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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 2, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . . get festive

    Laurence Mackin

    Go: There are strange things afoot in these parts. A constellation of arts and music events is packing out this weekend’s bank-holiday schedule, but the whole place is being bothered by that oddest of guests – sunshine. Big fat glorious waves of it. Which should make Forbidden Fruit in Imma a mouthwatering proposal. Or how about Listowel Writers’ Week for some Kerry culture? If you are looking for something of a more classical bent, you could could make your way to Waterford for the Lismore Music Festival. Or, perhaps head for the oddest and most intriguing pick of the bunch, the Flat Lake Festival, fed on the fumes of Pat McCabe’s missive from the back of a chip van. In fact, go almost anywhere this weekend, and you’re sure to bump into a rollicking festival of some chaotic description.

    See: Theatre with a bit of teeth? Certainly sir. Loose Canon Theatre is back in the firing line with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Dublin’s Project. But far from the stately Shakespearean approach, the company is pursuing the play’s more outre edges – well, it does have it’s fair share of darkness amid the froth.

    If you prefer your Shakespeare played a bit more respectfully, the Dublin Shakespeare Festival has a host of events, including Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, in TCD’s front square. Given the balmy weather, this could prove irresistible.

    Listen: You have a pick of solid jazz line ups this weekend. On the west coast, preparations are afoot for the Sligo Jazz Project, with the Andreas Varady quartet helping launch the festival with a free concert in the Source at 8.30pm on Saturday (the festival itself is later in the month).

    On Sunday night in Dublin, there is a formidable musical line-up in the National Concert Hall. Three bands from the ECM label will offer three different facets to the label’s enviable roster of musicians. Pianist Nik Bärtsch brings his funky quintet to Dublin to headline the show, with energetic pianist Stefano Bollani taking a solo spot for the mid-set slot. The opening act, though, is well worth making an effort to see. I caught The Source, led by tenor saxophonist Trygve Seim, at last week’s NattJazz festival in Norway (which you can read a review of here), but one of the highlights of that week was seeing Seim and pianist and Andreas Utnem playing a small, private concert in a former second World War cannon emplacement at Fjell fortress. The room was full of jazz bookers, agents and managers and everyone was left speechless by the duo’s playing. Here’s a little flavour of what you can expect from this exceptional Norwegian talent.

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