Bassist Barry Donohue takes on sternest of challenges with new group

Mongolian throat singing, Snowpoet tour back on track and the music of Charlie Mingus is celebrated

 

Saturday 10

Plaza Real: The Music of Weather Report

Arthurs. Dublin, 9.30pm, €10, arthurspub.ie

Barry Donohue is one of the most in-demand bassists on the Dublin scene, equally adept on the acoustic upright and electric guitar versions of his instrument. In Donohue’s own Plaza Real, it is the latter instrument which takes the starring role, exploring the repertoire of Weather Report. The trailblazing fusion group led by keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter is revered by most jazz musicians, but it’s particularly beloved of bassists because, for much of the band’s existence, it featured the legendary and hugely influential Jaco Pastorius on bass. Donohue takes on that sternest of challenges with a new group that features electric keyboard wizard Darragh O’Kelly, dynamic Cape Town saxophonist Chris Engel and the always inventive Shane O’Donovan on drums.

Huun-Huur-Tu

Spectrum Festival, Dublin (Saturday 10th, see below); Waterford Academy of Music & Arts (Monday 12th); Roisín Dubh, Galway (Wednesday 14th); Triskel Christchurch, Cork (Friday 16th)

Mongolian folk group Huun-Huur-Tu caused something of a sensation in the late 1990s when they brought the extraordinary art of Tuvan throat singing to the world. They have collaborated with the likes of the Chieftains, the Kronos Quartet and Frank Zappa among many others, and their music has appeared in the US television series Fargo. The otherworldly sound of multi-phonic throat singing has it roots in the shamanic singing of the Mongolian steppes, but there seems to be something about the primal quality of Huun-Huur-Tu (the name means “sunbeams”) that strikes a deep chord with jaded western ears.

Spectrum Festival

Various venues; continues till Sunday 11; improvisedmusic.ie

The forward-looking Spectrum Festival is a first draft from the frontiers of music history and a chance for intrepid listeners to dip a toe in the churning waters of the avant-garde. Converging on the space where jazz, contemporary classical and art rock collide, the festival continues today with a double bill at Fumbally Stables featuring the duo of Cork free saxophonist Catharine Sikora and Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer Brian Chase plus saxophonist Sam Comerford’s Thunderblender (see below); and concludes tomorrow with renowned Mongolian throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu (see above) at the Grand Social.

Snowpoet (tour concludes)

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan (Saturday 10th); Courthouse, Tinahely (Sunday 11th); snowpoet.co.uk

Snowpoet, a collaboration between Dublin-born vocalist Lauren Kinsella and UK multi-instrumentalist Chris Hyson, is a heavy hitting London six-piece exploring the intersection between poetry, improv, avant folk, singer-songwriter and jazz. The aptly named band’s 10-date tour was thrown into disarray last week by the weather – talk about poetry! – but the tour is back on track now and finishes this weekend in Navan and Tinahely.

Thunderblender (tour concludes)

Fumbally Stables, Dublin (Saturday 10th); Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford (Sunday 11th), samcomerford.com

Dublin saxophonist Sam Comerford has been based in Brussels for the last few years where he is building a reputation for adventurous projects, particularly with the seldom heard bass saxophone. Thunderblender is his fresh-sounding trio with drummer Jens Bouttery and pianist Hendrik Lasure that strikes a raucous balance between art and fun.

Brilliant Corners

Black Box, Belfast; concludes today; brilliantcornersbelfast.com

Belfast’s weeklong Brilliant Corners festival finishes in style with multi-talented Belfast drummer David Lyttle’s trio at 2.30pm, and London hipsters Sons of Kemet at 9pm, both in the Black Box. Also today, the festival’s cinema programme concludes with John Cassavetes’ 1959 film Shadows, scored by legendary bassist Charles Mingus (see also Beneath the Underdog, Thursday), and Sidney Lumet’s The Pawnbroker (1964) with a score by producer and jazz trumpeter Quincy Jones.

Thursday 15

Beneath the Underdog

Arthurs, Dublin, 9pm, €10, arthurspub.ie

Bassist Charles Mingus was a one-of-a-kind musician and composer, and his iconic blues-inflected tunes continue to exert a powerful influence on contemporary jazz writing. Bassist John Quearney’s celebration the music of the legendary bassist – named after Mingus’s outraged and outrageous autobiography – brings together a heavy hitting quintet that includes saxophonist Richie Buckley, guitarist Hugh Buckley, pianist Cian Boylan and drummer Cote Calmet.

Friday 16

Huun-Huur-Tu

Triskel Christchurch, Cork, 8pm, €20/18, triskelartscentre.ie

Mongolian folk group Huun-Huur-Tu caused something of a sensation in the late 90s when they brought the extraordinary art of Tuvan throat singing to the world. They have collaborated with the likes of the Chieftains, the Kronos Quartet and Frank Zappa among many others, and their music has appeared in the US television series Fargo. The otherworldly sound of multi-phonic throat singing has it roots in the shamanic singing of the Mongolian steppes, but there seems to be something about the primal quality of Huun-Huur-Tu that strikes a deep chord with jaded western ears. (See also Spectrum festival, Saturday 10th)

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