APAP brings everyone to town!


How It’s New York:  The Association of Performing Arts Presenters holds its annual conference in NY every January at the Hilton Hotel (the 6-10th this year).  Producers and presenters, press and performers convene to meet each other and get to know one another’s work, doing 20 minute showcases over the days, and sometimes longer concerts.  It’s an exciting few days!
How It’s Irish:  There are always a lot of Irish performers.  Last year Imagine Ireland launched during APAP with a bang.  This year Culture Ireland is sponsoring a number of showcases, and bringing 70 delegates (nice work if you can get it).  In addition there are Scottish and Irish and Irish-American performers appearing on their own steam.  Lots going on and you don’t want to miss the session at 11th Street on Sunday night!
APAP may not be a household word but it brings a LOT of great artists to the city, seeking presenters and producers and, ultimately, audience.  It’s a hectic, heavenly weekend (I always seem to have a cold, trawling around the city with dayquil and Cold-fx in my bag).   Note:  thanks to the cold most of these are NOT on the calendar yet; I’ll do my best to get them in there.  We’re talking Lúnasa, The Gloaming, Jean Butler, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Nuala Kennedy, much more!

It takes place at the same time as the Public Theater’s Under the Radar, which brings a lot of international work to town, and it’s always a somewhat mind-boggling task to try to figure out what to do when.  And GlobalFest is happening on Sunday, as well!  I just got a press release from Culture Ireland about the weekend which I’ll reproduce for you below– they are bringing a bunch of delegates over who aren’t presenting, too– and I also scouted through the APAP showcase list, which includes some events that aren’t via Culture Ireland.

The showcases at the Hilton are closed to the general public, but often the artists are playing other gigs in town too– which I’ll list.  And bear in mind Sunday night’s session at 11th Street, which is when all the  musicians will often turn up.  The session during APAP is unmissable!

 Here’s what Culture Ireland sent:

 The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Mr. JIMMY DEENIHAN T.D. will accompany over 70 Irish artists and presenters to New York City this weekend for Culture Ireland’s annual showcase at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference (APAP).

Since 2008, Culture Ireland has organised and led an annual mission to APAP, the largest and most competitive performing arts market in the world. Held each year in New York in early January, it is the only event that brings together nearly all the key North American programmers and presenters, and also many of the key European and Asian presenters – more than 4,000 buyers in total.

In addition to showcasing at APAP and the Under The Radar festival, COIL festival and La MaMa, Culture Ireland is delighted to be supporting showcases for the first time in other major venues this year including GlobalFEST at Webster Hall, the magnificently restored City Center and the Alvin Ailey theatre.
Speaking before he headed to New York, Minister Deenihan said: “Now, more than ever, culture is the means by which most Americans encounter Ireland. This huge territory and cultural market is a vital part of the growth strategy for many Irish artists and companies. I wish all the Irish participants at APAP every success in realising their ambitions and extend my support to them for what promises to be a very intensive and creative few days. I have no doubt that the quality and range of work being showcased by Irish artists this weekend will lead to further opportunities, co-productions and collaborations for future seasons”.
CEO of Culture Ireland Mr. EUGENE DOWNES said: “Imagine Ireland was a huge success story for Irish artists and for the Government’s investment in Culture Ireland and the promotion of Irish arts abroad. It opened many doors for Ireland throughout the US and the APAP Conference gives us the chance to build on that momentum by showcasing some of our leading artists to this unique gathering of international presenters and promoters from around the world.”

Public Showcases (note:  this is my interpretation of the way they are listed, but to be 100% sure, call first; I’ve included contact info where I have it):


Camille O’Sullivan
Fri 6 Jan 7.30pm at Joe’s Pub,  425 Lafayette Street and 11.30pm 
The chameleon-like, internationally acclaimed singer interprets Cave, Waits, Brel, Bowie and more.Tickets to this are GONE, but you can always try lining up at the box office or calling 212-967-7555.

