Glen Hansard’s ‘Pluck of the Irish’.

The Glen Hansard documentary entitled ‘Pluck of the Irish’ aired on CBS on Saint Patrick’s Day and was very warmly received.

‘Pluck of the Irish’ is an intimate, moving look at Glen’s life and career and a must-see for Frames fans and anyone with an interest in Irish music. We’re delighted to share the documentary above and we say well done to the crew at CBS for putting together such a lovely account of Glen and his work to date. Enjoy.

Glen Hansard will play this year’s Festival Big Top on July 25th. To secure your tickets, click here.

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Happy Friday: A Great Week for Galway & Galway Arts Festival

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One of the greatest things about the GAF experience is getting to work with some of the best, most creative individuals and teams this country and indeed the world has to offer. To see people who have become friends and colleagues enjoy continued success is something GAF takes great pleasure in and on that note this week has been a special one.

Once started out as a tiny Irish film and went on to win the hearts of millions across the globe before being turned into a Broadway conquering musical. The GAF connection to Once is strong: its star Glen Hansard will play the Festival Big Top this year, while Enda Walsh, the playwright behind Once‘s stage incarnation, is also the creative force behind Misterman, which GAF co-produced in 2011. Misterman went on to earn rave reviews from New York to London.

Speaking about the European premier of the musical Once at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on Tuesday night, GAF’s artistic director Paul Fahy said, ‘It is great to see the musical Once have its European premiere in Dublin where the story is set. The show opened at the New York Theatre Workshop the same week the Landmark and Galway Arts Festival production of Misterman opened at St. Ann’s Warehouse in December 2011, and we are so pleased for playwright Enda Walsh and all the creative team enjoy such success over the past year. Once is such a beautiful story, which has the capacity to melt the hardest of hearts and it was terrific to see a deserved standing ovation as the show opened this week in the Gaiety Theatre. We wish the company continued success as they prepare to open Once in London’s West End next month.’

Also on Tuesday night the 5th IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards took place in Dublin, with Galway’s Monroes taking the National Live Music Venue of the Year award and the Róisín Dubh taking Best Live Venue in Connacht. We’re very lucky to have such quality live music establishments on our doorstep. Congratulations to all.

With the great news from the Irish Theatre Awards on Sunday night, it is fair to say that it has been a fantastic week for Irish Arts, for Galway and for GAF. Here’s to more of that!

Don’t forget to keep a close eye on galwayartsfestival.com for the latest news on this year’s Festival. Tickets for Grizzly Bear at the Festival Big Top and Glen Hansard at the Festival Big Top are on sale now. To purchase yours, simply click here. To join the GAF online community, click here for Facebook and/ or here for Twitter and say hello.

Take a Bow, Galway Arts Festival 2012

Oh, what a brilliant few weeks it has been. On behalf of all the GAF 2012 team, thank you so very much for your enduring support. Not only has it been another incredibly successful year, we have broken records for attendance across the board. A staggering 30,000 people turned out to see the fantastic Absolut Festival Gallery and a truly phenomenal 160,000 people attended the festival over two weeks. What can we say only a huge and heartfelt thanks. What an inspiration it is to see that despite everything – or perhaps because of it – a real love of the arts still exists in this country.

Over the course of the festival, various teams have been working away to ensure that events and experiences were captured for everyone to enjoy, now and always. GAF TV have been working especially hard, the fruits of which you can check out on their YouTube channel here, where you can enjoy highlights from this year’s festival, like this wonderful look at Macnas’s This Thunderous Heart:

While the two weeks in July when the festival takes place are GAF’s primary focus, work on the festival takes place all year round. For breaking news, exclusive content and to keep in the loop about next year’s preparations, not to mention enjoying the fruits of festivals past including this year’s, be sure to check out our website http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/, our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/galwayartsfestival and our Twitter feed https://twitter.com/galwayartsfest/ Over the next few days, we’ll be posting highlights of 2012, which you won’t want to miss.

