Category Archives: festivals

German trip and film release!

I got back from Germany this week, after a wonderful couple of concerts and a short cello workshop. The first concert was in the Fischereimuseum in Bergheim an der Sieg.

I started the evenings performance with a short version of my film ‘Living the Tradition’. This new version has be re edited by filmmaker Maarten Roos and we are very happy to announce that it is now available on Amazon Prime to rent or watch immediately if you are a subscriber. Also available to stream on my Play Cello Music Store. If you are very good, and want me to feel warm and fuzzy about you, you can even give a positive review of it and lots of stars!

After the film, I played some new pieces I wrote, and new fishing related ones I learned especially for the concert… I can now say cockles and mussels in German (Herzmuscheln und Meesmuscheln)… maybe you can  guess what I sang with the audiences help!

It was wonderful to have a tour through the history of the brotherhood of fishermen by Dirk Ortmann who is involved in running the museum. He also made everything run smoothly on the night, and took a cool photo afterwards at the lake on a steep incline!

The review sounds good as far as I can tell from my German. I did introduce every song in German, making myself learn and improve!

I also gave an improvisation and Irish music workshop to three cellists from the Bonn area. We had lots of fun and learning! Isabel Grautstuck organised the museum concert and workshop and did such a wonderful job. The concert was a huge success and sold out before the day of the concert. A huge thank you to her!!

Cellists Ilse, Bettina, Isabel, Louisa

Onward to Hanover via the wonderful Cologne cathedral and Philharmonic hall…

And Saturday morning after rehearsing with Jan Allain at our wonderful friends’ place near Hanover on Friday night, we zoomed over to Braunschweig in the Commando Jeep. Jan and I played together for many years, touring throughout all the German speaking countries, France, Australia and probably elsewhere, sometimes 12 tours a year, our first tour being 6 months. We made incredible friends along the way and had a crazy time. We last played at the same event, the Sommerloch CSD day festival in Braunschweig in the early days…1998! Wild to meet people from on the road that I hadn’t seen for years. Wild to see who performed on stage!

mad horn players!

I finished my short trip with a day of holiday at Petra and Andrea’s place. Swam, sat in the sun, laughed, basically a rare day of summer for me living in Ireland where summer only visits for an hour here or there.

Petra, Jan & Ilse

Thank you to all the people who made the trip possible, especially Isabel, Dirk, Maarten Roos, Jan Allain, Petra, Andrea and Andreas.

Please visit to see the new version my Irish music film ‘Living the Tradition’!

Midleton Arts Festival – Meet the Orchestra

SATURDAY 13th MAY, 1.45 @ Market Green, Midleton (where Tesco is)

Having been on the organising team of Midleton Arts Festival, I have discovered that this makes little time to focus on anything else… but is this bad? NO! The team of organisers are an amazing group of creative and talented people. I feel very lucky to live in a town where so many great people live. When artists and people who are into being creative in any field come together, there is such a feeling of community. A feeling of being connected, and being part of what is going on. The winter despair has been shaken off, the feeling of missing out on all the fun has faded, and the sun is sometimes burning through the cloud, a day of summer here and there.

Saturday coming and the Midleton Arts Festival begins. If it rains, it is really annoying, but despite the predictions of rain, we will have a ball and my Saturday event in Midleton Market Green will go ahead.

The Cork Light Orchestra will be presenting ‘Meet the Orchestra’. The elders meet the bubs and share their talents and knowledge. I love bringing all ages together and not making something only for young or only for old. Some of us may be old and some may be young but we can all be young at heart and have a lovely time sharing the fun that music and art can bring.

We are Art!!

Midleton Arts Festival

I am on the organising team for Midleton Arts Festival and spent many hours negotiating the various facets of festival creation and success. We were lucky enough this year to win an award of mentorship from the Cork County Council. This means we have three wonderful people who are supporting us for a year in the build up to the 2018 festival. We have already had meetings with Dermot McLaughlin, Phillip King and Una Carmody, each bringing something different to the table. There are a few ideas put in place for this year, but it will really feed into the festival 2018.

