Wednesday 30th January sees the return of Imagining Ireland to the Barbican. Imagining Ireland exists to expose the hidden gems of Irish talent to a UK audience and to deepen the audience’s understanding of what it means to be Irish today.
Their first show, which premiered at the Barbican in March last year, was rich in alt-folk acts, with Paul Noonan (of Bell X1 fame), Lisa Hannigan and Saint Sister heading up the bill. This year’s show seems like it will take a much more raw and traditional edge, thanks to a quartet headed up by Martin Hayes (The Gloaming), featuring Iarla O’Lionaird and Radie Peat of Lankum. Anyone who is familiar with the distinctive voice of Radie Peat will be quick to snap up a ticket; her band Lankum have been enjoying well-deserved success of late, with no small thanks to Radie’s incredible vocals and of course her use of drones.
You can also look forward to performances from singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill, a fantastic vocalist with beautifully raw vocals, as well as pop band whenyoung, and alt/indie singer Michael J Sheehy (Dream City Film Club).
This year will have a distinct literary flair, with many writers set to take part in the night, including Eimear McBride, poet Martina Evans, writers Timothy O’Grady (author of I Could Read The Sky), Joseph O’Connor (Star of The Sea) and Melatu Uche Okorie (This Hostel Life), actor Stephen Rea and documentarian Fergal Keane (The Story of Ireland) will also be there. The use of poetry in the last Imagining Ireland worked incredibly well, so I’m excited to see what they do next week.