Other Voices: Review

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How It’s New York:  What do Gabriel Byrne, Martha Wainwright, Glen Hansard, Roddy Doyle and Martin Hayes have in common?  All assembled on October 27-28 to participate in Other Voices NYC at Le Poisson Rouge.  And that’s just for starters.  It’s a small club on Bleeker Street and the “rouge” is no joke; the lighting’s pretty red in there.  That easy to assemble range of talent is a hallmark of NYC.

How It’s Irish:  This is a New York installment of a popular Irish show, which is filmed in a small church in Dingle.  The relaxed feel on stage and pairing of musicians from different backgrounds was meant to be like a seisún.   It was.

A version of this piece first appeared in Irish Examiner, Nov. 1.  Check related posts on Other Voices NYC here and here.
  

Philip King (Jacob Blickenstaff)

Some performances are worth standing in the rain for.  I waited outside Le Poisson Rouge last week to make sure I’d get a seat at a table for the New York premiere of Other Voices   the popular musical evening broadcast from a church in Dingle in Ireland, conceived by Philip King.  And it was one of those magical evenings you just feel lucky to have been in the room.
Other Voices NYC  Thursday and Friday were presented as part of Culture Ireland’s Imagine Ireland yearlong initiative.  They brought together some of the best trad and pop musicians from Ireland, collaborating with terrific New York acts.  And, new for the Other Voices program, there were literary readings:  the shows were benefits for the Fighting Words creative writing center in Dublin. On hand were Gabriel Byrne, Glen Hansard, Roddy Doyle, Martin Hayes, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Bartlett (who curated the music), Bell X1, Sam Amidon, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Joseph O’Connor, Martha Wainwright, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Colum McCann and many more—including a surprise visit from Damien Rice. The show I saw really fulfilled King’s concept of how the American and Irish music play off of one another and blend together.
I chatted with Martin before the show began, and he said the vibe backstage was relaxed, like a seisún.  They had rehearsed, but weren’t really sure what would happen.  Caoimhín ÓRaghellaigh told me that when Philip tells him to save the dates, he does, because he knows it will be something special.
Although television cameras were everywhere, and very quickly there were hordes of people standing, it did there was a laidback, friendly, almost ad hoc kind of feel.  Artists announced one another and stayed onstage to watch.    American singer/fiddler Sam Amidon left his case open onstage.  Here are some of the top moments of the night.


Gabriel Byrne, Martin Hayes (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Gabriel Byrne kicked off the night in a low-key way, admitting he had trouble finding the club because he kept asking for “le croissant rouge.”   Heh.  That’s also so New York.  You can live here forever and miss great venues and restaurants right under your nose.  Mick Moloney, who teaches at NYU and lives nearby, told me it was the first time he’d been to the club  also.
One of the nice things about the evening was the way it showed off performers doing things you might not expect.  I would not have expected to see  Glen Hansard read a poem by Seamus Heaney.  It was about music from the fairies, and trad musician Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh played a haunting, scraping sound on his fiddle.
This led without pause into American Sam Amidon singing an absolutely haunting version of “Pretty Saro,” with some of Thomas Bartlett’s band (he plays the Burgundy Stain Sessions).  Bell X1 were next, playing some mellow rock sounds.  The band is playing Le Poisson Rouge November 16; watch for our review here.
 Martha Wainwright, in a red dress and pumps, sang “The Minstrel Boy” (and again, nice to have this quintessential Irish ballad given to the American folky) in her distinctive, kind of girlish voice that went on to just rock out. I glanced over and saw Culture Ireland’s Eugene Downes’ head bobbing back and forth.  Who could help it?  She danced the music.
Gabriel Byrne read from dog-eared pages tales from his young days as an actor, that were self-deprecating and endearing.  It was half poem, half comedy routine and entirely charming as he described a show where “free tickets are distributed to ungrateful audiences.”  His story of his first role on RTÉ, playing a priest trying to milk his line “this way, please” was too funny (he ultimately smashed into a statue of the Blessed Virgin that had been borrowed from local nuns).  I glanced over and saw Glen Hansard chuckling a the stage door.

