ARTS & PARTS: The Henry Girls and Jack L are among the musical treats in Donegal in February

The Henry Girls

The Henry Girls and band will perform a set of Boswell Sisters music at An Grianán Theatre on Friday, February 7

Jack L, with special guest Shauna McDaid 

Great news that Shauna McDaid, the impressive local singer-songwriter, will join Jack L for his show in An Grianán Theatre on Saturday, February 1. Jack Lukeman is a singer-songwriter, performer, raconteur and a whole lot more besides. He is a platinum-selling, critically acclaimed artist who continues to win a worldwide fan base with his unique multi-octave voice. Jack has toured as a special guest with artists such as Sting, Imelda May, Jools Holland and The Proclaimers. This show will draw material from his back catalogue of albums including Metropolis Blue, Magic Days, Northern Lights, the 27 Club.

In Limbo

Kristyn Fontanella Dance perform In Limbo at An Grianán Theatre on Monday, February 3 at 8pm. Kristyn Fontanella has established herself as a leading choreographer in the development of Irish step dance and continues to evolve an instantly recognisable style which focuses on exploring her vast knowledge of Irish Step dancing within a contemporary context. Her mission is to show another side of the complex world of Irish Step dancing to future generations of Irish step dancers. This is a specialised niche genre in which few artists are working currently. She wants her work to be a new way of thinking about Irish Step dancing and for the audience to find the familiar of the old within the new.

The Henry Girls 

The Henry Girls and band will perform a set of Boswell Sisters music at An Grianán Theatre on Friday, February 7. This ten-piece ensemble includes a brass and reed section, drums, double bass, guitar, piano and of course close three-part harmonies. Expect to hear popular songs from the 1920’s & 1930’s (Heebie Jeebies, St. Louis Blues, Mood Indigo) as well as some rarities. The Boswell Sisters were a vocal jazz trio who broke boundaries with their intricate harmonies and rhythmic experimentation. 

They got the nickname ‘syncopating harmonists from New Orleans’ and made music that was steeped in jazz, blues, Dixieland, ragtime and gospel. They moved to New York in 1931 and made recordings for Brunswick Records with the top jazz musicians around at the time including Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Eddie Lang (guitar), Bunny Berrigan, Manny Klein (trumpet), Stan King (drums).

St Brigid's cross making

There are two chances, that I know of, for people to make St Brigid's Crosses this year. Both are on this Friday, January 31. The first is at 5pm in The courtyard Shopping Centre and the second is at Dillon’s Hotel at 6.30pm. Every year people come together on St. Brigid's eve creating Brigid’s crosses and celebrating the many special traditions connected to the saint and goddess. Legend tells us Brigid converted a dying Pagan. To explain the new faith to him, she improvised making a cross from rushes which was all that was available to her in the location. So in keeping with tradition they’ll have rushes for you to make your traditional crosses. Whether it’s for yourself or a special gift to give to neighbours and friends, this long-standing tradition of hanging a St Brigid’s cross above your door will extend a warm welcome to visitors and protecting their homes/buildings and families for the year ahead.

Balor events 

Two shows of note in The Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey this week. Well-travelled American troubadour Jeffrey Foucault plays on Thursday, January 30 followed by Paddy Cullivan’s fascinatingly entertaining 10 Dark Secrets Of The Irish Revolution on Saturday, February 1.

In over two decades on the road, Jeffrey Foucault has become one of the most distinctive voices in American music with a sound instantly recognizable for its simplicity and its emotional power. He visits The Balor, Ballybofey next Thursday in the company of Ry Cavanaugh who is well known to Donegal audiences.

Storyteller, comedian, musician and part-time historian Paddy Cullivan brings his fascinating and entertaining show 10 Dark Secrets Of The Irish Revolution to The Balor on Saturday, February 1.  Using satire, imagery, historical insight and song, Paddy reveals the 10 strangest things (and Darkest Secrets) that happened during our Rising, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (Civil War). He also draws parallels with those events’ effects on modern Ireland and how we treat the revolution culturally. Tickets for each show are €15 and are available from The Balor Box Office on 0749131840 or online at

John Spillane

John Spillane plays at Fanavolty Community Hall in Donegal this Friday, January 31 at 8pm.

Tickets €15, available on the door. Singing some of his songs from his upcoming album 100 Snow White Horses as well as the classics from the hit factory. John Spillane is a musician, songwriter, performer, recording artist, storyteller, poet, dreamer – a canvass filled with colour and brilliance.

An Evening with Cape Breton’s Andrea Beaton

Something a bit different in Crolly. This Friday at 9pm in Leo’s Tavern, Crolly there’s music from Cape Breton musician Andrea Beaton, admission is free and all are welcome. 

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