I am performing quite a bit during the festival and I wanted to share the exciting events. First installment is the Saturday Morning Midleton Farmers Market with the Cork Light Orchestra

The Midleton Farmers Market is on every Saturday morning, 9.30 – 1.30 in the market place by SuperValu. As Darina Allen says ‘it has become the yardstick by which other Farmers Markets are measured.’ It boasts gorgeous food from local growers; the best bread I ever tasted from Declan of Arbutus Bread, goats cheese from Jane of Ardsallagh Cheese, Fresh greenss and chilli sauce and more from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School,  Paté from Barry, smoked fish from Frank Hederman, the list goes on. The who’s who of Irish food names. And every week there is someone playing music giving a great atmosphere and joyous sounds. In the early days of the market I developed my solo cello repertoire and style by playing for a whole year of Saturdays, through cold, drizzle and sun, supported by the market holders. Now there is more variety and with it’s success has has grown too big for a lone cellist!

I conduct the Cork Light Orchestra, and we will play from 10 – 12.30 on Saturday 13th May in the (sunny) Farmers Market.

The orchestra is made up of wonderful musicians some who only started playing late in life, some who dabbled and finally had time to play more, others who gig regularly. We like to play music from the tradition of the salon orchestras of the 20s and 30s, and music of more recent times like the 60s and 70s… in fact anything that makes people feel happy, makes you want to wriggle a bit, or even get out there and dance. Expect people with an armful of organic carrots swinging wildly and others with an bagful of empty milk bottles clinking on their way to Ann Ahern to get their weeks supply of organic raw milk. It really is fun, and a great way to start on the Midleton Arets Festival Trail!!

In between us playing a new folk orchestra, Comhaltas Ceolfoireann will make their debut performance playing a selection of lively traditional tunes from 11.00 – 11.20

More on further events later…


Celloquial at Midsummer festival launch

The cellos of the Cork Symphony Orchestra, launching as Celloquial at the midwinter launch in the Mardyke cricket club in Cork, for the Midsummer Festival.

The four cellos sounded great and we played Elaine's fabtastic arrangement of Eleanor Rigby, my Seven Nation army arrangement, Creeping Death and Nothing Else Matters, both Metallica numbers from Apocaliptica.

Tonight will be another Celloquial event with Interference. 8 cellos this time! What a sound!

Hilltown New Music Festival

A great time playing with Quiet Music Ensemble at Hilltown, despite the almost incessant rain! We played in the barn on the Friday night (before partying til all hours!) 



Hilltown New Music Festival. The festival, situated on the grounds of Hilltown House, Castlepollard, has developed a name for presenting cutting-edge contemporary works in a beautiful outdoor rural setting.
This Friday 15 July, at 9pm on the Main Stage, the QME presents a programme of both familiar and new work. Featured are two ensemble classics, both commissioned in 2008 for the Quiet Music Festival: Shadow Lines by Alvin Lucier; and quiet leaves breathing by David Toop. Last October, a live performance of quiet leaves breathing was a central feature of a programme dedicated to QME and Toop on RTÉ Lyric FM’s ‘Nova’.  Irish composer Susan Geaney wrote Vacuum for the QME and has revised it especially for this performance; this is the premiere of its latest version. The final work in the programme is a ‘sonic meditation’ by Quiet Music Ensemble Artistic Director John Godfrey. Made up of a ‘walk-through’ sonic landscape and improvisation by QME and special guests, this is a work especially designed with the extraordinary spaces of the Hilltown House gardens in mind.




The Saturday night, after the German artist and composer Johannes S. Sistermann's performance with cling film I also danced my own version as he played a tango on the accordion… my notoriety will follow me…it did involve being wrapped in clingfilm…

The Wolf…

more photos to come…