Music, heritage, and drama at Coole

There will be an international flavour to the music series at Coole Park over the next few days as part of the Coole Park Winter Programme. Tonight (Thursday ) Coole will host a concert of Mexican music by The Gringo Stars from 8pm to 9pm.

American fiddle player Frank Hall has gathered a tasteful repertoire of old Mexican folk tunes and brought together Paul Gunning (accordion, Maimín Cajun Band ), Johnny Moynihan (Sweeney's Men/De Danann ), Peter Brazier (guitar ), and John Martin (Boucherie Cajun ) to form The Gringo Stars. The band bring to life Mexican-based roots music from the sweet and lively twin harmony fiddles of traditional stringbands to the pulsating folk accordions of Tex-Mex border music. Singing en Español, and backing the music with guitarron and bajo sexto, the gringos deliver a varied and engaging mix of upbeat, dramatic, and enchanting listening and dance music.

Tomorrow the Friends of Coole in association with Classical Links will present solo guitarist Derrek Gripper in concert at Coole Park Visitor Centre. Gripper is a solo performer of new music from the Western Cape of South Africa. He began his formal musical training at the age of six on the violin. After studying classical music for 13 years he began to look further afield for musical inspiration. This search took him to India where he studied south Indian Carnatic music. On his return to South Africa he decided to focus on the guitar, trying to find a new direction for the instrument. His intimate but virtuosic style combines the techniques of classical guitar with the imagery and mystery of the rural areas of the Cape. This is a unique insight into South Africa and its music.

On Monday from 8pm to 9pm the heritage series continues with A Stranger’s Eyes: The Townland of Coole: Stony, Rocky and Two Thirds Profitable by Terri Shoosmith, a NUIG PhD student. Her lecture series explores the written word left by those who have looked at south Galway through a stranger's eyes. This lecture focuses on the Books of Survey and Distribution, compiled from records first obtained in the 1640s. The Books of Survey and Distribution are often used by historians as a source of information on the confiscation and bestowal of land during the Tudor period. They also tell us a great deal about the topography of the landscape and the attitudes of the English government towards land and land use.

On Thursday November 26 Athenry Drama Group will perform two Lady Gregory one-act plays: The Workhouse Ward and Dave, at 8pm. Athenry Drama Group is more than 100 years in existence and has enjoyed success on the local and national circuit with several renowned plays. The Workhouse Ward portrays the argumentative but close relationship of two old men living in an Irish workhouse. When one of them is offered a place to live with a relative, he chooses to remain in the workhouse rather than be separated from his friend. Dave is a one-act play about a manservant called Dave with mystical dreams, written in Lady Gregory's own invented Kiltartan dialect.

Admission to all events on the Coole Park Winter Programme are free. Check out www.coolepark.ie or www.galway.ie to download the programme brochure in Word or PDF. Contact Coole Park Visitor Centre for details on any of the events at (091 ) 631804.

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