Nuala Kennedy Trio
Fri. 6 Jan. 7:00pm at The Living Room, 154 Ludlow St; Sun. 8Jan 8:30pm at Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones St.
Nuala Kennedy’s singing and flute playing springs from the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland and from her own imagination. A consummate performer with a buoyant personality, her music has been described as “unique” and “evocative.” Her instrumental prowess is deep, and her repertoire includes both Scottish and Irish tunes.

Phamie Gow (supported by The British Embassy/British Council)
Sun. 8 Jan. 10:00pm at The Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street. Between Houston and Stanton 
Internationally acclaimed Phamie Gow from Scotland, is as one of the leading harpists, pianists and composers on the serious music scene. With 6 solo albums released, and a 7th due for release in May 2012 (distributed by Universal UK), Phamie is quickly becoming recognised as a young talent not to be missed.

 Thomas Bartlett, Dennis Cahill, Martin Hayes,
Iarla Ó Lionaird, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh
The Gloaming
Sun 8 Jan 7pm | GlobalFEST at Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street
The Gloaming is a collective of remarkable individual talents who share a musical aesthetic.
The five came together to explore new music at Grouse Lodge Studios is Westmeath in early
2011. New York pianist Thomas Bartlett, sean-nos singer Iarla Ó Lionaird, Chicago guitarist Dennis Cahill, fiddler and hardanger innovator Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and fiddle master Martin Hayes.
SOLD OUT but again you can always try lining up at the box office.

Lúnasa F/B The Klezmatics
Mon 9 Jan 9pm | The Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street
Iconic Irish traditional music ensemble Lúnasa is poised for the release of their seventh album Lá Nua in April on Lúnasa Records. The new album, their first studio effort in four years, follows the critically acclaimed 2006 release Sé.

The Klezmatics come on at 10, and it’s my great hope that they will play together!  The Klezmatics were recently featured on Conan O’Brien. 

Irish Modern Dance Theatre
Body Duets
Sat 7 Jan 11am, Mon 9 Jan 3pm, Tues 10 Jan 1pm
La MaMa ETC, 74A East 4th Street, (between Bowery & 2nd Ave)
Lost loves, new loves, a past, present, and a future: we all have them. Don’t we? Body Duets is a striking new dance piece from John Scott’s Irish Modern Dance Theatre that celebrates the ecstatic feeling of being together, of losing fear and inhibition, and trusting being together.

Michael Kliën with Steve Valk
Choreography for Blackboards
Sun 8 Jan 3pm, Mon 9 Jan 6pm, Tues 10 Jan 8pm, Wed 11 Jan 6pm
The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn
A silent, communal matrix of individuals “dreaming the real” imprints a landscape of marks and meaning on the surfaces of blackboards through a series of rehearsed patterns. Rising thoughts, visual thinking and sensual perception form a choreography relating to exchange, sedimentation, erosion and demise, as audience members bear witness. You may sit, you may talk, you may read, you may walk throughout the performance.

Luke Murphy
Mon 9 Jan 1pm | New York City Center Studio, 131 West 55th Street [between 6th & 7th]
Drenched is a duet work for Luke Murphy and Carlye Eckert. Focusing on the nature of love, both as an idea and a reality, the piece deconstructs the notions through which we filter relationships. Incorporating a multi-channel projection installation by video artist David Fishel and haunting soundscape with influences from Eddie Murphy to Elvis Presley to electronic folk group Silver Mt Zion, Drenched is a piece of viscerally physical dance theatre with a sharp edge and sharper sense of humour.

Arcane Collective
Cold Dream Colour
Sat 7 Jan 7.45pm, Sun 8 Jan 3.35pm, Mon 9 Jan 9.40pm
Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55th Street & 9th Avenue
Cold Dream Colour journeys through the surreal and powerful imagery inherent in the paintings of Louis le Brocquy, Ireland’s foremost living artist. Choreography is by Steinberg, Oguri and Liz Roche with original music by The Edge and Paul Chavez.