All that remains is for us to say one final word of thanks to the people of Galway, all our sponsors, our fantastic performers, our volunteers and all of you who supported GAF 2012 in your thousands. Here’s to a record breaking 2013. We’ll leave you with a few exclusive images from this year’s magnificent festival, taken by Colm Hogan. Until next time.

Macnas turn the streets of Galway into a wonderland with This Thunderous Heart.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy basks in the fantastic setting of the Absolut Festival Gallery, which welcomed an amazing 30,000 people through its doors during the 2 weeks of the festival.

Spain’s Kamchatka perform their unique brand of street theatre for delighted on-lookers during GAF 2012.

She’s the One: Lisa Hannigan Plays the Big Top

Lisa Hannigan plays the festival Big Top on Thursday, July 26th with James Vincent McMorrow and Elaine Mai.

Lisa Hannigan has come a long way from the shy, beguiling girl who lent her stunning vocals to the Damien Rice’s juggernaut album, O. Lisa took her time before stepping into the spotlight solo, quietly honing her craft away from the media glare. A few years later, her caution paid off in spectacular fashion. Her debut album Sea Sew was a critical and commercial success, turning Lisa into one of the biggest artists in Irish contemporary music. Similar success followed with her second album Passenger, which spawned the feel good hits What’ll I Do? and Knots.

Lisa has been nominated for the Choice and Mercury music awards and has played to rapturous reviews everywhere from the UK to the US. We are very proud of her. Lisa recently supported the Frames in LA and will be touring with former Pulp member Richard Hawley, who she memorably sang with during RTÉ’s Other Voices series, covering Hushabye Mountain to spine-tingling effect. Lisa is known for playing intimate gigs but as her fan base has grown, so has her confidence as a performer so seeing her take to Big Top stage after her incredible successes to date will be something very, very special indeed.

Lisa will play the Big Top on July 26th, along with James Vincent McMorrow, another Irish musician creating major waves plus up-and-coming Galway girl Elaine Mai, who is hotly tipped for great things. This is a powerhouse of a line-up and tickets, unsurprising, are selling fast. To get yours and for more info on all things GAF related, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ right now.

We’ll leave you with a few of Lisa’s best bits, of which there are so many it made choosing three almost impossible…

Where to Begin? Highlights of GAF 2012’s Week One…

Writing in the Irish Times on Thursday, Laurence Mackin said of this year’s festival offerings, ‘An embarrassment of riches, but what else did you expect from the GAF?’ What else indeed. This year’s incredible line up keeps rolling on – check http://galwayartsfestival.com/ lest you miss out – but here on the GAF blog, we’re going to take a moment to appreciate what has been a magnificent opening week for GAF 2012. In no particular order, here are a few of the many highlights…

Chic

Oh, what a night it was in the Big Top on Thursday, when Nile Rodgers and Chic turned the Galway into a 21st century Studio 54. Rapturous cries of recognition from the crowd filled the starry night air as the hits kept coming from David Bowie to Madonna to glorious days of disco. You had to ask yourself, ‘is there anything Nile Rodgers hasn’t produced/written?!’ Even the sun showed up for proceedings. Before the gig, the legendary Mr. Rodgers tweeted to say, ‘Galway is FANTASTIC.’ It’s fair to surmise that the admiration was very much reciprocated, with many revelers declaring Chic to have been the gig of the year.

John Mahoney and Rondi Reed give an acting tour de force in the deeply moving The Outgoing Tide.

The Outgoing Tide

Bruce Graham’s The Outgoing Tide opened in the Town Hall Theatre to rave reviews and standing ovations. Starring John Mahoney and Rondi Reed, stage veterans and actors of immense talent and skill, the play moved audiences to tears. If art is an expression of what it is to be human, then The Outgoing Tide invites us to consider what we would want for ourselves and our loved ones as we and they move ever closer to the twilight of our lives. Powerful, deeply affecting stuff.

