Country folk and guitar orchestra lead the line up at the Linenhall

Blackheart: County Folk duo at the Linenhall

New contemporary county/folk duo Blackheart bring their distinctive musical brew to the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Monday 28 July at 8pm. Just 18 months into their collaboration as Blackheart, Welsh singer Chrissy Mostyn and guitarist Richard Pilkington have earned acclaim for both their live concerts and their outstanding debut album Indigo, which has won wide industry applause from both sides of the Atlantic.

Their songwriting blends folk, country and even rock influences to create a unique style of beautifully crafted, memorable songs which are earning them huge airplay in both the UK and the US. Their highly personal songs paint pictures of their lives, and their live shows combine their sublime harmonies and acoustic guitar playing with highly entertaining audience interaction as they tell the stories behind their music. Plans for 2008 include their new album “Stories”, a live album and DVD, a 90-date UK tour, a three week tour of Irelandwhere they have been invited to share the stage with Nanci Griffith, Ricky Scaggs and George Jones, to be followed by a two week tour of the US. Catch them while you can. Blackheart performs at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday July 28 at 8pm. Booking advised. Tel: 094 9023733

Maynooth guitar orchestra at the Linenhall

One of Ireland’s most unique and exciting ensembles, the Maynooth Guitar Orchestra, appears for a very special one-off concert at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday August 11 at 8pm. Founded by Brendan Walsh in 2003, The Maynooth Guitar Orchestra has quickly established itself as a musical phenomenon. This concert sees the 13-piece MGO collaborate with twelve top guitarists from all over the world resulting in an ensemble of 25 guitarists.

Typical of the group’s eclectic approach and diverse range of musical styles, the group will present an evening of diverse and engaging musical pleasures with a programme that includes Mozart’s Symphony K.201, Debussy's “Tarantelle Styrienne”, Victor Lazzarini's “Elliptical Transformations”, and Brendan Walsh's “Concerto for Violin and Guitar Ensemble” performed with the young award-winning Swiss violinist Deborah Landolt. Also featured is “Old Man” by Neil Young, “Bachalorette” by Björk, along with a special arrangement by young Jazz guitarist Patrick Groenland of the Rodgers/Hart song “It Never Entered My Mind”, performed with the irresistible voice of Georgia Cusack. Altogether a unique summer concert, 25 guitarists playing together, a must-see and must-hear event. Maynooth Guitar Orchestra performs at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday August 11 at 8pm. Booking advised. Tel: 094 9023733

Contemporary baskets exhibition at the Linenhall

Wood Meets Willow, a fascinating and inspirational exhibition of innovative contemporary works based on traditional basket-making techniques, continues at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar for the month of July. The exhibition is by multi-award-winning artist and craftsman Joe Hogan, who has been making baskets at Loch na Fooey in Co. Galway since 1978. Joe explains, “For the past ten years or so I have become increasingly interested in making non-functional baskets and this exhibition is mostly of baskets of this type. This work is prompted by a desire to develop a deeper connection to the natural world. My concern in this work is to reawaken a sense of wonder and I am not always certain during the making process exactly how the basket will turn out, especially when using a piece of found wood as the basis for the basket. This is in sharp contrast to the making of functional baskets where I have a clear idea of exactly what the finished basket will be, before even cutting a base stick.” The results are a wonderfully evocative exploration of the possibilities of traditional craft when applied to an artistic vision. The exhibition runs until Saturday July 26.

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