Martin Hayes (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Another story followed, this one to introduce one of the most stunning musical selections of the night.  Thomas Bartlett, at the piano, introduced Martin Hayes and described his story of being a kid on holiday in America with his family, basically following Martin around.  Martin continued the story by talking about how he then got emails about a gig, which he accepted, and it was only when it slipped through “I’ll have to ask my mother” that he realized it was the same little boy.  The gig worked out, though, and Martin has been following his career since.  Martin then went into “The Sailor’s Bonnet,” a tune by Michael Coleman that had, he said, a slow tune contained in a fast one.  He was joined by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, and Thomas, and Sam.  Martin said he has been playing this with a group called The Gloaming (Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Thomas Barlett) —look for that album this spring, I hope.  There’s something just remarkable about the jazzy accompaniment (Thomas’ keyboards; Doug Wieslman on tenor clarinet) to Martin’s purity of phrasing.  Martin is always exciting; this arrangement brought it into something almost otherworldly.
 As the set built in pace it grew in excitement.  The energy seemed uncontainable.  Philip King bounced on his toes like he was about to fly away.  The crowd was still screaming from the fifteen-minute segment when Gabriel Byrne came on to announce Paul Muldoon.  Muldoon read a graceful poem about Bob Dylan, “Bob Dylan at Princeton, November 2000,” seamlessly seguing into Philip King and Glen Hansard rocking out to Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.
@Jacob Blickenstaff
Roddy Doyle talked about FightingWords, and about the Dublin use of language and its creativity.  “There’s no tax on slang,” he said.  The words being used in the depression will be reinvented:  “Come over here or I’ll repossesses you.”
Jape, a young duo, came on and played their folky rock sounds. 
Damien Rice was a surprise guest, looking very shaggy.  He sang a sad song, just himself and his guitar, that was impassioned and very moving.  It was a bewildered plea that touched the heart (apparently it;s called “Le Professuer et la danse fille;” it ends in French), when he sang “I don’t know anyone.”  The emotion and strong vocals made this song one of the night’s stand-outs.
The Lost Brothers, who are not brothers, sounded American but are an Irish duo with sweet harmonies. 
And of course, Glen Hansard, the headliner, sang as well, including a new song.   His emotion is right there, and he gives himself to the performance (even though when playing with other musicians he sometimes turns upstage).  But what I really loved was how he talked about Ireland as a wild young girl (it was in the context of imagining countries as people.  Italy, with its glamour, would be the devil).     

Lately she’s had a fake tan and Gucci bags, but “she’s beginning to discover her beauty again.  I saw a freckle on her last week.”

Sharon Van Etten, another surprise guest, showed off an impressive voice, accompanying herself on guitar.  The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner played a kind of tone poem on the guitar. Justin Bond, also a surprise, showed up in sparkly drag, straight from St. Ann’s Warehouse, and movingly sang Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ About a Revolution.”  You could see Glen Hansard at the side of the stage singing quietly along.  He then went into a poignant song called “a patriot’s heart” about a male stripper.
@Jacob Blickenstaff
After those songs about patriotism it made sense to go into the quieter world of literature, with selections that also hinted at the complex emotions of national pride.  Colum McCann read from James Joyce’s Ulysses, a section in which Bloom and the Citizen discuss nationalities, ending with Bloom, the Jewish character, saying “my nation is Ireland.”  Colum always does all the voices, and when when he reads Joyce, the narrative is crystal clear.  He also read one of his own stories, “Fishing the Sloe-Black River,” a magical realist story about women fishing for their sons in the river.  Like the selection from Joyce, the story, though an older one, felt completely fresh and current.  And it went without pause into Sam Amidon, who had been playing underneath, singing “The Streets of Derry.”
Finally the evening concluded with Paul Muldoon reading Seán Ó Ríordáin’s “Saoirse” in English, followed by Iarla Ó Lionáird singing it in Irish, accompanied by Doveman, followed by Martha and Glen singing “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.”
If you missed it don’t despair.  There will be a television program and I think also a CD made from the two nights.   And as soon as there are official clips we will upload them
But I’m glad I was in the room.  It was one for the ages.
Iarla Ó Lionáird (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 New York Irish Arts

Other Voices: Review

0 0 0 0 0
Republish
Reprint
How It’s New York:  What do Gabriel Byrne, Martha Wainwright, Glen Hansard, Roddy Doyle and Martin Hayes have in common?  All assembled on October 27-28 to participate in Other Voices NYC at Le Poisson Rouge.  And that’s just for starters.  It’s a small club on Bleeker Street and the “rouge” is no joke; the lighting’s pretty red in there.  That easy to assemble range of talent is a hallmark of NYC.