David Mach’s Precious Light

The crowds thronging the opening of this year’s Absolut Festival Gallery put paid to the notion that ‘most people don’t visit art galleries’. Simply put, when galleries are easily accessible, beautifully constructed and packed with incredible work as the Absolut Festival Gallery is (and will be through out the festival), people will come in their droves. The centerpiece, David Mach’s Precious Light, invites us to look at how the bible has impacted on our every day lives  and also the entire course of human existence. The Irish Times described Precious Light as ‘epic’, which also applies to the experience of seeing it. Not to be missed.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy with artist David Mach, creator of Precious Light at the Absolut Festival Gallery during its transformation from one time furniture shop to world class gallery.

Christy Moore with Declan Sinnott

After Chic, it was going to take something really special to raise the roof off the Big Top. Thankfully, an Irish man of legendary standing took to the stage on Friday night: the one, the only Christy Moore and what ensued had Twitter alight with praise and joyous outpourings. With support from Four Men and a Dog, Christy played a blinder and the crowd gobbled it up. In the words of a showband man, ‘send them home sweating!’ That’s exactly what the man from Clare did. A triumph.

The Great Goat Bubble

Economics can be hard to grasp. Nevertheless, after the financial turmoil of the past few years, more and more people are attempting to wrap their heads around the complexities of the financial markets. The Great Goat Bubble looks to continue that education in economics and reminds us of the dangerous forces at play when we invest everything we have in the pursuit of unlikely riches. Playwright, novelist and one time Galway resident, Julian Gough comes up with a novel device to explain the intricacies of the market: goats, which you can trade, sell and of course, buy far too much of at exaggerated, unsustainable prices. A cautionary tale if there ever was one, packed with wit and insight, The Great Goat Bubble (playing at the Druid Theatre) was a winner with audiences  and critics this week.

What do goats have to do with our economic collapse? All will be revealed in the Great Goat Bubble by Julian Gough.

We could, as Mrs Doyle might say, go on and on and on – but we won’t. Plenty of time to blow our own trumpet before the festival is out. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has enjoyed the festival so far. We hope you continue to do so. For those of you who haven’t managed to sample the delights, there’s only one question to ask: what are you waiting for? GAF 2012 won’t be around forever! Check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ and enjoy yourself.

A Moveable Feast: James Vincent McMorrow

The star of Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow continues to climb and we’re delighted to be welcoming him to this year’s festival Big Top on July 26th. After the critical and commercial success of his debut album Early in the Morning, James has toured the world and played support to the likes of Al Green, Bon Iver and Iron and Wine. Not too shabby for a young fella who used to make his living pushing trolleys around Dublin airport.

James recently featured in the Guardian due to his participation in Bands in Transit, a web series looking at the role of humble transit van in the life of musicians, who use them to traverse the globe. Sure how else could you cart around all that gear? Like other artists featured in the series, including the chart topping Rizzle Kicks and the hotly tipped Ben Howard and Kyla La Grange, James performed in the back of a transit van, which you can watch below for a beautiful rendition of his hit, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree.

Thanks to GAF and the Róisín Dubh, James plays the festival Big Top along with Lisa Hannigan and Elaine Mai on July 26th. Tickets are flying out the door for what will be an incredible evening so to secure yours, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

Watch It: GAF TV

A GAF TV screenshot of the Misterman set.

With so much packed into the two weeks of Galway Arts Festival every single year, keeping track and preserving all those special moments is a mammoth task. Thankfully, GAF TV have been doing a stellar job of capturing the magic on film and now, for your viewing pleasure, the GAF archive is available online.

If there’s anything you’ve missed or a favourite festival memory you’d like to relive, then spend some quality time flicking through the gems on http://gaftv.ie/ For this year’s latest GAF TV reports, including an exclusive interview with Chic’s legendary Nile Rodgers, check out http://www.youtube.com/galwayartsfest or click on the clips below, featuring comedian and star of RTÉ’s the Savage Eye Dave McSavage, artist David Mach whose exhibition Precious Light is taking the festival by storm and Michael Kaeshammer, one of Canada’s brightest musical exports.

