Arts Column with Conor Malone

A Charitable Aul’ Soul

A Charitable Aul’ Soul

Local entertainment journalist Sean ‘Elwood’ Feeney is poacher turned gamekeeper this Saturday night, putting down his reviewing pen and getting on stage and performing at the launch of his new charity album Sean Feeney’s Northern Soul.

In a unique and fascinating mixture of styles, Sean has put together an album of Motown and Soul classics but with a never before heard blend of Irish folk and traditional sounds.

Ever wondered what Soul Man would sound like with Uileann Pipes? Or Reach Out I’ll Be There with a fiddle? Well, wonder no more.

For the project, Sean has reached out to many of Donegal’s top musicians, including fiddle players Matt McGranaghan, Theresa Kavanagh and hot shot trad trio Fidil (Damien Mcgeehan, Aidan O Donnell and Ciaran O Maonaigh), uileann piper Martin Crossin and flute player Trudy O Donnell. Michael Gillespie is on double bass, Orri McBrearty on mandolin and Declan McCafferty on ukulele with Don Ponsonby on drums. There’s also guest vocals from the likes of Tommy Callaghan, David Oliver and The Henry Girls. Truly an all-star line-up.

The album was produced by Mark Black and mastered by Orri McBrearty at Tommy McLoughlins Attica Sound in Termon. It’ll be on sale at the launch and in the coming weeks at various outlets to be confirmed. Best of all, this whole undertaking is for charity with all funds raised in aid of GROW Mental Health Movement (Donegal Branch) and the North West Simon Community.

Sean Feeney’s Northern Soul launches this Saturday November 3rd at 8pm at An Grianan, Letterkenny, Tickets are only €10 – which is a real steal when you consider the amount of talent on display. For bookings etc. contact An Grianan Box Office on 0749120777.

A Double Date With The Calendar Girls

Everybody will remember the 2003 hit comedy film Calendar Girls starring, amongst others, Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. Based on a true story, it was a huge success both at the box office and with the critics.

You all know the story. Eleven Women’s Institute members pose for an alternative nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia research. The news spreads like wildfire via local, national and eventually international press and the women receive unimagined amounts of media attention and fame. It’s a real feel good story – quirky, poignant and hilarious.

The film was adapted into a stage play which opened in London’s West End in 2009 and subsequently embarked on two national tours. The amateur theatrical rights became available in Ireland this year and amateur drama groups have been falling over themselves in the rush to stage it.

I’ve seen brochures from theatres in Dublin, Cork and Waterford, all with amateur productions on Calendar Girls on the go this autumn, and Donegal is no exception. In fact, there are two different groups both performing Calendar Girls at the same time next week. Letterkenny Music & Drama Group are at An Grianan, Letterkenny on the 8th, 9th and 10th of November, while Strabanes Puddle Alley Theatre Group are at The Balor, Ballybofey on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th. Puddle Alley are also at The Playhouse, Derry this week (Thurs 1st and Fri 2nd November) and at The Alley, Strabane on the 14th and 15th of November.

It’s an unfortunate scheduling conflict – unique in some respects. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the same show being scheduled by two different groups at the same time just 12 miles apart. Here’s hoping that there’s enough interest in both groups to ensure both productions are a success.

Letterkenny Music & Drama group perform Calendar Girls at An Grianan, Letterkenny for a three night run – Thurs Nov 8th to Saturday Nov 10th at 8pm nightly. Tickets are €15 and are available from An Grianan Box Office on 074 912 0777. Meanwhile Puddle Alley Theatre Group are at The Balor, Ballybofey on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th at 8.30pm nightly. Admission for this one is €12 (€10 concession) and are available from The Balor Box Office on 074 913 1840.

Acca Dacca

We always like a good tribute band here at The Balor and when we get our hands on a good one – Limehouse Lizzy would be the gold standard as far as I’m concerned – it’s always a great night.

We’ve a cracker lined up this Sunday night with Acca Dacca. T top Australian ACDC tribute band who come with a great reputation and the personal endorsement of legendary ACDC guitarist Angus Young himself: “If you can’t see us, go see Acca Dacca”.

Acca Dacca are Australia’s only internationally acclaimed tribute to ACDC. They’ve been on the go for the last ten years over which time they’ve developed a live reputation that is second to none.

The show is over two hours long with Bon Scott classics such as Dirty Dees, Whole Lotta Rosie, and Let There Be Rock. Brian Johnson fans won’t be disappointed either, with their set also finding room for famous hits like Thunderstruck, Hells Bells and Back in Black.

The gig will be a mixture of seated and standing, so you can let your hair down and rock out or sit back and listen, according to your mood. Acca Dacca play The Balor this Sunday Nov 4th at 8.30pm. Tickets are €15 and available from The Balor Box Office on 074 913 1840.

Weekly Round Up

Puddle Alley Theatre Group perform Calendar Girls at The Playhouse, Derry tonight and tomorrow (Thurs 1st and Fri 2nd November). There’s an evening of country and gospel at The Alley, Strabane on Friday with Warren Smyth and George Hamilton and The Henry Girls are there on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Sean Feeney’s Northern Soul is at An Grianan, Letterkenny, Don McLean plays The Millennium Forum, Derry and Born To Run – a play on the music, life and loves of Bruce Springsteen - is at The Playhouse.

Sunday night gives you a choice of two excellent tribute bands. Eagles tribute band Talon are at The Millennium Forum while Australian ACDC tribute Acca Dacca are at The Balor, Balybofey. Also on Sunday, there’s scary drama at The Playhouse, Derry with The Haunting At The Beech Hill Hotel.

On Wednesday, Damien Dempsey play the first of three gigs in the North West at The Playhouse, Derry. (He also plays Mcgrory’s, Culdaff on Friday November 9th and at The Balor, Ballybofey on Saturday November 17th) while the week ends as it starts at The Alley, Strabane with more country music in the form of Jimmy Buckey and special guest Susan McCann.