Culture Night 2016

Celebration 6 – Culture Night 2016

We were honoured to host a Celebration of Traveller Music for Culture Night 2016 in The Cobblestone, Dublin. Culture Night began as an initiative to celebrate the arts, culture and creativity encouraging increased access through extended opening hours and free access to all events. While it started out small it has grown to epic proportions with over 350,000 people taking part in events nationwide every year. Dublin’s Smithfield comes alive for Culture Night and this year The Cobblestone was a hub of Traveller culture with crowds spilling over into the front bar and the beer garden.

Signifigantly this was also the night Ron Kavana launched his CD, Respect, in aid of the Carrickmines survivors and he and Katie Theasby performed its title track. Many CDs were sold on the night, contact us if you want one.

The night saw performances from Bernie McDonagh accompanied by Thaddeus Buckley on guitar and vocals, Ron Kavana and Katie Theasby, Trish Nolan, Stephan Wall, Thomas McCarthy and Eoin Dillon. Renouned Irish folk singer Niamh Parsons joined Ron and Katie on stage for Reconciliation. During the open mic section of the night we were joined by Declan Coyne, Mick and Brian Dunne, Sean McGovern, Alan O’Brien, Paul Bowman, Paul Donnelly, Andreas Schulz, Frank Callery, Manus O’Riordan and Nelly Weldon. The night was MC’d by actor and playwrite Michael Collins and Freda Hughes of PFP/BTDG.

Trish Nolan told her story of being taken from her family who were ‘side of the road Travellers’ and put into institutional care along with her sisters by social services because facilities were not provided for Travellers to properly care for their children. This phenomenon became known as the ‘Cruelty Man’ who was much feared by members of the Traveller Community up until recent times. She then performed her own song, Broken Lines, which deals with the impact this has had on her identity.

Eoin Dillon recited a piece he wrote about a prejudice woman from Cork who had her views about Travellers confronted before launching into an epic tune on the pipes accompanied by Graham Watson on guitar.

Stephen Wall is the newest member of our core group and is bringing something very different to the group with his style that has been likened to a Traveller Damien Dempsey. Stephen will be releasing an EP later this year. Here’s a small sample from a track he performed on the night.

Thomas McCarthy had the crowd as silent as church mice, enthralled by his old and precious songs, one minute and laughing their heads off at tunes like this the next.

We headed off to Cork to perform at the Irish Traveller Movement’s AGM a few days later and hope to make a few more appearances before the end of the year.

Photos by Com Keating and Steven DePaoire

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