So the wheels have almost totally fallen off my blogging wagon from rustiness. Mental busy times, much blog posts in the pipe (aka my head) but nil time to commit them to pixels just yet. For now here’s some link goodies:
In Cork this weekend? Check out the Street Performance World Championships. Last year was brilliant craic, even as a volunteer. This year is going to be even bigger taking over both Fitzgerald Park AND the Mardyke Sports Grounds. If you can’t make it we’ll be posting all sorts on the blog over the weekend so check it out at spwc.wordpress.com, Facebook and Twitter.
In Dublin for the weekend? Well why not give the Tweasurehunta go. The last one was a great laugh and great exercise to boot.
Bringing psychology to the web design toolkit. Stephen Anderson‘s note cards are available to pre-order now.
Looking for a freelancer of any description? Check out endor.se
Seth Godin enthusiast? Join the masses for the “first ever unofficial official Seth Godin Linchpin worldwide Meetup” in Buskers, Temple Bar on Monday 14th at 7pm. Check in on FourSquare to receive a free drink on arrival.
The programme of gala concerts has just been announced and includes:
Gala Opening Concert – Fleischmann Choir, Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra and the Dachau Liedertafel Choir present Gala Fleischmann Concert
National Chamber Choir of Ireland
Fleischmann International Trophy Competition
Closing Gala Concert
12 choirs have been selected from around the world to participate in the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy Competition. Finland, Germany, Japan, Singapore, The Czech Republic, Norway, Slovenia, Philippines and Ireland will all be represented.
If you and your choir want to take part in National Competitions, you’ve got until January 31st to submit your application – all the info is here.
Tuesday morning was tough. Not so much the alarm going off or the early start, more the realisation I was no longer in Cork. Not my first Guinness Cork Jazz Festival weekend but my first time really throwing myself into it and I absolutely loved it.
From the sound of musicians rehearsing floating down the hotel hallway to the mixture of ages and cultures of those attending the various gigs around the city it was a fantastic inspiring experience helped in no small way by the fact that Cork is by far the best city in Ireland (there will be an entire post about that alone!).
My favourite gig over the entire weekend was saxophonist YolanDa Brown on Sunday at The Savoy. I danced and swayed my way happily through set and can’t wait to get my mits on her album. She’s gorgeous, she’s energetic and a seriously talented musician. Herself and her band get top marks for their rendition of Summertime – a song that naturally appeared on setlists all through the weekend. If you’re not sure where to begin with trying your ear at some jazz, start with YolanDa.
Yurodny took to the stage of the beautiful Everyman Palace Theatre on Saturday afternoon. A lively and masterful performance from the Dublin-based ensemble of strings, wind and percussion with their Eastern European influences shining through.
On Saturday evening, the Monty Alexander Trio opened for Kurt Elling. A lovely mellow sound created with drum, bass and piano with Jamaican and American influences woven throughout, they delivered a superb set that seemed to please both the jazz connoisseur and the passing admirer. Notable moments included their gorgeous version of No Woman No Cry and a nice bit of improv featuring the Beverly Hills Cop theme tune.
My first adventures in swing dancing were interesting and lots of fun at Harlem Night 1930 where swing dance moves were demonstrated on stage to swing newbies (like myself). Most of the crowd were quite into their swing dancing and were amazing to watch in their gorgeous 30′s outfits.
‘Jazz mass‘ was probably one of the more bizarre experiences of the weekend with Danish band Bla Mondag and an African gospel choir interwoven into the service at the famous St. Anne’s Church at Shandon.
No festival with such a huge volume of stuff is without disappointments here and there. I hit mine on Saturday night at Kurt Elling at the Everyman. While it was billed as one of the ‘not to be missed’ gigs of the weekend, I felt it was more of an endurance than an experience. As I said in my tweets, his singing was flat and the improv too long-winded and uninspiring. Hats off to his grammy award-winning saxophonist – amazing musician – just a shame he didn’t see more of the limelight.
Despite the fact the festival is always held on the October Bank Holiday weekend, some things like hotel and drink prices seem to get rather inflated. For example, a paper cup of filter coffee at the Festival Club was a slightly saucy €3 and in another venue (can’t recall where, there were many!) a quarter bottle of red wine was €6.
So much to see, hear & do
I quite honestly can’t recall all the bands and singers I listened to over the weekend, mainly with the sheer volume of stuff on at the Festival Club at the Metropole. The Festival Club consisted of 5 ballrooms in one huge hotel constantly rotating through a huge schedule of jazzy acts from lunchtime till the early hours. There almost wasn’t a door in the city be it theatre, pub, hotel or even shop that didn’t have some kind of jazz flowing out of it either!
Apart from the quick swing dancing lesson at the Firkin Crane, I didn’t get a chance to try out any of the workshops, masterclasses or check out the festival fringe events.
Cork is a fantastic city and the Jazz Festival just seems to set the place alight. It was simply buzzing with energy, happy faces and tapping toes (and possibly the odd sore head too!). It’s a wonderful weekend, even for someone like me who has always been more of an ‘all genres of music’ enthusiast than a jazz fan.
