The Misleór Festival of nomadic cultures will run in the city until October 1 with a vibrant programme featuring music, film, poetry, talks and visual art from Traveller, Roma, Sámi, Mongolian, Australian Aboriginal and Romany Gypsy communities.
The Misleór Festival event is presented by Galway Traveller Movement (the name Misleór, meaning ‘wanderer’ in the Irish Traveller language Cant ) celebrates and connects nomadic peoples from around the world. Started in 2019, Misleór is a unique collaboration between local artists and community activists working at local, regional, national and international levels.
Nora Corcoran, Co-artistic Director, said they recognise in nomadic peoples from around the world, a kindred inner spirit which unites our communities; a fire in the belly that is fanned by activism, creativity and coming together.
"The campfire is a meeting point for Travellers. Creativity, singing, storytelling and entertainment would always be found by those gathered round the open fire, under the blanket of a starry night.
"We look forward to meeting you around the fire at Misleór this year, to share our stories and get to know one another," she said.
Misleór kicks off at 6pm on Thursday, 28 September in the Mick Lally Theatre with ‘On the Road’, an opening ceremony to welcome guest artists and to light the fire.
Highlights of the festival programme include Chant Yil Lull, a song circle with Australian Aboriginal artist Jessie Lloyd and women from the local Traveller community; Misleór Conversations, public panel discussions featuring guest artists, activists and leaders from nomadic communities around the world; Nomadic Shorts, a special programme of short films exploring identity, resilience and diversity with nomadic communities.
It also features In Conversation, two special talks with award-winning actor and filmmaker John Connors and singer and storyteller Kitty Cassidy; Reimagining Life on the Road, a family-friendly traditional Traveller camp featuring interactive displays and workshops; and Miselór in Song, a celebration of nomadic cultures around the world through music, song, spoken word and dance.
All events are free unless otherwise noted. Full programme and booking information can be found at www.misleor.ie
Chant Yil Lull will see Australian Aboriginal artist Jessie Lloyd form a song circle with women from the local Traveller community, delving into the personal and cultural significance of what it means “to sing”. Thursday, 28 September, 7pm at the Mick Lally Theatre.
French street theatre group Lucamoros Company will have an informal sharing with music, song, storytelling and live painting with members of the Traveller and other nomadic communities from Galway and beyond. Saturday, 30 September, 2pm at An Mheitheal Rothar (next to Fisheries Field ).
Misleór in Song features an incredible line-up of bands and artists from different nomadic cultures including Kathleen and Mary Keenan, Khuur Mongolian Ethnic Band, PJ Mongan, Jessie Lloyd, Willzee and Galaxy Band. Tickets €10-15. Saturday, 30 September, 7pm at Róisín Dubh.
Talks, Workshops, Meet-ups:
Kindred Spirits: Fire in the Belly features two talks on Friday, 29 September: Nomad-only Dialogue Space at 11am and Misleór Conversations at 2pm, both at the Mick Lally Theatre. An exclusive event for members of the nomadic community, the Nomad-only Dialogue Space will explore cultural rights and the role of activism in the journey to bring about social change. Open to the public, Misleór Conversations will share diverse perspectives on nomadic identity and panellists will discuss cultural rights and claiming space for nomadism in today’s society.
Where is Our Meeting Point? features two events on Saturday, 30 September. Sessions – Nomadic Placemaking will take place at 10am at the O’Donoghue Centre and will focus on sharing initiatives connected to mapping nomadic spaces, the important meeting points for culture, community and connection. As part of the Irish Architecture Foundation's placemaking programme, the Nomadic Architecture Meet-Up is a space for discussion, sharing, and building connections around ideas of architecture, urbanism, and the built environment and is a chance to connect with others interested in nomadic architecture. The event will take place at 12pm in the Festival Tent, Fisheries Field.
In Conversation features two talks on Saturday, 30 September in the O’Donoghue Theatre: one with award-winning actor and filmmaker John Connors at 12pm, and one with singer and storyteller Kitty Cassidy at 1pm.
A special programme of short films exploring identity, resilience and diversity within nomadic communities, Nomadic Shorts will take place Friday, 29 September at 8pm and will feature the world premiere of My Sister, My Best Friend, which was made through this year’s Misleór Short Documentary Grant. The screening will be followed by Q+A with filmmakers and a wine reception at the bar. Tickets €5-10. Friday, 29 September, 8pm at An Taibhdhearc.
For those interested in making films, Misleór on Screen brings a workshop with award-winning actor and filmmaker John Connors, where audience members can gain insight into the craft of writing, directing and getting films made. Saturday, 30 September, 10am at the O’Donoghue Theatre.
Poetry and Storytelling:
Cherra Sessions will see poets and storytellers gather around the cherra to share work inspired by their nomadic heritage. For nomadic communities the ‘cherra’ (Cant word for ‘fire’ ) has always been a place of sharing; a melting pot of memory, imagination, poetry and ghost stories. Featuring Raine Geoghegan (Romany ), Oein DeBhairduin (Traveller ), Lavie Olupona (Traveller ), Julia Sweeney (Traveller ), Nora Corcoran (Traveller ) and Gonchigkhand Byambaa (Mongolian ). Friday, 29 September, 6pm at the Mick Lally Theatre.
On Saturday, 30 September, families can avail of some Misleór magic with three special events including interactive workshops and displays at a Traditional Traveller Camp, a storytelling session and a youth open mic.
Fisheries Field will come alive with traditional Traveller wagons, tents, antiques, music and storytelling around the campfire for Reimagining Life on the Road, a traditional Traveller camp. Featuring interactive displays and workshops including paper flower-making, beady pockets, griddle bread and traditional Traveller tinsmith Tom McDonnell. 11am-4pm at Fisheries Field.
Enjoy the magic of an Irish Traveller folktale as Oein DeBhairduin reads from his new children’s book The Slug and the Snail. The reading will be followed by an arts and crafts workshop. 2pm in the Festival Tent at Fisheries Field.
At 4pm in the O'Donoghue Theatre, Music Generation Galway will present the Misleór Youth Open Mic, and welcomes young talents and families to enjoy performances by PJ Mongan and Francis Ward, with special guests from the Music Generation Galway City - Leanaigí Primary School programme.
Audiences can enjoy visual art exhibitions around the city including Reimagining Life on the Road, a photographic exhibition that celebrates life on the road through the eyes of the local Traveller community in Galway and People Can Die Twice, nine animated documentaries based on the biographies of holocaust survivors from Roma and Sinti communities.
Misleór will visit Ballinasloe Fair on Sunday, 1 October from 10am-5pm with an installation of wooden horses made from recycled materials, interactive displays of paper flower-making, beady pocket-making and from traditional Traveller tinsmith Tom McDonnel, and a special performance of ‘Chant Yil Lull’ by Australian Aboriginal artist Jessie Lloyd and singers from the local Traveller community.
Misleór is co-funded by The Arts Council under their Festival Investment Scheme. Additional funding partners and supporters include Galway Traveller Movement, Community Knowledge Initiative, University of Galway, Ardán, Galway City of Film, Department of Culture, Creative Ireland National Talent Academy of Film & TV, Screen Ireland, Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Irish Architecture Foundation, Music Generation Galway City, Galway City Museum and the Irish Traditional Music Archive.