For more of GAF TV and all things festival related, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

Oh So Chic: One Band, One Amazing Legacy

We know Chic are the band that defined disco and gave us some of biggest party anthems of all time (Boogie Wonderland, Freak Out, He’s the Greatest Dancer and loads more besides) but do you realize how far their influence extends? From hip hop to rock and even to 90s dance classics, Chic have helped shape classic songs and performers as diverse as Johnny Marr and the Sugarhill Gang. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving.

Chic’s legendary Nile Rodgers

Take a look (and indeed a listen) to the following classic tracks and see if you can spot the Chic connection – fun all for all you music trivia fans out there! And for those of you feeling a little lazy, the answers are below the videos but really, when the tunes are this damn good, why not just take the chance to enjoy them? And don’t forget: Chic play the festival Big Top with support from Nouvelle Vague and DJ Kormac on Thursday July 19th. For those all important tickets, go to http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang

 

Rapture by Blondie

 

Rio by Duran Duran

 

Another One Bites the Dust by Queen

 

Lady (Hear Me Tonight) by Modjo

*Rapper’s Delight is based on a sample of Chic’s Good Times, while Blondie’s Rapture was conceived as an homage to the band. Many of the UK’s most successful acts of the 80s took direct influences from Chic, including Duran Duran who worked with Bernard Edwards, most notably on their smash hit Rio. Johnny Marr of the Smiths, who himself is cited as one as one of the greatest guitarists of his generation, cites Chic as a major influence while the unmistakable baseline to Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust can be traced back to the classic Good Times. Most recently, France’s Modjo used a sample of Chic’s Soup for One as the basis for Lady (Hear Me Tonight) which went on to become a cult dance classic of the 90s.

The Countdown Is On!

Galway Arts Festival 2012 gets underway in a matter of days and we are getting ridiculously excited for what is sure to be an incredible few weeks. For your viewing pleasure, GAF TV have put together a lovely piece on the legendary CHIC and Nile Rodgers who are set to disco the roof off the Big Top on July 19th, so why not grab a cuppa, stick the headphones on and have yourself a little desk boogie. The clip is below and don’t forget: for all things CHIC related including those all important tickets, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

How to Do Disco: A GAF Guide

With the legendary Nile Rodgers and Chic playing this year’s festival (along support from France’s much-loved Nouvelle Vague) to celebrate our Chic Week here on the GAF blog  we’ve come up with some style inspiration for what promises to be one of the best nights of 2012. So dust off those platforms, drape yourself in satin and sequins, not forgetting the all essential huge hair and sparkly blue eye shadow. Got it? Good. Now, set your phasers to ‘boogie wonderland’ and take a look at the disco royalty below (some of whom might look strangely familiar…):

We Are Family: GAF’s Artistic Director Paul Fahy really is the greatest dancer – and why wouldn’t he be in his fabulous John Travolta inspired white suit? Slap on the Bee Gees and start practicing your dance floor strut and remember lads, disco is not just for the ladies! Looking fabulous on the left is Box Office Manager Frances Burke who rocks the all important Donna Summer-esque slinky body suit, while on the right, Digital Media Manager Tracey Ferguson is a real disco inferno with the gravity defying big hair and loud prints the Seventies are so famous for. Freak out ? Don’t mind if we do.

As Paul illustrates so well here, a disco ball is an essential accessory for any Chic outfit. Glittery and magical, just like the heady days of disco. Shazam!

Chic is one of the most hotly anticipated gigs of the year. To avoid disappointment, book your tickets (and reserve your disco ball) now. For full booking information plus more of Reg Gordon’s brilliant Chic Week pictures check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ And whatever you do, don’t leave it too late to start practicing your dance moves.

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