GAF Classical: T’ang Quartet

Fans of classical music are in for a treat this Saturday, July 28th, when T’ang Quartet play Saint Nicholas’s Church. Formed in 1992 , T’ang Quartet are Ang Chek Meng, Ng Yu-Ying, Leslie Tan and Lionel Tan. The quartet takes its name from both its founding members but also the Tang Dynasty, referencing the era’s golden age of artistic expression.

The T’ang Quartet blend Eastern and Western influences, reinterpreting classic works for the modern age. Their show Comedy and Tragedy combines film and music, including the Buster Keaton classic Haunted House,which the quartet will accompany. The programme also includes Aulis Sallinen’s Some Aspects of Peltoniemi Hintrik’s Funeral March and the Chinese composer Bright Sheng’s String Quartet No.3.

Classical fans will not want to miss this one. For tickets and more info, check out If you fancy a quick break at your desk, here is a clip of the T’ang Quartet in action. Prepare to be mesmerized:


Giggling at GAF: Gerry Mallon’s Laughter Loft

Secrets can be very hard to keep, especially the good ones. Thankfully, word has filtered out about Gerry Mallon’s Laughter Loft, which takes places every lunchtime throughout the festival in the Ruby Room at the Kings Head. Where else would you get the biggest names in comedy performing in such intimate surroundings at such an early hour? We’d like to think ‘nowhere’ and we might just be right.

Gerry will be introducing the likes of Dave McSavage from RTÉ’s very popular the Savage Eye, Maeve Higgins, Karl Spain and Colm O’Regan ( the guy behind the hilarious Irish Twitter phenomenon known as ‘@irishmammies’ ), plus loads more, yet-to-be-revealed comics. There is a new line-up every day, so for a measly ten euro, you get a bonanza of Irish comedy plus a surprise – and we all know how much we looked forward to our Christmas surprises back in the day.

To avoid disappointment, be sure to get to the Ruby Room in plenty of time as demand for the Laughter Loft is always huge – see what we mean about great secrets always leaking out? If you love it once, why not go again as the line up changes every day. Tickets are available on the door. For more info on this and indeed all the brilliant comedy acts in Galway over the festival, check out

He’s Magic: Piff the Magic Dragon

The first thing you need to know about Piff the Magic Dragon is that he doesn’t do kids parties. The second thing is that Jonathan Ross is a big fan and lastly, that the BBC thinks he is ‘unbelievable’, as in, unbelievably good – and so do we. Piff, who forever lives in the shadow of his older brother (you might have heard of him), mixes amazing magic tricks with a fine line in grumpy but lovable humour to conjure up an act that has charmed audiences and gained raved reviews from Edinburgh to Australia.

Piff is the brainchild of John van der Put, a successful English magician who has worked with David Blaine and is one of the youngest magicians ever to address the renowned Magic Circle. For an evening of laughter and amazement you won’t have to wait long because Piff the Magic Dragon plays Kellys tonight. For more info and tickets, be sure to check out:

We’re going to leave you with a clip of Piff performing for Penn and Teller that quickly went viral. You’ll soon see why.

Piano Man: The Magic of Michael Kaeshammer

Being able to play the piano is an ambition many people have but few truly realize apart from the select, some would say chosen few of which Michael Kaeshammer is certainly one. After studying piano as a child in his native Germany, the young Michael became fascinated by the boogie-woogie playing style of Fats Waller. A few short years later, Michael was playing jazz clubs across Germany before moving to Canada where he has gone on to achieve huge acclaim, with Now magazine recently describing him as one of Canada’s hottest musical exports.

Jazz fans, piano lovers and indeed anyone with a love of breathtaking live performances will not want to miss the amazing Mr. Kaeshammer whose star is set to soar. For a taste of what you can expect, check out the clip of Michael performing his hit ‘Lovelight’ below. It will have you tapping your toes and humming along in an instant. Boogie-woogie indeed.

Michael Kaeshammer plays the Galway Arts Festival on July 23rd and 24th in the Roisin Dubh. To get your tickets and avoid disappointment, check out:

GAF’s First Thought Talks

What is creativity? How do you develop it – or can you? Is it something innate, something inside us all or just the chosen few? This year’s First Thought Talks will probe the nature of creativity, something we all covet (how parents glow when they’re told their little one is creative!) but something that can be hard to make time for or cultivate in our hectic world. Alas without creativity human kind would never have progressed and culture as we know it would most likely be non-existent. Creativity and everything that flows from it is something to be fostered, explored and cherished.

