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James Vincent McMorrow is playing Ireland’s first live gig since lockdown – and it’s free to stream

This week’s unmissable online events: Norah Jones, Jason Donovan, Brightening Air and more

James Vincent McMorrow headlining Ireland’s first live gig since the pandemic will be livestreamed

James Vincent McMorrow at the Iveagh Gardens
Thursday, June 10th, 7pm, free,
James Vincent McMorrow has always been at the cutting edge of indie rock, so it's no surprise that he's the chosen one to headline Ireland's first concert with a live audience since the pandemic shut down the music scene. He'll perform at the Iveagh Gardens, in Dublin, in front of 500 lucky punters, who will have to jump through hoops to attend the pilot gig, but will be rewarded with what is bound to be an emotional, uplifting concert. As the gig sold out faster than you can say its headliner's name, the National Concert Hall (NCH) has announced that it will be livestreaming it free on its website. McMorrow's set will feature songs from such acclaimed albums as Post Tropical and We Move, and preview tracks from his forthcoming album Grapefruit Season. With luck this will be the start of live music's long-awaited return and not just a one-off experiment.

Brightening Air, Ar Ais Arís. Photograph: Julia Dunnin

Brightening Air (Coiscéim Coiligh)
Friday, June 11th, to Sunday, June 20th,
Billed as 10 days of incredible arts experiences in surprising locations, the Brightening Air festival should blur the lines between media so effectively that you won't know whether it's live, virtual, augmented or all three. Among these experiences are In the Magic Hour, by CoisCéim Dance Theatre, taking place in handball alleys in four counties; Ar Ais Arís, a dramatic virtual-reality experience taking place in Gaeltacht communities along the Wild Atlantic Way; and PanPan Theatre's surreal, vaguely voyeuristic Mespil in the Dark, a streaming event exploring the lives of artists and actors living in the eponymous block of flats.

Norah Jones

Norah Jones: Pick Me Up Off the Floor Live
Saturday, June 12th,
Fans of Norah Jones were denied the chance to watch her performing tracks from her 2020 album Pick Me Up Off the Floor, but now she's going to come on over to your house and do a nice, intimate show for your musical pleasure. The singer, songwriter and pianist has been staying connected with her fans via her weekly solo concerts on her Facebook page, but now she's doing the full bells and whistles live from Irving Plaza in New York, accompanied by a full band.The album, a skilful blend of Americana, soul, blues and jazz, has been described by Rolling Stone as "comfort in these trying times".

Zahra Syed (13) showing the henna body art she created with her sister at Airfield Estate for the launch of Creative Ireland’s Cruinniú na nÓg 2021. Photograph: Mark Stedman

Cruinniú na nÓg
Saturday, June 12th,
Children will be unleashing their creativity online with this special edition of Cruinniú na nÓg. Expect all sorts of shenanigans from young Irish speakers across the land, reflecting children's inventiveness and imagination when dealing with the age-old question of how to have fun. Among the online events is a Garageland series of gigs featuring young rockers, rappers, DJs and singers, junk couture workshop, a céilí in the kitchen and a special event unravelling the latest trend, Knitting across the Nation: Airfield to Aran. Also, TG4 will host a TikTok romance as Gaeilge made by and for teenagers. Expect lots of drama, twists and turns, and lols.

Jason Donovan

Jason Donovan: Ten Good Reasons & More
Sunday, June 13th, 8pm,
Remember when Jason Donovan was one of the biggest pop stars on the planet (the other one being his Neighbours costar Kylie Minogue)? Remember how he outsold the competition with his Ten Good Reasons album, way back in 1989, and scored megahits with Too Many Broken Hearts, Any Dream Will Do and, of course, his duet with Kylie, Especially for You? More than 30 years later, the Aussie entertainer is performing this stripped-back concert for his many fans, who have remained loyal through thick and thin. Donovan had to postpone his 2020 Even More Good Reasons tour because of that thingy, but this intimate online show should keep fans happy and clappy until he can reschedule the live dates.

Cork Midsummer Festival. Photograph: Claire Keogh

Cork Midsummer Festival
Monday, June 14th, to Sunday, June 27th,
Life is slowly opening up again, and even though packing a bunch of people into a venue is not an option just yet, festival organisers are able to think outside the cocoon and come up with a blend of online and in-person events to keep people safely entertained. Cork Midsummer Festival is getting the blend just right with five distinct strands, including City Gallery, which features new visual-arts projects and installations across the city, and City Stage, a series of outdoor events in such locations as the Port of Cork and Elizabeth Fort, and an innovative idea of delivering multidisciplinary performances straight to your doorstep. This week's online events include the Art of Swimming, a solo performance by Lynda Radley, directed by Tom Creed, which plunges the viewer into the world of the celebrated endurance swimmer Mercedes Gleitze, who swam the English Channel in 1927, broke many records, and left male swimmers floundering in her wake (Monday, June 14th, 8pm, €10); Mountain Goat Mountain, an interactive-audio family event that lets you explore tunnels, lava pits and underwater caves without leaving the house (Monday, June 14th, to Thursday, June 17th, €10); Content, a series of visual diaries, audio works, conversations, Zoom meetings and whatever you're having yourself, all linked by the inquiring mind of the festival's artist-in-residence, Peter Power, and exploring the ideas of value and meaning in the digital age (Monday, June 14th, to Thursday, June 17th, free); Power Up Power Down, soul-soothing meditations by the composer and soprano Kim Sheehan (Monday, June 14, 8am and Thursday, June 17th, 9pm, €9); and The Best of Beethoven, a series of on-demand performances made in 2020 by Vanbrugh Quartet, 2020 Quartet and Ficino Ensemble to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's birth.