Arts Column with Conor Malone 16.06.16

Music, music and more great music to look forward to this summer!

Music, music and more great music to look forward to this summer!

The Lost Brothers perform at The Balor on Thursday, June 21 as part of the Earagail Arts Festival

This Week's Highlights

Tonight seems to be the night for local performing arts academies to showcase their talents: the Strabane Arts Academy Variety Show is at The Alley in Strabane while On Cue Performing Arts Academy present Musically On Cue at An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny. Also tonight, junior infant students from St Mary’s National School, Stranorlar perform What The Ladybird Heard at The Balor, Ballybofey and comedy Handbag Positive plays The Millennium Forum in Derry,

Staying with The Forum, popular Johnny Cash tribute show Cash Returns is there on Friday. Saturday sees the first of Original Sinners, a new monthly original music night at The Alley in Strabane.

Lisa Hannigan plays The Balor, Ballybofey on Sunday while comedian Russell Kane is at The Alley in Strabane.

Danny Carno’s Mathematical Mysteries is an educational and entertaining mix of maths, theatre and digital technology: that’s on in The Millennium Forum, Derry on Tuesday morning. And rounding off the week is comic hypnotist Adrian Knight who brings his You’re Back On The Stage show to The Forum on Wednesday.

Lisa Hannigan

It’s one of the biggest gigs of the summer here in The Balor this Sunday as chart topper and bona fide Irish music star Lisa Hannigan returns to Ballybofey.

This will be her fourth visit: she first played here as far back as July 2008 prior to the release of her debut solo album Sea Sew. And what an album it was. It went double platinum and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize in Ireland as well as the Mercury Prize in the UK. On the back of its success, Lisa played bewitching guest spots on the likes of Later...with Jools Holland, The Late Late Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Colbert Report.

Lisa’s follow-up album Passenger went straight in at No. 1 in its first week of release and earned her another Choice Music Prize nomination.

There’s a new album in the works due for release round about September, so fans of Lisa can look forward to the airing of some new material as well as the catalogue of favourites from the previous two albums. Really looking forward to this one: Lisa’s gigs are always one of the years musical highlights.

Lisa Hannigan plays The Balor, Ballybofey this Sunday June 19 at 8pm. Support comes from highly rated Dublin outfit Ye Vagabonds. Tickets are €22 from 0749131840 or At the time of writing, there’s a few left but not many, so get on the phone or online quick smart.

Original Sinners

Original Sinners is the name of a new monthly original music night that will take place over the summer in the confines of the café bar at The Alley Theatre in Strabane.

There’s an abundance of creative musical talent around the NorthWest and it’s hoped that this will provide a showcase for original musicians and maybe act as a springboard towards bigger things. It’s not genre-specific – all types of music are welcome. The one requirement is that it must all be original. Hosted by Ciaran Gallen, the first Original Sinners night is this Saturday, June 18. Subsequent dates are programmed for July 2 and August 6, with proceedings kicking off at 8pm each night. Admission £5.

If you’re a performer of original music and are interested in taking part in one of the future Original Sinners nights, contact Nicola Bonner on 048 71384760 or

Earagail Festival Music

The 2016 Earagail Arts Festival is just around the corner.

The official festival launch took place a couple of weeks ago and tickets are on sale for all festival events at 0749120777 and

This week we’ll take a look at the music on offer. There’s a couple of mini festivals within the festival with the Earagail Arts Festival curated Mountain Stage at Arramore Islands Swell Festival July 9-10 and the Donegal International Folk & Roots Weekendin Letterkenny from the July 14-17.

Donal Dineen headlines the Mountain Stage on Saturday, July 9. Headlining on the Sunday is Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, a dirty, grungy, foot-stompin’ country blues band from Brown County, Indiana, USA.

Included in the line-up for the Donegal International Folk & Roots Weekend are Haitian roots band Chouk Bwa Libete, Andy Irvine & Chris Wood and Richard Dawson.

All fine acts but the standout for me has to be Dublin four piece trad folk outfit Lynched who combine four part harmonies with arrangements of uileann pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar

They’re very much the coming young tyros of the Irish folk scene right now. On the same bill are English folk band Stick In the Wheel and only €15 admission for these two (Friday June 15th) is a bargain.

Outside of these two mini-festivals th two other gigs that stand out for me are The Lost Brothers (Balor, Ballybofey Thursday, June 21) are one of the current darlings of the Irish music scene. You can hear theinfulences of Van Morrison and Paul McCartney in their timeless crafted melodies and compelling lyrics. With four highly acclaimed albums under their belt, they’ve been championed by the likes of Richard Hawley and Glen Hansard and have appeared on the Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble and the BBC Electric Proms.

The following night, Friday 22nd, sees The Henry Girls play a home gig on the village green in Malin.

The three McLaughlin sisters are phenomenally popular and happily disprove the notion of a prophet never being accepted in his home town, as their delicious harmonies and soulful yet folky melodies are equally appreciated at home and abroad.

There’s loads more besides so be on the lookout for the EAF2016 brochure or log on to

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