Music, theatre and more at the Linenhall

Shannon Murphy and John Hoban at the Linenhall

A highly anticipated double-bill concert by two singer/songwriters with strong local connections, Sharon Murphy and John Hoban, takes place at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Thursday February 26 at 8pm. Sharon Murphy grew up in Clifden, Co Galway, but spent many holidays in Westport. Sharon describes her music as folk-soul, with a blend of Irish and Caribbean influences. Her songs deal with growing up in an institution as a black Irish woman. A popular performer of many years’ standing, Sharon sings songs about who she is, and where she comes from, finding it easier to express herself through music and song, her stories carried by the eloquence of her music.

Castlebar native John Hoban is a teacher, singer, composer and musician of many years standing. A consummate multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, guitar, mandocello, mandolin, harmonica… ) John also writes and composes his own songs and music. It has been said that “he could make music from a sheaf of oats”. His music is from the heart: honest, open, warm, sad, funny... a true original. Sharon Murphy and John Hoban perform at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Thursday February 28 at 8pm.

Top contemporary jazz blows into town

Prepare to be swept away by the energy and sheer musicality of the phenomenal Gyan Riley Trio, performing at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Monday March 2 at 8pm as part of a Music Network tour. Gyan Riley is a true original, a one-man melting pot effortlessly fusing classical and jazz traditions with Indian ragas, Flamenco, and complex Balkan harmonies. He also plays a mean guitar. Like his father Terry Riley, the ‘godfather of minimalism’ who influenced everyone from Philip Glass and Brian Eno to The Who, Gyan is also a composer constantly pushing the boundaries.

On this tour Riley is joined by electrifying violinist/violist Timb Harris (of Middle Eastern rock band Secret Chiefs 3 ) and percussionist Ches Smith, a stalwart of the New York cutting edge music scene. The trio will be playing mainly original compositions from Gyan’s recent album Melismantra with room made for improvisational solos, allowing for plenty of unexpected twists and turns. A top drawer concert in prospect. The Gyan Riley Trio performs at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Monday March 2 at 8pm.

The Banshee of Crokey Hill

The Banshee of Crokey Hill, an exciting Irish play by Mid West Radio’s Tommy Marren, is presented at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Wednesday March 4 at 8.30pm.

Set in rural Ireland in the 1970s, The Banshee of Crokey Hill has received rave reviews in Ireland, England and the US. Steeped in Irish comedy and hilarious Irish one-liners, the play also has a serious undertone as the soured relationship between a father and son is uncovered. Mickey McMahon returns home to visit his ageing parents after 13-years living in Manchester to announce his forthcoming marriage, but a dark secret that has been kept from him begins to unfold. With a plot that twists and turns, the play also contains a ‘hooley’ scene that includes an exuberant display of brush-dancing and traditional music. The play stars Tommy Marren, John Duggan, Eileen Slevin and Mary Mannion.

The Banshee of Crokey Hill takes place at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Wednesday March 4 at 8.30pm. The play is presented in aid of Mayo Women Support Services, and there will be a cheese and wine reception from 7.30pm. Admission to the play and reception is €40. Please note booking is through Mayo Women Support Services. Tel: 094 9025409

Big band boogies

Castlebar Concert Band presents its exuberant new show Big Band Boogies at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Thursday March 5 at 8pm with special guests the Mayo Youth Orchestra. Since the roaring 20s there has always been a town band in Castlebar. Now with over 20 enthusiastic players, Castlebar Concert Band continues to delight audiences with all kinds of music from military marches to jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and light classical. The band’s new show Big Band Boogies features rousing marches such as ‘Blaze Away’, ‘American Patrol’, and Elvis hits, plus other favourites such as ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, the moving ‘Amazing Grace’, and ‘You Raise Me Up’ sung by the young soloist Deirdre Filan with band accompaniment.

Special guests on the night, The Mayo Youth Orchestra under musical director Debbie Clarke will also present a delightful programme of recitals such as Vivaldi's ‘Spring Largo’, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’, and ‘Star Wars’. All in all, a great night of popular musical favourites in prospect, with something for everyone and entertainment assured to the very last note. Castlebar Concert Band and the Mayo Youth Orchestra appear at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Thursday March 5 at 8pm. Booking advised. Tel: 094 9023733.

Don Baker at the Linenhall

One of Ireland's most revered musicians, legendary singer/songwriter Don Baker performs at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar on Thursday March 12 at 8pm. Don Baker is a singer, songwriter and guitarist and harmonica player of stunning individuality. He has been feted by audiences, the media, the music industry and fellow musicians all over Europe and the US, in a career spanning over 30 years that has also included acting roles (In the Name of the Father, Mia, On the Nose, Mystics ) and a recent appearance on RTÉ’s Fáilte Towers.

Don has produced a string of acclaimed albums including Miss You, Just Don Baker, No Regrets, Almost Illegal and Rain on the Wind, and his extraordinary life has been chronicled in his best-selling biography The Winner in Me by Jackie Hayden. For this concert Don will be accompanied by veteran guitarist Gerry Hendrick. Don’t miss the real deal. Don Baker performs at the Linenhall Arts Centre on Thursday March 12 at 8pm.

Michael McSwiney exhibition

A powerful and compelling exhibition of recent paintings by artist Michael McSwiney continues at the Linenhall Arts Centre in Castlebar. McSwiney portrays a world of abandoned, often threatening panoramas of land and sea through layered, textured, sometimes ‘abstract expressionistic’ images inspired from memory. Since graduating from NCAD, Michael has travelled and exhibited widely. He has recently returned to live in Ireland, and is now based in West Cork. The exhibition runs until Saturday February 28.


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