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Dingle’s Other Voices Comes To London

imelda-4-n
Imelda May plays Other Voices on Sunday.

LAST year, the Times took it upon themselves to compile a list of “The 25 greatest gigs of all time”. Many featured were big gigs at epic venues — think Queen at Wembley in ’85 or Radiohead at Glastonbury in ’97 — but among them was a show held in a small church in Dingle, Co. Kerry.

Amy Winehouse was the singer.

Her 2006 show as part of RTÉ’s Other Voices music show was subject to much mythology, no doubt heightened by the troubled singer’s subsequent death in 2011.

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It added a particular poignancy with the release last year of Amy Winehouse: The Day She Came To Dingle, a documentary about her visit.

Other Voices, born in Dingle, is a unique music television show that has established an international reputation over the last decade. Gigs are filmed in the local church, pub and village shop and artists that have visited — including Rufus Wainwright, The National and Ciara Sidine — normally choose between one of these pillars for a bed as there are no hotels in town.

And this weekend, following a successful trip to Derry in February as part of the city’s year-long City of Culture celebrations, Other Voices makes a highly-anticipated debut in London.

Taking place between this Friday (April 5) and Sunday (7), the line-up is made up of intimate shows and spoken word events. Laura Marling and Villagers are among the bigger names who will perform.

Excitement will be palpable at the thought of seeing Conor J. O’Brien play tracks from his band’s latest album {Awayland}. And the dreamy and intimate setting of Wilton’s Grade II-listed Music Hall, where the music is hosted, should chime well with Laura Marling, whose folk is as quintessentially English as a summer’s game of cricket with a tea break for scones and jam.

Marling’s new record, Once I Was An Eagle, is out in May and the chance to sample a taster of her new material makes this is a must-see show. Dubliner Imelda May also returns to Other Voices, bringing her ’50s style and contemporary jazz and rockabilly sounds.

SOAK, a singer-songwriter from Derry, along with Laura Mvula — a classically trained musician — will ensure the bill is bang up to date with fresh talent drawn from the acoustic scene. Live show streams will play out across the capital from Wilton’s Hall as — like Dingle’s church — there isn’t too much room and demand is certain to outstrip supply.

Meanwhile The Banter Salon, to those not in the loop of all things Dingle, is a cultural zone hosting a variety of discussions and conversations which was launched at the Kerry festival last year. Hosted by Irish Times journalist Jim Caroll, talks include a lecture on Bowie delivered by critic Paul Morley; a discussion on the art of photography; and a performance from Irish fiddle player Caomhin O Raghallaigh. These are just some of the attractions at the Banter Salon, which takes place upstairs at the Zeppelin Centre on Leman Street.

The events are free and take place on Saturday and Sunday. Do we have to tell you to arrive in plenty of time to get a seat at these?

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