ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

ARTS COLUMN: Much to look forward to this week and next month!

Conor Malone has a look ahead to what lies in store on the arts and entertainment scene

Conor Malone

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Conor Malone

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editorial@donegaldemocrat.com

Arts column - Conor Malone

Duke Special - coming to the Earagail Arts Festival

This Weeks Highlights

Grove Theatre Group’s production of Grease opens on Wednesday night (June 13th) at The Millennium Forum, Derry. It’s there for another three nights, finishing up on Saturday. Also on Thursday, it's the second and final night of the Donegal National Schools Drama Festival at The Balor, Ballybofey.

The Balor hosts the Rodney Deery School Of Music on Saturday, June 16th while The Dublin City Ramblers play The Alley in Strabane.

Hypnotist/comedian Adrian Knight opens a four night run at The Millennium Forum in Derry next Wednesday June 20th (he’s there until Saturday) and Wednesday also sees the Helen O Grady Drama Academy perform at The Playhouse in Derry.

Rodney Deery School Of Music

The Balor hosts The Rodney Deery School Of Music for a special showcase concert this coming Saturday.

Operating out of The Base Enterprise Centre in Stranorlar,The Rodney Deery School of Music is one of the Twin Towns' undoubted success stories of the past few years, teaching voice piano and a range of other music to people of all ages. 

This special showcase night will feature performances from pupils of Rodney Deery School of Music in the form of various solo pieces and musical ensembles across the disciplines of Piano, Saxophone, Clarinet and Vocal.  

The Deerys are of course, one of Ballybofey’s best known musical families and the night will also see Rodney joined on stage by his father Vivian and wife Claire. There will also be an appearance from the dancers of the Aishlingi Academy and a few more special guests into the bargain and a special tribute to Rodney’s brother Liam, the immensely gifted guitarist who sadly passed away recently. 

MC for the night is well known writer and raconteur Fergus Cleary with proceeds from the night in aid of Cunamh. 

The Rodney Deery School Of Music Concert takes place this Saturday, June 16th at 8pm at The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey. Tickets are €15 (€40 for a family of 4).

Rambling On

One for the ‘I didn’t know they were still going’ file – The Dublin City Ramblers are at The Alley Theatre in Strabane this weekend. The Ramblers' blend of ballads, folk, humour and foot-tapping music has kept audiences entertained worldwide for over 35 years.

In that time they’ve released over 30 albums (eight of which went Gold), numerous top 10 hits and several awards for best Ballad/Folk group. Among their many fans are The Quiet Man actress Maureen O'Hara and ex-Republic Of Ireland soccer manager Jack Charlton! – all of which makes a decent case for them to be classed as Ireland’s number one ballad group but that’s an argument we’ll leave for another day.

The line-up has changed various times over the years with Sean McGuinness the only original member remaining but the catalogue of hits including Rare Aul Times, Sailing Home and The Flight Of The Earls remains just as vibrant.

The Dublin City Ramblers play The Alley, Strabane this Saturday June 16th at 8pm. Tickets are £16 (£14 concession).

Duke Special & Ulaid

The Earagail Arts Festival takes place next month from 11th to 29th July. There’s 19 days of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus & carnival at various venues throughout the county. There’ll be a more in depth look at the festivals offerings closer to the time but it’s good to take the opportunity in a quiet week like this (when I’m trying to fill a word count!) to flag up some of the more interesting gigs coming your way in July.

I mentioned the California Feetwarmers and The Lost Brothers last week. Another interesting gig that caught my eye is the on the surface collaboration between folk group Ulaid and singer/songwriter Duke Special who perform together at The Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny (behind An Grianan on The Port Road) on Friday July 13th.

At first blush this may seem an unlikely coalition between contemporary pop and traditional folk. Duke, however, has always been one of Ireland’s most versatile artists negotiating a path comfortably encompassing radio friendly pop with more theatrical vaudeville and music hall elements.

He also has previous in trad/folk collaboration, appearing on Clannad’s album Nadur in 2013. For their part Ulaid skills in arrangement, interpretation, composition and performance lends a folk-but-modern twist to their sound so it’s clear to see how this marriage could work really, really well. It’s sort of like cooking and finding out that two flavours that you wouldn’t necessarily think of putting together combine to make something unusually delicious.

Duke Special and Ulaid play the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on Friday July 13th at 8pm. I hope they’re not superstitious. Tickets are €15 (€12 concession) available (as are tickets for all Earagail Arts Festival shows) from the An Grianan Theatre box office on 0749120777 or online at www.eaf.ie