Celebrating 10 years of doing things differently


THIS TIME last year, snow was all over Dingle. This weekend, there is a good substitute: a biting chill that necessitates the wearing of gloves, scarves and hats. We all look the same under cover?

Think again, as the streets of Dingle are tramped upon by a motley collection of apparently invulnerable rock stars that look as if the chilly weather means nothing to them. They don’t even seem to be wearing vests, for goodness sake.

On Main Street, one of Ireland’s most popular bands, The Coronas, are just out of St James’s Church following a short rehearsal and sound check; they pop into the front lounge of Benner’s Hotel, the official check- in/stop-off/hangout of the Other Voicesevent, which this year is celebrating its 10th birthday.

Acclaimed Irish sean-nós singer (although he splinters enough barriers not to be defined by that description) Iarla Ó Lionáird is hurrying off to find a harmonica, but he takes a few seconds out from his search to explain exactly what he’s doing here in Dingle.

“I’m an interloper,” he jokes, saying that his performance in the church is less a plug for his latest album Foxlightthan a chance to do something else altogether.

On this occasion, Ó Lionáird is teaming up with Peadar Ó Riada – son of celebrated composer Seán – for something, well, very different indeed.

Doing things differently is what the Other Voicesevent excels at. On Sunday, we’ll see rising Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow covering songs associated with various acts that have graced the stage in St James’s Church over the past 10 years.

And when the event is eventually broadcast on RTÉ in early 2012, you’ll also be seeing the likes of McMorrow perform a short set in one of the town’s oddest pubs, Foxy Johns, as well as watching Lisa Hannigan play a few songs in the Blasket Island Centre.

A brilliant addition to the 10th outing of the event, however, is the Other VoicesMusic Trail.

Across the weekend, in pubs An Droichead Beag, Dick Macks (another wonderfully odd hostelry), Geaney’s, McCarthy’s and the Courthouse, Irish-only acts such as Little Green Cars, The Lost Brothers, Ghost Estates, Mick Flannery, The Ambience Affair, Ham Sandwich and We Cut Corners will be adding their own singular voices to an already jammed schedule.

Time for the calculator, the watch and a good pair of walking shoes, then.