Weekly gig guide: Craig David, Tigran Hamasayan, Samantha Crain and more

Our select going-out guide, featuring the best gigs, shows, exhibitions and events taking place around the country

Tigran Hamasayan, Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, Friday

Tigran Hamasayan, Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, Friday



Tigran Hamasayan

Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, 8pm, €35/€25, newschool.ie
Pianist Tigran Hamasyan is followed around by the sort of breathless praise reserved for only the very top layer of instrumentalists in jazz, and here’s a little more. Over the past 10 years, Hamasyan has won the prestigious Thelonious Monk Prize and the piano award at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and fellow pianists like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Brad Mehldau have all given the 29-year-old Armenian an approving nod. But there is depth as well as jaw-dropping technique at work in Hamasyan’s folk-inflected playing. The sacred music of his homeland - a tradition that reaches back almost to the dawn of Christianity - has been a particular influence, so hearing him perform a solo concert in the natural acoustics of Christchurch’s cavernous space may be akin to a religious experience, even for the most confirmed pagan.

Rock Against Homelessness

Olympia Dublin 7pm €30 ticketmaster.ie
Leading the way to greater awareness of the plight of the homeless is a rake of Irish acts, including Paul Cleary (who says that he looks forward “to a day when there’ll be no need for charities such as Focus”), Hamsandwich (below), August Wells, Delorentos, Finbar Furey, The Blizzards and – a late but welcome addition to the line-up – The Boomtown Rats. In a real display of community, homeless musician Danny Bracken will perform, and will be accompanied by, among others, Paul Brady and Dave Fleming.

Maxim Vengerov, RTÉ NSO/Gavin Maloney

NCH , Dublin 8pm €34.50-€69.50 nch.ie
Maxim Vengerov was almost an annual visitor to Ireland before an injury in 2005 forced an extended interruption to his playing career. But his Irish profile is now back on track, and his latest concert is his third annual appearance here in a row. Tonight he offers what’s likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Irish concert goers. He’s playing the original, 1904 version of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, the one first heard in Helsinki and not aired again until a recording was made/issued in 1991 by Leonidas Kavakos. It’s only in recent years that a small number of players have been allowed to perform this version again. Vengerov will be partnered in the concerto by Gavin Maloney, and will then swap violin for baton to conduct a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony.

Andy Irvine and Dónal Lunny

The Courthouse, Tinahely 8pm €22/€20 courthousearts.ie
This pair have been at the barricades of so many of traditional music’s key moments over the past four decades – Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, The Bothy Band, Patrick Street, Coolfin, not to mention Lunny’s keen hand at the tiller of so many finely produced albums for other artists. Showing little if any sign of tiring of the road, Lunny and Irvine embody a rare combination of highly rarified musical sensibilities crossed with the keenest ears for a compelling song and story. Vocally, Andy’s as fresh as he’s ever been, and Dónal seems to get the same kick out of exploring the rhythmical underbelly of traditional music as he did during the heady days of the 1970s. Resilience in musical motion.


District 8 Dublin 11pm €20 district8dublin.com
Rune Reilly Kölsch’s fanclub has been growing steadily over the past couple of years. Born in the Christiana commune outside Copenhagen to an Irish father and German mother, Kölsch’s work as a producer has seen him put his name, or one of the other monikers he uses, to a bunch of million-selling tracks. Albums such as 1977 and 1983 for Cologne’s Kompakt have shown Kölsch’s skills as a techno trendsetter. One of the best of the new school innovators and one who’s capable of putting on a hell of a show.

Kincora Trad Weekend

Various venues, Killaloe and Ballina, kincoratradweekend.com
Now in its fifth year, this boutique festival straddles the Shannonside towns of Ballina and Killaloe and is jam packed with traditional music workshops, recitals, pipe bands, concerts, singing and music sessions. Here, the emphasis is on the lyrical, the intimate with guests including flute player Aoife Granville, the inimitable box player Charlie Piggott, fiddle player Gerry Harrington and concertina player Micheál Ó Raghallaigh, along with MacDara Ó Raghallaigh on fiddle too. Tonight’s opening concert at St Flannan’s Cathedral in Killaloe is titled Mná na hÉireann, celebrating women’s musical voices. The eclectic programme will include Aoife Granville, Brigid Delaney, Ann Lynch-Lyons, Deirdre Scanlan, Eileen O’Brien and many others.

Craig David

3Arena Dublin 8pm €60.45/€49.65/€38.50 ticketmaster.ie
There was a time when it seemed as if UK R&B/pop singer Craig David (below) had disappeared. That wasn’t the case, but his reappearance nonetheless seemed as if it were a bona fide comeback rather than a soft continuation of his career. And yet you can’t get over the fact that, even to his loyal fanbase, the level of David’s resurgence has come as a huge surprise – as has this show, which is part of the largest arena tour he has undertaken in over 15 years. Named after his 2016 album Following my Intuition , the tour dates have been on the receiving end of much praise. Part upbeat gig, part DJ rave show – proof positive that you can’t keep a good man, and a terrific R&B singer, down and out for long.