Jean Butler
Hurry the Jug
Sat 7 Jan 12pm, 2pm & 4pm
Douglas Dunn Studio, 3rd Floor, 541 Broadway
A work-in-progress presented as part of a mixed-bill programme, Hurry the Jug is the beginning of a return for dancer Jean Butler. After a period working with the esteemed NY-based choreographer Tere O’Connor on the solo, DAY, Jean revisits the lexicon of her traditional form with a newfound curiosity and inspiration. In it, she surrenders to the idea of knowing, and embraces a world full of permission.

NOT open to the general public, but worth your knowing about (and they might show up at sessions around town):

Cady Finlayson Band:  Spirited Irish Music with a Global Twist
Cady Finlayson & Vita Tanga take audiences on an International Irish-flavored journey.  Irish dancing included!
Hilton Hotel showcases only.

McLean Avenue Band & Irish Dance Group Emerald Fire.
Paidraig Allen’s McLean Avenue Band and Joanna Barry Connolly’s Irish dance group Emerald Fire.  Dance, Celtic fairy tale, bluegrass and rock and roll.
One showcase downtown at DROM, 85 Avenue A. ** this may be open, I’m not sure.

The Prodigals Go Acoustic!
The Prodigals go acoustic! Born of a performance at Austin Celtic Festival, a new forum that combines “thoughtful, intelligent lyrics” [Washington Post] with “expertise on accordion and understanding of Irish music [that] elevate” (All Music Guide), “outstanding vocals” (Rambles.net) with virtuosic rhythm work, to create a sound that the Irish Voice dubbed an “artistic triumph.”
Hilton Showcase only.   

International String Trio (Slava Tolstoy, guitar/musical director; Ippei Ichimaru, acoustic bass; Ben Powell, violin)
dynamic trio (violin, guitar, bass) performing Gypsy jazz, Appalachian folk, world music (Irish, Klezmer, Russian, Italian, French, Bluegrass),virtuosic classical arrangements and popular songs from movie soundtracks. The Trio enjoys using the diverse cultural backgrounds of its members, hailing from Russia, Japan and England, to influence its stylistic diversity and unique performance aesthetic.
 Hilton Showcase Only.

John McDermott
John McDermott is an artist whose sense of respect for tradition and understanding of the sentiment behind the music resonates worldwide. The success of John’s first album Danny Boy, and rapidly growing North American fan base led to his participation in the PBS phenomenon “The Irish Tenors.” 
Hilton Showcase Only.

Téada & The Ebony Hillbillies
Irish traditional band Téada is a frequent headliner at major festivals throughout the US, Canada,
Mexico, Europe, Russia, Africa, Israel and Australia. Téada’s showcase at APAP is a ground-breaking musical collaboration with the US’s premier black- string band The Ebony Hillbillies. It keeps alive an important musical legacy with a sound that echoes across generations, transcending racial and cultural boundaries. Exploring the common roots of Irish and African-American musical traditions, the partnership brings fascinating discoveries of shared repertoire
and experience.
Hilton Showcases only.

Frankie Gavin & De Dannan
For many years De Dannan were the forerunners in the Irish traditional music world but after 33 years, 14 albums and a number of changes in the line up, the group disbanded in 2003. The band at that point had been responsible for bringing singers Dolores Keane, Mary Black, Maura O Connell and Tommy Fleming,
Hilton Showcases Only.

The Rogues- Celtic World Music with Scottish Pipes and Drums
With a unique, multi-instrumental sound that crosses the musical landscape to include traditional and original rock/pop songs, film sound tracks, and Irish-based foot-stompers, The Rogues’ creativity and drive combines Celtic, rock, folk, pop, and classical music. Bursting with Scottish pipes and drums, they connects on every level with their audiences.
Hilton Showcase Only.

Growing up in the Ottawa Valley, Canada, Erin, Heather and Colleen Searson are multi-talented musicians performing on the fiddle, bass, piano, vocals and step-dancing.  Searson has toured throughout Canada, the U.S., Ireland, Germany, Denmark and headlined one of Europe’s largest music festivals in Ortiguiera, Spain in 2011.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.