Culture Night returned to West Wicklow last weekend with a bang. Bigger and better than ever.
a series of events took place in and around Baltinglass, beginning with a “Bodhrán Buzz Family Workshop” in Fatima Hall. The participants learned the basic Irish rhythm in a fun way, started to joke around and set the mood for a very enjoyable evening of events in the hall.
Next, award-winning professional harpist Aisling Ennis and soprano Catherine Redding presented a recital of beautiful, evocative and charming selections from Fauré, Debussy, Bellini and Strauss.
The legendary Irish band Kíla closed the evening at Fatima Hall with a terrific performance. The iconic band performed as part of a tour celebrating 35 years of songwriting and wowing audiences with their unique brand of traditional fusion.
The Voyagers, a four-piece guitar, fiddle, flute and Bodhrán band with powerful vocal arrangements, opened for Kíla. Their 30-minute opening set featured an eclectic mix of contemporary trad, while bringing a new sound to traditional songs.
Two events took place at the Baltinglass Library, starting with a wet felting workshop, where children made their own magic wands.
Local painter Maura O’Halloran then led two intimate painting workshops, with a separate one for children and adults. Maura was inspired by local landmarks, such as Baltinglass Abbey and Brussels’ Ring Fort, and shared tips and tricks for beginners.
The Avon, on the shores of the Blessington Lakes, staged two very successful events back to back. The first featured two of Ireland’s most accomplished percussionists, Caitríona Frost and Paddy Nolan.
The concert featured music by Elliot Cole, Philip Glass and Casey Cangelosi, as well as an original composition by Caitríona based on techniques normally found in traditional Irish music.
The second of two free events saw the Yurodny Ensemble perform. Founded in 2007 by saxophonist and composer Nick Roth, the nine-piece diverse musical ensemble has performed contemporary interpretations of traditional music from around the world, as well as new works by composers inspired by these traditions.
They performed beautifully crafted renditions of music from Macedonia, Egypt, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania and Turkey, as well as new music by Miklós Lukács and Cora Venus Lunny.
The last of Blessington’s Culture Night events took place at the magnificent St Mary’s Church, where special guests, ‘MACA’ (members of Anuna, Riverdance) and the Millennium Choir performed.
The Dunlavin crowd didn’t let the cold autumn night get in the way of their level of enjoyment and turned out in droves.
Dunlavin Library/Market House hosted a candle making workshop with Karen Allison from Crafty Craic, as well as three Willow weaving workshops hosted by Aoife from Wicklow Willow.
Across the road in Market Square Park were three more events organized by the Wicklow Arts Office. First place was Mobile Music Machine and Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh, who delighted audiences (young and old) with classic movies and cult music. Niamh then closed the show with a powerful performance of ‘In Your Eyes’.
Catherine Fulvio from Ballyknockan Cookery School has cooked up a storm with her tasty and healthy take on ‘Pasta in the Park’. The neighborhood children helped her prepare her dish “tomato farfalle with a tomato sauce and fresh basil”.
To close the show, singer/songwriter Amy Barrett, originally from Dunlavin, serenaded the audience with her own music and gorgeous renditions of popular hits that would give the original a run for its money. Amy wowed audiences with her soulful music.
A Dunlavin Culture Night spokesperson said: ‘These events would not have been possible without the contribution of Creative Ireland, the Arts Council, Jenny Sherwin of the Wicklow Arts Office and Library Service staff. of Wicklow County Council.
“It takes a team to put on events at such a high level and without the contribution of everyone involved it would have been a lackluster September 23 in West Wicklow.”