How It’s Irish:  This is a New York installment of a popular Irish show, which is filmed in a small church in Dingle.  The relaxed feel on stage and pairing of musicians from different backgrounds was meant to be like a seisún.   It was.

A version of this piece first appeared in Irish Examiner, Nov. 1.  Check related posts on Other Voices NYC here and here.
  

Philip King (Jacob Blickenstaff)

Some performances are worth standing in the rain for.  I waited outside Le Poisson Rouge last week to make sure I’d get a seat at a table for the New York premiere of Other Voices   the popular musical evening broadcast from a church in Dingle in Ireland, conceived by Philip King.  And it was one of those magical evenings you just feel lucky to have been in the room.
Other Voices NYC  Thursday and Friday were presented as part of Culture Ireland’s Imagine Ireland yearlong initiative.  They brought together some of the best trad and pop musicians from Ireland, collaborating with terrific New York acts.  And, new for the Other Voices program, there were literary readings:  the shows were benefits for the Fighting Words creative writing center in Dublin. On hand were Gabriel Byrne, Glen Hansard, Roddy Doyle, Martin Hayes, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Bartlett (who curated the music), Bell X1, Sam Amidon, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Joseph O’Connor, Martha Wainwright, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Colum McCann and many more—including a surprise visit from Damien Rice. The show I saw really fulfilled King’s concept of how the American and Irish music play off of one another and blend together.
I chatted with Martin before the show began, and he said the vibe backstage was relaxed, like a seisún.  They had rehearsed, but weren’t really sure what would happen.  Caoimhín ÓRaghellaigh told me that when Philip tells him to save the dates, he does, because he knows it will be something special.
Although television cameras were everywhere, and very quickly there were hordes of people standing, it did there was a laidback, friendly, almost ad hoc kind of feel.  Artists announced one another and stayed onstage to watch.    American singer/fiddler Sam Amidon left his case open onstage.  Here are some of the top moments of the night.


Gabriel Byrne, Martin Hayes (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Gabriel Byrne kicked off the night in a low-key way, admitting he had trouble finding the club because he kept asking for “le croissant rouge.”   Heh.  That’s also so New York.  You can live here forever and miss great venues and restaurants right under your nose.  Mick Moloney, who teaches at NYU and lives nearby, told me it was the first time he’d been to the club  also.
One of the nice things about the evening was the way it showed off performers doing things you might not expect.  I would not have expected to see  Glen Hansard read a poem by Seamus Heaney.  It was about music from the fairies, and trad musician Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh played a haunting, scraping sound on his fiddle.
This led without pause into American Sam Amidon singing an absolutely haunting version of “Pretty Saro,” with some of Thomas Bartlett’s band (he plays the Burgundy Stain Sessions).  Bell X1 were next, playing some mellow rock sounds.  The band is playing Le Poisson Rouge November 16; watch for our review here.
 Martha Wainwright, in a red dress and pumps, sang “The Minstrel Boy” (and again, nice to have this quintessential Irish ballad given to the American folky) in her distinctive, kind of girlish voice that went on to just rock out. I glanced over and saw Culture Ireland’s Eugene Downes’ head bobbing back and forth.  Who could help it?  She danced the music.
Gabriel Byrne read from dog-eared pages tales from his young days as an actor, that were self-deprecating and endearing.  It was half poem, half comedy routine and entirely charming as he described a show where “free tickets are distributed to ungrateful audiences.”  His story of his first role on RTÉ, playing a priest trying to milk his line “this way, please” was too funny (he ultimately smashed into a statue of the Blessed Virgin that had been borrowed from local nuns).  I glanced over and saw Glen Hansard chuckling a the stage door.

