The Barbican London

Imagining Ireland: 21st Century Songs

Monday, 5 March 2018

Some of Ireland’s finest contemporary musicians – led by Bell X1’s Paul Noonan and Lisa Hannigan – come to London.

Paul Noonan, who has helped to curate this evening, holds a unique territory in the Irish rock landscape – as lead singer of Bell X1 he has been a household name for almost 20 years and remains keenly relevant to this day. He’s joined by a host of artists, including the Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter Lisa HanniganSaint Sister, whose music draws from Celtic harp traditions and electronica, and the Domino Records signee Seamus Fogarty.

Also on the bill will be the Cork-raised but Deep South-sounding Brian DeadyLoah, who grew up between Ireland and West Africa, and Northside Dublin MC Mango Dassle.  Then there’s Stephen James Smith, central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today, the atmospheric alt-Folk of Maria Kellyand a new piece for strings and electronics by J Colleran (AKA MMOTHS), premiered by the Crash Ensemble.

The Second Violinist

Thursday, 6 September 2018 to Saturday, 8 September 2018

A dazzling modern opera that tells the foreboding story of a life falling apart, The Second Violinist unfolds like an unnerving thriller driven along by a haunting and compulsive score. 

Martin, an orchestral violinist, is consumed by social media platforms, morbid fantasies and violent video games. Seeking solace in the music of Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, his inner turmoil becomes ever more apparent as he searches for beauty in a dark, dark world. 

The latest collaboration between internationally renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh and composer Donnacha Dennehy, this brooding production switches between multiple timelines. It marries multilayered set and video design with a score, rich in amplified sounds, harmonies and overtones – reflective of the heightening tension onstage – and played live by the dynamic music group, Crash Ensemble. Lyrical and ethereal singing by three soloists and a 16-strong chorus contrasts with Aaron Monaghan’s central performance, physically fraught, essentially wordless and utterly involving.