Caladh Nua

Ionad Cultúrtha, Ballyvourney 8.30pm €15 ionadculturtha.ie
Tightly-knit, vibrant band with its origins deeply rooted in the southern counties, Caladh Nua combine fiddle, banjo, guitar, bodhrán, tin whistle and button accordion to forge a distinctive sound that melds old and new. Tonight’s a chance to hear them in the raw.

John Prine

Opera House Cork 8pm €54.65 (sold out) corkoperahouse.ie Also Sat, Seapoint Leisure Centre, Salthill, Galway 8pm €50 (sold out) roisindubh.net; Mon, Millennium Forum, Derry8pm £36.50/£32.50 (sold out) millenniumforum.co.uk; Tues, Ulster Hall Belfast8pm £46.50 (sold out) ulsterhall.co.uk; Thurs, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Dublin 8pm €54.65/€44.05 bordgaisenergytheatre.ie
One of the US’s greatest living Americana/folk songwriters, John Prine has always enjoyed a special link with Ireland. He has been a hugely influential songwriter, too (“Mid-Western mind trips to the nth degree,” according to Bob Dylan) especially for those wordsmiths that like to fuse biting satire and social commentary with sharp humour. You’d have to feel a tinge of sympathy, however, for anyone attempting to beat Prine at his own game – he’s a unique songwriter, often imitated but never bettered. Special guest on all dates is US singer-songwriter Amanda Shires.


Cyprus Avenue Cork 11pm €16/€13 cyprusavenue.ie
Cork’s techno haven marks two years in business with a visit from Randomer, aka North London DJ and producer Rohan Walder, who came into electronic music via a teenage fondness for raves, a degree in popular and non-western music and an early lean towards dubstep and drum’n’bass. Within a few years, he began to make tracks which moved slowly from what he calls “crazy, complex beats that seemed danceable to me” to tough, metallic, euphoric tracks like Huh and last year’s Running Dry. Support tonight from Cork techno kingpin Jamie Behan.


Samantha Crain

Cleere’s Theatre Kilkenny 7pm €15 cleeres.com; also Sunday, Coughlan’s Cork 9pm €10 coughlans.ie
We love a smart album title, and the fifth studio record from US singer-songwriter Samantha Crain (below) has a good one – You Had Me at Goodbye. Five albums in and the Oklahoma tunesmith has developed into as fine a folk/pop songwriter as you would have hoped for. Crain’s songwriting pivots around her love of literature (her 2008 debut EP, based on five of her short stories, is titled The Confiscation – a Musical Novella), and over the past eight years she has continued to release albums that advance the notion of intelligent songwriting while staying true to basic song arrangements. She had us from the very start, more like.

Tw!tch – Dekmantel

Queen’s Students Union Belfast 10pm £12/£10 twitchbelfast.com
When it comes to European electronic music festivals, Dekmantel is currently top of the list for many adventurous souls. Established in Amsterdam in 2013 after a couple of try-outs and other events, the festival has won kudos for its excellent programming and an attention to detail at the Amsterdame Bose venue . Tonight Dekmantel founders Thomas Martojo and Casper Tielrooij are in Belfast with the Dekmantel Soundsystem for a journey into the heart of the electronic music which inspires and influences how they run things at the festival.

Neil Ó Loclainn’s Cuar

The Complex 15 Little Green St, Dublin, 8.30pm, €10, facebook.com/cuarmusic
While jazz musicians in most European countries – notably Scandinavia – have enjoyed long and fruitful engagements with their own traditional music, in Ireland, jazz and trad have been curiously reluctant to mix, like boys and girls on opposite sides of a dancefloor, eyeing each other suspiciously, wanting to engage but afraid to make the first move. It has taken a new generation of more liberated Irish musicians, unencumbered by genre, to break the ice. Foremost among them is Clare bassist Neil Ó Loclainn, best known as the driving force behind big band Ensemble Eriu. Cuar (below) is a more intimate affair, an improvisatory chamber trio with fiddler Aoife Ní Bhrian and clarinetist Matt Berrill. Roscanna is their debut album, released this week.

Basement Project

Electric Galway 11pm €10/€8 electricgalway.com
Berlin producer Mike Dehnert’s Fachwerk label has provided a home for such heavyweight techno practitioners as Sascha Rydell, Roman Lindau and Dehnert himself. Away from Fachwerk, Dehnert has released the How Close EP of pristine streamlined house on the DJ Koze co-founded Pampa label.