Martin Hayes (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Another story followed, this one to introduce one of the most stunning musical selections of the night.  Thomas Bartlett, at the piano, introduced Martin Hayes and described his story of being a kid on holiday in America with his family, basically following Martin around.  Martin continued the story by talking about how he then got emails about a gig, which he accepted, and it was only when it slipped through “I’ll have to ask my mother” that he realized it was the same little boy.  The gig worked out, though, and Martin has been following his career since.  Martin then went into “The Sailor’s Bonnet,” a tune by Michael Coleman that had, he said, a slow tune contained in a fast one.  He was joined by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, and Thomas, and Sam.  Martin said he has been playing this with a group called The Gloaming (Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Thomas Barlett) —look for that album this spring, I hope.  There’s something just remarkable about the jazzy accompaniment (Thomas’ keyboards; Doug Wieslman on tenor clarinet) to Martin’s purity of phrasing.  Martin is always exciting; this arrangement brought it into something almost otherworldly.
 As the set built in pace it grew in excitement.  The energy seemed uncontainable.  Philip King bounced on his toes like he was about to fly away.  The crowd was still screaming from the fifteen-minute segment when Gabriel Byrne came on to announce Paul Muldoon.  Muldoon read a graceful poem about Bob Dylan, “Bob Dylan at Princeton, November 2000,” seamlessly seguing into Philip King and Glen Hansard rocking out to Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.
@Jacob Blickenstaff
Roddy Doyle talked about FightingWords, and about the Dublin use of language and its creativity.  “There’s no tax on slang,” he said.  The words being used in the depression will be reinvented:  “Come over here or I’ll repossesses you.”
Jape, a young duo, came on and played their folky rock sounds. 
Damien Rice was a surprise guest, looking very shaggy.  He sang a sad song, just himself and his guitar, that was impassioned and very moving.  It was a bewildered plea that touched the heart (apparently it;s called “Le Professuer et la danse fille;” it ends in French), when he sang “I don’t know anyone.”  The emotion and strong vocals made this song one of the night’s stand-outs.
The Lost Brothers, who are not brothers, sounded American but are an Irish duo with sweet harmonies. 
And of course, Glen Hansard, the headliner, sang as well, including a new song.   His emotion is right there, and he gives himself to the performance (even though when playing with other musicians he sometimes turns upstage).  But what I really loved was how he talked about Ireland as a wild young girl (it was in the context of imagining countries as people.  Italy, with its glamour, would be the devil).     

Lately she’s had a fake tan and Gucci bags, but “she’s beginning to discover her beauty again.  I saw a freckle on her last week.”

Sharon Van Etten, another surprise guest, showed off an impressive voice, accompanying herself on guitar.  The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner played a kind of tone poem on the guitar. Justin Bond, also a surprise, showed up in sparkly drag, straight from St. Ann’s Warehouse, and movingly sang Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ About a Revolution.”  You could see Glen Hansard at the side of the stage singing quietly along.  He then went into a poignant song called “a patriot’s heart” about a male stripper.
@Jacob Blickenstaff
After those songs about patriotism it made sense to go into the quieter world of literature, with selections that also hinted at the complex emotions of national pride.  Colum McCann read from James Joyce’s Ulysses, a section in which Bloom and the Citizen discuss nationalities, ending with Bloom, the Jewish character, saying “my nation is Ireland.”  Colum always does all the voices, and when when he reads Joyce, the narrative is crystal clear.  He also read one of his own stories, “Fishing the Sloe-Black River,” a magical realist story about women fishing for their sons in the river.  Like the selection from Joyce, the story, though an older one, felt completely fresh and current.  And it went without pause into Sam Amidon, who had been playing underneath, singing “The Streets of Derry.”
Finally the evening concluded with Paul Muldoon reading Seán Ó Ríordáin’s “Saoirse” in English, followed by Iarla Ó Lionáird singing it in Irish, accompanied by Doveman, followed by Martha and Glen singing “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.”
If you missed it don’t despair.  There will be a television program and I think also a CD made from the two nights.   And as soon as there are official clips we will upload them
But I’m glad I was in the room.  It was one for the ages.
Iarla Ó Lionáird (Jacob Blickenstaff)
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 New York Irish Arts