one of the most impressive new voices in Irish fiction. His sudden literary fame has not altered his life except, ironically, in impeding his writing time, as he tells me over a lunchtime conversation.

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‘I’m not looking for soundbites in Greek tragedy’

Thu, Mar 13, 2014

MONDAY MORNING at 10am, a Greek tragedy and a full house, this was the unlikely combination NUI Galway achieved for its inaugural Theatre Season with a fine production of Sophocles’ Electra.

Electra was adapted by Frank McGuinness and directed by academic Charlotte McIvor, and McGuinness himself was in attendance to see the student cast acquit themselves admirably in this timeless classic and take part in a post-show talk.

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Any colour you like

Thu, Feb 27, 2014

CATHERINE FLEMING may only be 18 years old, but already she has had three exhibitions, and her fourth, currently running in the Providence Market Kitchen on St Augustine Street, reveals her increasingly bold use of colour and abstraction.

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A ‘technicolour phantasmagoria’

Thu, Feb 27, 2014

PAT MCCABE’S rollercoaster new play, The Bridge Below The Town, set in 1950s small-town Ireland, is coming to the Town Hall Theatre and promises audiences a swirling drama of life, love, Butlins, and nuns who make márla men, set to a classic soundtrack.

Staged by Livin’ Dred Theatre Company, in association with NASC Theatre Network, the play centres on housewife Golly Murray who, despite being almost broken by life’s struggles, ultimately discovers the gratifying truth that love can triumph over adversity.

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New York indie-rock Renaissance man

Thu, Jul 04, 2013

HE GREW up in a counterculture atmosphere in New York’s Lower East Side, surrounded by music, comic books, and alternative ways of looking at the world. He is Jeffrey Lewis - singer, songwriter, lyricist, artist, storyteller, and comic book creator.

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Eric Bell - adventures of a Belfast blues man

Thu, Jul 05, 2012

WERE IT not for Eric Bell, Thin Lizzy may never have happened. It was the Belfastman’s idea to form the band and an imporpmtu meeting after a gig in Dublin convinced Phil Lynott that Bell’s idea was a good one.

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