Little Hours

DeBarras, Clonakilty 8.30 €15 debarra.ie
Despite keeping a low profile over the past 18 months, Killybegs, Donegal duo John Doherty and Ryan McCloskey (below) have already secured a sizeable fanbase and a major label record deal. Tipping along with a series of nationwide shows as they finesse their debut album – scheduled for release in the second half of the year – we can attest to the melodic strength of the music. Big things are expected from Little Hours, so seeing them in such intimate venues is a good idea – you might not get the chance in 2018. Irish singer-songwriter Stephanie Rainey is special guest on all dates.


The Hunt Museum, The Custom House, Rutland St, Limerick. Until May 21 huntmuseum.com
An exploration of the long-term continuing relationship between the Hunt Museum and the Limerick School of Art and Design. It takes the form of work by 18 contemporary artists working in many disciplines plus selected drawings sourced from several collections, including IMMA. Concurrently, the LSAD 20th Annual Exhibition (Until May 30) features works by 2nd year paintings students at LSAD made in dialogue with works from the Hunt collection.

Vanbrugh String Quartet

NCH Kevin Barry Room 3pm €15 nch.ie
Time is running out to hear the Vanbrugh String Quartet. Last year the players made their final appearance at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, and earlier this year gave their final tour together. At the moment they’re giving a Russian season at the National Concert Hall’s Kevin Barry Recital Room. This week’s concert, the third last, sees them pairing the expansive first quartet by Sergei Taneyev (pupil of Nikolai Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, teacher of Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Medtner and Glière) with the compact Quartet No 7 that Shostakovich wrote in 1960 in memory of his first wife, Nina, who had died in 1954. MD

Tommy Halferty: Seven Steps to Albert Camus

Number Twenty Two, Sth. Anne’s St, Dublin, 9pm, €15/10, numbertwentytwo.ie
Tommy Halferty (below) is having quite a year. Having assumed the mantle of Ireland’s senior jazz guitarist (following the death of his first mentor and inspiration, Louis Stewart), the ebullient Derry man was feted earlier this year with a special concert in honour of his 70th birthday, which included appearances from vocalist Norma Winstone and others. Now he realises a long-held ambition with this unusual and innovative project, a suite of compositions for a nine-piece ensemble, inspired by the writings of his hero, the great French-Algerian author Albert Camus. Halferty’s score mixes jazz improv with some strongly melodic writing for a talent-rich, cosmopolitan ensemble that includes saxophonist Michael Buckley, pianist Izumi Kimura, vocalist Aleka Potinga, and violinist Cora Venus Lunny, with a narration from Halferty’s son, Cambridge-based philosopher Hugo Halferty-Drochon.


Ailbhe Ní Bhriain

Recent works, presented in collaboration with Domoball Gallery, London. The Dock, St George’s Terrace, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim April 8-May 27 thedock.ie
In her engrossing multi-screen video and CGI installations, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain draws the viewer into strange, dreamlike worlds. It is as though the familiar components of the everyday have been taken apart and reassembled in surreal combinations: “a flooded library inhabited by birds of prey or a disused airport housing a rudimentary landscape”. The camera negotiates these magically theatrical spaces and events at an hypnotically slow pace, gently persuading us to accept the evidence of our eyes, even as our minds register incongruities and impossibilities. Galway-born, Ní Bhriain studied in Cork (where she lectures now at the Crawford College of Art) and in the UK. (Pictured below is a still from Report to an Academy, four-screen installation, 2015).


Alejandro Escovedo

Whelan’s Dublin 8pm €20 whelanslive.com Also Wednesday Errigle Inn Belfast 8pm £17 errigle.com; Thursday Set Theatre KiIkenny 8pm €18.50 set.ie
San Antonio-born Alejandro Escovedo (below) has experience in so many genres that it’s difficult to know where to start. The son of Mexican immigrants to Texas initially embraced punk rock (in 1978, his band, The Nuns, supported The Sex Pistols’ final show in San Francisco). In the early 1980s, he veered towards an alt.country sound that filtered roots music through noisy guitars, and he’s been that way inclined ever since, engaging with loud and quiet music styles as the moods fit. Highly respected by enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, after an extended period of time off-grid Escovedo returned with a bang last year with Burn Something Beautiful, an album that features former REM members Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey. One word? Quality.

