Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mamuska, Listowel Writers Week, Blues Special

Apologies for not updating the site over the past few weeks, just bogged down with editing. Just a quick recap on the previous weeks shows.

Friday June 2nd
-Interview with Ciaran Gleeson of the Classic Film Club, Listowel, who spoke about the films that were being run in conjuction with the Listowel Writers Week
-Interview with Davide Terlingo of Daghda Dance Company, who spoke about the last Mamuska night of the season
-Continuing the Beckett series with Shirley O'Regan
-Interview with James Cowden, a poet from Devon, one of many interviews done on a trip to Somerset and Dorset in February in a cross community radio project with farm radio there- a poet very much rooted in the soil, the poem he read about the devastation of the Devon countryside owing to the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 made for powerful radio

Then it was on to Listowel for Seachtain na Scriobhneóirí. The sun was splitting the stones and a feel-good factor was present throughout this wonderful North Kerry town. It proved to be a fertile ground for Éagsúil as well. On the Thursday, I managed to get an interview with Jennifer Johnstone, but the undoubted highlight of the weekend for me personally was getting to interview Limerick Born author Frank McCourt. Preparing questions for him by the tranquil banks of the Feale on a balmy Friday afternoon, who came to meditate alongside the river but McCourt himself. He subsequently agreed to do the interview there and then, a most fortunate coincidence given the hordes of autograph hunters who surrounded him after his reading from his new book, Teacherman.

The show on the 9th June was a writers week special featuring

-Footage from the Abbeyfeale drama group's litary tour on Thursday night (an exerpt from the Country Boy)
-Interview with Jennifer Johnstone
-Interview with the aforementioned Frank McCourt
-Interview with artist Mary Dillon, whose exhibition, Bloom opened on Friday at St. Johns theatre, and whose painting, Cala for Listowel, graced the cover of the programme for the weekend
-Vox pop from the audience who saw the film Capote on the Sunday, one of the many films shown at the classic cinema in conjuction with the weekend

Musical interludes throughout the show were provided via a recording from Sheahans bar, the type of pub that, thankfully still survives in the increasingly homogenised world of the Celtic Tiger. Divided into four sections (a tiny grocery shop, two adjoining bars and a smoking area) a poetry session was held in one of its wonderfully claustrophobic bar sections. Given my luck with Frank McCourt earlier on in the day, I truly landed on my feet when who should come into the bar but John Sheehan (Dubliners fame) and Michael Howard. The Marino Waltz never sounded better!

And Listowel was to provide plenty of material for the following weeks show. As well as unused footage from the writers week, I went to a blues gig at St. Johns theatre on Thursday June 8th, featuring Carvin Jones, from Pheonix, Arizona, and supported by promising North Kerry based Blues band Zeppo. Enjoyable, lively gig from Zeppo, with very impressive vocals and instrumentation, but the night belonged to Jones, whose frenetic guitar playing brought back memories of Hendrix for the crowd. Impromptu forays into the crowd were par for the course, and only once did he take a break from playing, to chat to a couple at the back! While he may not represent the future of the blues in terms of breaking a new mould for the genre, nonetheless he is a fantastic live musician whose honesty and enjoyment shone through.

Show for the 16th June was as follows

-Interview with Paul Howard (author of the Ross O'Carroll series, this was a chance meeting in JB Keanes pub on the Friday night of the Writers Week)
-More footage from Abbeyfeale Drama groups literary tour, this time a scene from Big Maggie
-Interview with John Connolly, drummer with Zeppo
-Interview with Carvin Jones
-Ending of the Beckett series with Shirley O'Regan

Also included was a snippet from the street busking in Newcastlewest as part of the county Fleadh. That about rounds it up, promise to keep this site updated more in the future and hopefully a few audio files will be on the way soon.

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