Darragh has some superb videos and photos in the production pipeline, I’ll leave him to put into his own words how his first Cork Jazz Festival was suffice to say I think we’ll both be doing our best to get back there for the Cork Jazz Festival 2010!
Thanks to WHPR and Guinness for everything over the weekend and congrats to all involved on a wonderful festival.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since my first Jazz Festival weekend but here we are once again, it’s the October Bank Holiday weekend and time to hit Cork for one of the best weekends of music & entertainment.
Darragh has given a run down of some of the tasty jazzy action on offer over on his blog. I’m going to offer up some more practical advice, kind of like your mammy might do as you head off to your first music festival.
If you’re heading to Cork specifically to check out the festival, even at this late stage, try to get some kind of a plan together. There’s so much stuff on it can be a little overwhelming and like me last year, you can spend the weekend hopping from place to place hitting and missing the music. Have a look at what’s on and tick a few boxes.
While a lot of the gigs are free, some still require tickets. Others you will need to purchase in advance either online or from the venues around town. Cork Jazz weekend is a very popular event and tickets get snapped up quickly so if you’ve your eye on a particular gig, get your tickets sorted in advance asap to avoid disappointment.
Possibly one more for the attention of the ladies headed out this weekend The Jazz Festival gigs and events are spread out over many different venues all over Cork. It’s quite likely that over the weekend or even just one night, you’re going to be rambling from pillar to post around the city and those poor little tootsies are going to be under pressure. If you simply can’t do without your fabulous new stilettos maybe pop a wee pair of flats in the handbag too.
One of the highlights from last year (while not strictly under the Jazz Festival umbrella) was the Oktoberfest experience at the Franciscan Well pub & micro-brewery. Expect to find a fantastic selection of fine beers from the continent to delight your tastebuds while munching on something just as tasty from the yummy outdoor barbecue. Be warned however, it’s a popular spot and the good folk at the Franciscan regulate numbers through the evening so if you want in, be there by early evening.
I’ll be hopping about from gig to gig over the weekend and hopefully calling into the Oktoberfest for a Tweet-up too! Keep an eye on #corkjazz on Twitter for photos and updates. See you out there!
This festival first came to my attention somehow around this time last year right after the 2008 festival had just wrapped up in Cork. That in mind I was determined not to miss out this year so I headed for Cork on Saturday to sample some of the choral action to be had in the country’s fairest city.
I went along to the Fleischmann Trophy competiton on Saturday, the major prize on offer at the festival. The calibre of performances from the choirs was amazing as was the range of people involved on stage. Personal highlights included ‘Ett liv for mig’ performed by Finnish group Chamber Choir Gallerie and ‘Elijah Rock’ by Irish choir Codetta. Gothenburg Youth Choir gave a fantastic energetic performance to end the evening including a finger-clicking version of ‘Chili Con Carne‘. For something a bit lighter and to satisfy my more jazzy & modern tendencies in all things choral I popped into the National Competition for Light, Jazz and Popular Music on Sunday afternoon where some delightful performances given. Highlights for me were ‘The Impossible Dream‘ by Portadown Male Voice Choir, ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic‘ by Moy Singers from Co.Mayo and ‘Unchained Melody‘ by City of Cork Male Voice Choir. The closing gala concert on Sunday gave many of the choirs who took part in the Fleischmann Trophy competition a chance to let their hair down & have some fun and that they did for a really awesome evening of music. Sadly the camera battery failed to hold out for long enough to capture them all. Probably the most bizarre performance of the festival for me was Warsaw School of Economics Choir with their take on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit‘. Highlights for me were the Slovenia’s Ptuj Male Chamber Choir take on ‘Happy Together‘, Cois Claddaigh with ‘Loch Lomond‘, Codetta once again with ‘Elijah Rock‘, Cantilena Children’s Choir singing ‘Molly Malone‘, Fleischmann Trophy winners Kammerchor I Vocalisti with the hair-raising ‘Pseudo-Yoik‘ and finally Brigham Young University Singers (U.S.A.) with their jaw-dropping rendition of ‘Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine‘. I’m delighted to see they’re on tour in the UK & Ireland over the next 2 weeks. This is deserving of a blog post all by itself so watch this space
Overall, it was a fantastic experience in Cork, if too short. I’d love to have taken in more of the festival – there were so many different performances on offer over the 5 days and many of them free of charge too! At the risk of sounding cliched or corny, it really hit me how music can bring people from all walks of life & parts of the world together in a happy, warm, positive & supportive collective. There was such a buzz about City Hall for the performances, all the choirs cheering each other on & getting along famously & enjoying each others’ culture.
I’ve got a bunch of videos from the Closing Gala Concert and the National Competition for Light, Jazz and Popular Music on YouTube – apologies for the awful quality of the camera work but it’s getting a taste of the sound that matters! I can’t wait for next year