First Thought Talks will see some of the biggest names from the Irish cultural landscape and beyond discuss the nature of creativity as they see it. Interviewees will include Ireland’s first female president, Mary Robinson (in conversation with Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times), Tom Murphy and Garry Hynes, John Mahoney, Nile Rodgers and adventurer Caroline Casey among many, many others. First Thought Talks will also encompass Backstage at the Festival, which will see the likes of  Propeller, the Crash Ensemble and Julian Gough among others discussing their work.

First Thought Talks are simply unmissable for anyone with an inquiring mind or an iota of creativity in their soul (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?). Whether it is an interview, panel discussion or lecture, you’re sure to find something to fire your imagination so don’t miss out on these unique events. You can get more info and all First Thought Talks tickets here:

This Charming Band: West Cork Ukulele Orchestra

Uke, I am your father… West Cork Ukulele Orchestra in session at 2FM

If the Smiths had written This Charming Man about the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra, they would’ve called it the This Charming Band because charisma, talent and the feel-good-factor is something these West Cork guys and gals have in spades. Since their surprise appearance in the Slow Food corner of last year’s Electric Picnic, word-of-mouth buzz has seen the group pop up everywhere from Clonakilty to 2FM’s Breakfast with Hector, winning new fans by the bucket load. If you love savvy covers (think A-Ha, Cyndi Lauper and even Jessie J) beautiful harmonies and great craic, you can’t afford to miss the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra. They’ll charm the pants off you – so maybe bring a spare pair. The gang play the Roisin Dubh on July 16th. For booking details and more, click here:

One Man, One Voice: Damien Dempsey

Few contemporary Irish artists embrace our storytelling heritage and traditional music with the vigor and pure love of Damien Dempsey, a man who is proud of his roots and whose music explores all facets of Irishness, from the contemporary to the our often painful past. Damien’s incredible voice, his unmistakable delivery, the humor, passion and insight woven into his music have ensured that where ever he plays, people follow for what is always a special, rousing night, one that reminds you – if you ever needed reminding – that the Irish love a good ballad and by God, we love singing them too.

Damien has recently been a huge part of the success of Today FM’s chart topping Euro 2012’s single ‘The Rocky Road to Poland’ so expect a roof-raising rendition of that and many more of his gems on July 22nd at Monroes Live. This is one you won’t want to let slip by. Damien’s huge following will ensure tickets are like hot cakes. To secure yours, check out:

GAF Big Top Big 3: Lisa Hannigan

With her pure voice and lush, intricate songs Lisa Hannigan has had huge success in Ireland and internationally. We’re delighted to be welcoming her to the Big Top along with James Vincent McMorrow on on July 26th. Lisa is the queen of understated loveliness whose songs work as beautifully in a live setting as they do lighting up your radio. No wonder then that her albums Sea Sew (her debut) and Passenger have found such a wide audience. For Lisa’s Big 3 we’re taking a looking at 3 of her videos, which are always quirky gems. Enjoy.

For booking information, check out

GAF Big Top Big 3: James Vincent McMorrow

Here on the GAF blog, we’re very excited about the bevvy of fantastic Irish talent playing this year’s Big Top. We’ll be bringing you some lesser known facts about the performers (their Big 3) and clips of them in action. First off, after the huge success of his debut album Early in the Morning, GAF is delighted to be welcoming James Vincent McMorrow to the Big Top, along with Lisa Hannigan, on July 26th. Some interesting facts about Mr McMorrow:

  • Before becoming a full-time musician and playing venues like the Electric Picnic, you might have spotted James Vincent stacking trolleys in Dublin airport, where he used to work.
  • Though he is a dab hand at the acoustic guitar and has a lovely folk edge to his tunes, James Vincent is a big hop hop fan.
  • His beautiful song ‘Follow You Down To The Red Oak Tree’ was used in a Barnados television ad.

You can check out James Vincent McMorrow in conversation with GAF TV here or check out for more info and booking details.

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