Arts Column

Arts Column
This Week’s Highlights include The Henry Girls and guests tonight in Glenties; North West Words at the Failte Centre, Burtonport tomorrow night; comedian Micky Bartlett at the Alley, Strabane on Saturday; The Magic Flute on Saturday and and musical nostalgia on Sunday, both at the Millenium Forum.

This Week’s Highlights include The Henry Girls and guests tonight in Glenties; North West Words at the Failte Centre, Burtonport tomorrow night; comedian Micky Bartlett at the Alley, Strabane on Saturday; The Magic Flute on Saturday and and musical nostalgia on Sunday, both at the Millenium Forum.

The Henry Girls

There’s a gig at The Highlands Hotel in Glenties tonight marking the eve of the Harvest Fair Day. The Henry Girls will be joined by special guests including Tanya McCole, Ted Ponsonby and Denise Boyle.

The Henry Girls – Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from Inishowen – have been casting their musical spell over audiences in Ireland and beyond for many years. They’ve forged a growing worldwide reputation performing extensively in Europe and the US. Their music is a great mix of folk, bluegrass and country with their subtle and enchanting three part vocal harmonies a trademark. They’ll be joined in this gig by well known guitarist Ten Ponsonby, Glenties native Denise Boyle and Tanya McCole. Tanya, an Ardara woman, is a cousin of the Henrys and an excellent Blues and Soul singer in her own right.

Tonight’s gig is a reprise of the same gig last year which turned out to be an amazing night of music. There’s absolutely no reason to think that this year should be any different. Doors open at 7.30pm tonight – Thursday September 11th – at The Highlands Hotel, Glenties. The gig starts at 8.00pm and it’s €12 admission. Don’t miss it.

Good Night, Good Cause

North West Words are staging a fundraising event at and for the Failte Centre in Burtonport tomorrow night (Friday September 12th). Included in a packed evening of poetry, music and storytelling is the launch of a new book – Donegal Sunset by Annie O Donnell. There’s poetry courtesy of North West Words Eamonn Bonner, Maureen Curran, Annmarie Gallagher and Nick Griffiths, as well as readings from primary school poets and younger writers.

On the music side of things there’s Liam Mcgee and Dillon Rodgers, David McCarron and Owen Scally, plus guest artists and performers. There’ll also be Lobster Pot Seafood chowder, Tea, Coffee and refreshments, a raffle and Lord knows what else.

Events get under way at 8pm at the Failte Centre in Burtonport. It’s €5 admission, €3 concession and, as I say, it’s a fundraiser for the centre. Good night, good cause, so do come along if you can.

All Ireland repercussions

Being a Waterford man, Croke Park hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for me. Four losing All-Ireland hurling semi-finals (or was it 5 – can’t quite remember, they’re like Bond films, all blending into one at this stage).Then the one time we actually won the semi final I wasn’t there. I did go to the final though to watch the Deise get an absolute pasting at the hands of Kilkenny. I also was at Croker to see the Irish soccer team lose 1-0 to France in the 1st leg of what was to become the infamous Hand of Henry world Cup playoff. Thank God so I’m Donegal by marriage. The Donegal Dublin semi final a week ago last Sunday was the first time in my life I left Croke Park smiling.

That’s all very well Conor you might say. But this is an arts column. What’s the football got to do with it? Well, nothing happens in a vacuum, if a butterfly flaps its wings in the Caribbean, there’s a thunderstorm in Africa and, likewise, when Donegal reaches the All-Ireland it has a knock on effect for the arts. Back of an envelope calculation – if there’s 40,000 Donegal fans in Croke Park for the final and they spend €200 each that’s €8 million spent in Dublin rather than Donegal.

With that in mind, here at The Balor we’ve made a few changes to our programme as a result of the absolute awesomeness of the Donegal footballers. The American Wrestling Roadshow scheduled for this Saturday September 13th will now take place on Saturday October 4th. Slow Skies (featuring Glenties man Conal Herron) were originally set to play a Balor gig on Monday September 22nd. Considering the entire county will be congregated in the Diamond in Donegal Town that night, we’ve decided to postpone that gig until the following Monday, September 29th. Slow Skies are well worth checking out by the way – an ambient folk sound reminiscent of The XX, they’ve supported the likes of Cat Power, St Vincent and James Vincent McMorrow and are tipped for very big things.

The one gig that’s still very much up in the air is the Dr Feelgood gig slated for the Friday before the All Ireland final – September 19th. At the time of writing we’re still deciding whether to stick or twist with this one. We’ll probably make a decision early next week based on ticket sales so, if you are planning on going, book your ticket soon.

And if anyone has a spare ticket for the All Ireland give me a shout, yeah?

Frank Pig Says Hello

No doubt also affected by the football will be An Grianan Theatre’s in-house production of Frank Pig Says Hello.

Adapted from Pat McCabe’s novel The Butcher Boy, it tells the story of a young man’s breakdown in a rural Irish town in the ’60’s. Directed by David Grant it’s a poignant and provocative journey into the heart and mind of Francis Brady, a young man driven beyond the boundaries of his mental and emotional health. Over 30 characters are played by two versatile actors – Patrick McBrearty (no, not that Patrick McBrearty, he’s busy in Croke Park) and Stefan Dunbar – in a powerfully evocative and rewarding theatre experience.

Frank Pig Says Hello is at An Grianan on Saturday September 20th (the night before the All Ireland) and there’s a matinee show for schools on Monday 22nd, so you can see how the football may affect attendences. All is not lost however, as Frank Pig Says Hello is back in An Grianan in a couple of weeks time on Saturday 4th October. It’s also in The Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon on Wednesday October 1st as part of The Donegal Bay & Bluestacks Festival.

Indeed, the Ballyshannon and Letterkenny shows are part of a 13 date tour for the production starting this Saturday in Belfast and stopping in Monaghan, Enniskillen, Longford, Drogheda, Armagh, Drogheda, Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo before finishing up in An Grianan in October.