Talent from across the decades

Gig of the week – A Night for Aware, Friday April 6, Olympia theatre, Dublin, 8pm, €25 ticketmaster.ie

Christy Dignam, lead singer of Aslan, will be performing at ‘A Night for Aware’ at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Christy Dignam, lead singer of Aslan, will be performing at ‘A Night for Aware’ at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile via Getty Images

 

The topic of mental health issues has become a much broader topic of conversation in recent years. What was for too long once seen as an “invisible” ailment, perhaps best not to talk about, is now very much the opposite.

In many important ways, it boils down to an admission that everyone – you, me, and all those people we know – is, to a greater or lesser degree, on a mental health scale. Some people are good at managing levels of anxiety, depression and other related conditions; some use various coping mechanisms in order to balance out the continual ebbs and flows that circumnavigate the brain. Other people, however, experience difficulty. You only have to look around as you walk through town and city centres to know that.

Supported by Cadbury’s, A Night For Aware aims to not only raise funds for mental health charity Aware but also to increase the public’s knowledge of the range of mental health issues it provides and advises on. Gerry O’Brien, Head of Fundraising and Business Development with Aware, realises that events such as this raise essential funds that allow the charity to provide, free of charge, the level of support and education services that make a real difference in people’s lives. “With one in 10 experiencing depression in Ireland,” he says, “we all know someone who has been impacted, whether directly ourselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.” Having as high profile a sponsor as Cadbury’s allows for, says co-organiser Eugene Connolly, “every penny of ticket sales to go directly to aiding the very important services that Aware provide in the area of positive mental health”.

Of course, one of the ways in which people cope with stress, depression and other mental health issues is through music. It isn’t too daring a statement to make: there isn’t a musician or artist alive who, if they’re honest with themselves, won’t admit that if it weren’t for their art they’d be in a different, probably adverse, headspace. Thankfully, many are able to channel what is swirling around their heads into making music, and as a gig – let alone a fundraising event – A Night for Aware ticks many boxes.

Event co-organiser Paul Byrne is a respected musician of long standing, having been involved with Irish band In Tua Nua from their heyday in the mid-1980s. This is the fourth A Night For . . . show he has helped put together, and as a representation of the wealth of Irish talent from across the past four decades, it takes some beating. Long established music acts include the aforementioned In Tua Nua and The Pale, each of which is still around and making themselves useful. Formed from the ghosts of The Radiators from Space, Trouble Pilgrims will perform tracks from last year’s fine album, Dark Shadows and Rust. Younger musicians include the formidable songwriter Mundy, singer-songwriter Jem Mitchell, funk/soul band BARQ, Cry Monster Cry (aka brothers Richie and Jamie Martin), Mal Touhy and JP Dalton (from the Riptide Movement), and emerging ska act Skatuesques.

In a neat and appropriate twist, the nominal headliner is Aslan’s Christy Dignam, who will surely lead the assembled crowd into a rousing (and wholly significant) rendition of Crazy World. So far no special guests have been announced, but there’s always one or two loitering about backstage, so keep your ears open and eyes peeled.

NB: Aware Freephone Support Line: 1800 80 48 48.

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