The Train

Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Ends Apr 15 7.30pm (Sat mat 2pm) €13-€45 abbeytheatre.ie
When it debuted, in the autumn of 2015, Rough Magic’s musical may not have seemed ahead of its time, but its characters did. Inspired by the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement in 1971, the show followed the events of the Contraceptive Train, a shrewd media coup in which almost 50 women travelled from Dublin to Belfast to buy prophylactics that were then banned in the Republic. As directed by Lynne Parker, Arthur Riordan and Bill Whelan’s collaboration had a hugely nostalgic glow for the counterculture and the bad old days, when a burgeoning feminist movement hit the buffers of a church-ridden patriarchy. Although it was alleviated with a soupcon of self-awareness (one character affectingly lamented that she had been “Written By a Man”) it was costumed and choreographed as broadly kitsch piece of escapism. A few weeks later, however, Waking The Feminists happened, and conversations sharpened. With this Abbey transfer comes an opportunity to get The Train back on track. The show has now been significantly restructured, rewritten and reconceived towards something more complex, political and relevant to today. All aboard.



Noel Bowler. Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin Until May 14 galleryofphotography.ie
A timely – but then, wouldn’t it always be timely? – showing for Noel Bowler’s four-year photography project documenting “the spaces of organised labour”, meaning the meeting and administration rooms of workers’ unions. Ireland features but he also travelled extensively, visiting 14 countries in all, from the US to Poland.

Irish Chamber Orchestra/ Thomas Zehetmair

City Hall, Waterford 7.30pm €20/€18 waterford-music.org; also Thurs, University Concert Hall, Limerick 8pm €22, €25/€10 uch.ie

Austrian violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair (left) has an Irish connection through composer Gerald Barry, whose music he has conducted on both sides of the Atlantic. Sadly, there’s no Barry on offer in Zehetmair’s Irish début with the ICO this week. The ICO programmes in Waterford and Limerick include Dvorak’s evergreen Serenade for strings, Samuel Barber’s Capricorn Concerto – for the unusual lineup of flute (Fiona Kelly), oboe (Daniel Bates), trumpet (Simon Menin) and strings – and Schoenberg’s most popular piece, the gorgeously late romantic Verklärte Nacht.



Yussef Kamaal

Sugar Club, Dublin, 8pm, €15, thesugarclub.com
Jazz musicians create their sound out of what they hear around them, and for keyboardist/producer Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu) and drummer Yussef Dayes (below), that has been club scene of their native London, and particularly the city’s pirate radio stations, pumping out all hues and flavours of EDM. Dayes is part of that new generation of drummers who have learned to apply the programmed grooves and loops of jungle, garage and grime to the acoustic drumset – the advantage of course is that a live drummer can react to the room and to the other musicians in a way that a machine never will. Williams scatters his own fairy dust with dreamy beds of 70s-inspired synths and keyboards, but really, it’s all about the grooves.

Levin & Levin

Everyman Theatre. Apr 10-15 (No show Fri) 8pm (Sat mat 2.30pm) €20/€18 everymancork.com
In the Russian pogroms of the early 20th century, two brothers escape persecution by making their way into Europe under disguise. But they aren’t brothers, they’re sisters, and in Aideen Wylde’s new play for BrokenCrow, even that is a bit of an act. Performed by Wylde and George Hanover, who play Bubbie and Ida, the show follows the lives of two of the European cabaret scenes most famous male impersonators, using vaudeville, clown and slapstick to include contributions from Rasputin, Freud and Hitler in their gender-swapping odyssey. Veronica Coburn and Bryan Burroughs direct an ode to displacement.


Tamsin Snow and Sarah Tynan. Mermaid Arts Centre, Main St, Bray, Co Wicklow Until April 22 mermaidartscentre.ie
In this collaborative commission, Sarah Tynan has made a disintegrating gallery-within-a-gallery, diagnosed by Rebecca O’Dwyer in her accompanying essay as exemplifying the decay of utopian modernism in its empty, postmodernist incarnation. Paintings of segments of fruit still hang on the walls “depictions of corporatised, subjective well being”, a “vain attempt to stem this rot”. Things don’t get any better. Today’s “zombie modernism” is actually a late-capitalist zone of rampant commodification, where choice is reduced to irrelevant consumer options. Tamsin Snow’s video Showroom is “a CGI walk-through of a speculative autopsy facility”, a sleek promotional pitch in which glossy technology replaces the messy scalpel. Life and death – “health and presence” – are brushed aside, mere fodder in the capitalist endgame.

Cormac Begley

The Cobblestone 9pm Adm free cobblestonepub.ie
The concertina is enjoying a spectacular renaissance at the moment, and there’s none to compare with the rich lyricism of west Kerry player, Cormac Begley. Tonight he launches his solo debut, in the splendid company of Tony MacMahon. Begley’s extensive tune repertoire (encompassing some very fine tunes of his own making) is matched by his remarkable collection of concertinas which include the piccolo, treble, baritone and bass instruments. Begley’s no stranger to the errant tale or two either, so expect a rich tapestry of song and story to celebrate his first solo excursion into the deep blue of the tradition.

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