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Donegal's Earagail Arts, one day at a time

Conor Malone looks ahead look at the festival this week

Conor Malone


Conor Malone



Donegal's Earagail Arts, one day at a time

Kíla play McGrory’s in Culdaff tonight; and the RCC in Letterkenny tomorrow, as part of the Earagail Arts Festival.

The first week of the 2017 Earagail Arts Festival is in the books, with gigs from The Henry Girls and Femi Kuti, An Grianán Youth Theatre’s stage adaptation of "Blackadder Goes Forth" and The Nualas among the highlights.

The fun continues this week with a slew of top acts lined up for your entertainment. Here’s a brief rundown of what you should seriously consider checking out this week …

Thursday, July 13th: Recommended: Irish trad/folk/world music innovators Kila play McGrory’s in Culdaff. Often defined as contemporary Irish world music (I know, labels eh?) Kíla are really a law unto themselves, fusing Irish lyrics and Irish folk instruments such as bodhrán, whistle, uileann pipes and fiddle with more the more exotic sounds and beats of djembe, congas, drums, electric and bass guitar to come up with something that is truly all their own. As an added bonus they’ll be supported by 10-piece fusion group Basork, who combine brass, string and woodwind to produce big melodies and lots of improvisation with hints of jazz, funk and traditional music.

Also worth a look: Saint Sister and Rosie Carney play a tasty looking gig in The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny.

Friday, July 14th: Recommended: It’s oddly quiet for what you would have thought would have been one of the prime weekend festival nights. That Kíla & Basork gig is on again, this time in the Regional Cultural Centre and…well…that’s about it.

Saturday, July 15th: Recommended: Really looking forward to For Foresters and Leila Jane & The Healers, who play The Balor, Ballybofey. There’s a great local buzz about For Foresters, who are a young Donegal band very much on the rise. Leila Jane played the Balor as a solo artist as part of a bill including Tanjier and For Foresters last December and I’ve rarely seen a solo artist command and enthral a crowd like she did. Can’t wait to see what she does with a full band behind her.

Also worth a look: It’s back to the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny again, where Iranian trio Constantinople and Senegal's Ablaye Cissoko combine for what’s billed as "epic sounds from the Mandingo kingdom to the Persian courts”.

Sunday, July 16th: Recommended: Altan's Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, sister Anna, brother Gearóid and his son Ciarán are joined by Manus Lunny to form Na Mooneys. They play a 4pm afternoon gig in The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny. Expect top-class trad from a family steeped in music.

Also worth a look: The Donegal International Folk & Roots weekend closing concert takes place at An Grianán Theatre. It features The Atlantic Arc Orchestra – a specially commissioned 8-piece ensemble under the musical direction of Dónal Lunny.

Monday, July 17th: There’s nothing that really jumps out at me to be honest. Take a day off. Watch Netflix.

Tuesday, July 18th: Recommended: Rathmullan House gardens are the setting for Chapterhouse Theatres production of the Charles Dickens classic, "Great Expectations", at 3pm in the afternoon. Just hope it doesn’t rain!

Also worth a look: Hope Hunt, winner of The Best Performance Dublin Tiger Fringe Festival 2016, is a combination of physical theatre, social proclamation and dance. It’s at The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny.

Wednesday, July 19th: Recommended: Paddy Cullivan’s "10 Dark Secrets of The Irish Revolution" is at The Balor in Balybofey.

Also Worth A Look: "Green and Blue" at An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny is a "drama of substantial insight and revelation" drawn from an oral archive of serving gardaí and RUC men who patrolled the border at the height of the Troubles.