Gig of the Week: Anam allows other voices to be heard at DCU

The arts and culture festival will bring a rush of activity to the north Dublin university

As the landscape of Irish music shifts, with venues being demolished and turned into hotels and third-party ticket sites hiking up the cost of tickets, it's important that we find alternative, accessible and affordable ways to enjoy music and culture. In comes Anam, the arts and culture festival curated by Other Voices, which is making its return to DCU on April 3rd and 4th.

Rather than setting up shop in established venues in Dublin’s city centre, this two-day festival moves away from the usual suspects, and brings a rush of activity to the northside university’s three campuses (Glasnevin and Drumcondra’s St Patrick’s and All Hallows) with live music, workshops, poetry, theatre, film, art and storytelling filling up lecture rooms, libraries, theatre venues, exam halls and chapels. With a large portion of the events running for free, including lunchtime choral recitals, Indian percussion workshops, Visual Voices, the collaborative photographic exhibition between DCU students and people living in direct provision, and the Spectacular Sexualities panel discussion that explores queer subcultures, trans identity and drag culture, booking a ticket is essential.

Shared stage

Anam carries on with Other Voices' reputation and moxie for calling in renowned performers and seeking out new talents in Ireland and placing them on a shared stage. Each evening culminates with a musical showcase of local talent. On Thursday evening, the festival's eponymous concert (€12/€15) in the Helix has grime maestros Mango x MathMan, indie heroes Delorentos, alternative hip-hop duo Tebi Rex, spoken-word artist Natalya O'Flaherty and singer-songwriter Katie Gallagher flying the flag for Ireland's diverse music scene. Also on Thursday is  Heart of the Rowl (€12/€15), a celebration of Irish trad and folk music taking place in the atmospheric surroundings of the All Hallows chapel. Curated by Other Voices creators Philip King and Aoife Woodlock and DCU's Irish language professor Dr Síle Denvir, the line-up includes David Keenan, Landless, Cormac Begley and Libby McCrohan, Gay McKeon and Amy Campbell, Anna-Mieke, Dermot, Tara, Danny and Helen Diamond, Francis Ward and DCU Trad Society.


Two events that are particularly worthy of your highlighter are the Music and the Mind event, happening in The U in Glasnevin on April 3rd, and RTÉ Brainstorm's Why Social Media Loves #Hate that's happening on the 4th in the same venue. Curated by Donnacha O'Malley (Meltybrains) and Dara Kiely (Girlband) and in collaboration with DCU's Mental Health Society and Sober Soc, the former questions whether "rock n' roll can save your sanity" with rapper God Knows from Rusangano Family and Tebi Rex sharing their thoughts. The latter takes on the vitriol of online life, with RTÉ Brainstorm editor Jim Carroll moderating a panel discussion with Dr Debbie Ging, a researcher of cyber bullying and online misogyny, Dr Tanya Lokot, an expert on digital freedom of speech, Paloma Viejo Otero, a researcher in racism and race hate speech in online environments, and singer-songwriter Farah Elle.


Just as Other Voices does in Dingle, Co Kerry and Ballina, Co Mayo, where they record gigs for their RTÉ series, there is a huge incentive to involve local communities (note the heavy involvement of the university’s societies, choirs, researchers and lecturers in the programme) while loosening the restrictions of how we consume arts and culture. The layout of Anam – and Other Voices in general – means that any space can become a venue and every artist has their time to shine.

The Anam festival is open to anyone and tickets for the charged and free events are available from, the Students’ Union office in the U on the DCU Glasnevin campus and the Student’s Union on DCU St Patrick’s campus.