Have you ever wondered if Narnia is a real place when you were younger? Tried to open your closet door and sneak into that magical world while your parents were asleep and come back in time for breakfast in the morning? Other Voices is exactly that magical place. Full of music, joy and laughter even with storm Desmond casting a damp spell over the village.
A long drive was had by many traveling down to Dingle over the weekend. Traversing through the difficult weather all to reach this magical village of music. Whether it was the crowds huddled around televisions clapping at a stream of St. James' Church, the welcoming feeling you got as soon as you stepped inside any door or the community of music lovers that all came together as one in order to experience an event like no other, Other Voices in Dingle is a place that I will never forget.
I arrived to a village that was wet and windy with storm Desmond throwing me around wherever it wanted. My first port of call was Curren's Pub on the Main Street. Inside was a small alleyway of a bar that was soon to be filled with people brave enough to face the storm and catch the music of Donegal's Chanele McGuinness. Although battling a cold Chanele captivated the audience throughout, bar that one village drunk who insisted on making his mind known. McGuinness delivered a near flawless performance that proves why she is one of the brightest talents in Ireland at the minute. As one member of the audience said to me, "Anyone who can make a big Boss hit like "Dancing in the dark" her own....Talent!!!"
My next stop was Johnnie Foxes across the street from Curren's. At the back of the pub was a crowd clapping to some music so I went to investigate who was playing. It turned out that there was no act playing in this bar. People were gathered together in order to watch the stream of the artists playing in St. James' Church across the street. It is not very often it feels right to clap after watching a performance on the television, but for some reason when Jack Garrat finished each song, along with a feeling of awe was a desire to clap at the screen. Jack Garrat had the people around me amazed at his ability to perform as a one man band, cementing the idea that he is worthy of the award of Critic's Choice at the Brit Awards.
I decided to stick around in Johnnie Foxes and watch Lapsley, who seemed to be enjoying her experience at the home of Fungie when I ran into her later that night in 'An Chonair and Shakey Graves who I hadn't heard before but loved after watching his set from the church at the back of the now cramped pub.
The night ended in a completely different fashion than it started with Hare Squead and Rusangano Family providing a dash of hip hop in a tent at the back of An Chonair. As soon as Hare Squead walked onto the stage and started telling the crowd to give it up for everything and anything that they laid their eyes on you could feel the energy in the room elevate. This was a set not to miss with cries of "Then we started making love in the bathroom", one of the lyrics to their songs, being heard all throughout the night when the music finally dried out. Rusangano Family ended the music in An Chonair on the Friday night providing even more energy to a now full tent filled with grooving bodies.
The music did not end there though! Rumors started flying about a break out of sing-song in one of the hotels. This turned out to be none other than Glen Hansard who at one point stood on top of a piano with a random member of the lucky few who caught this performance, belting out "The Auld Triangle".
It is these kinds of events that make Other Voices a special place where music and song are the reason for a gathering of people who are all joined in one goal, to enjoy a weekend of musical discovery.
Stay tuned to The OB Blog for the rest of our looking back feature on Other Voices as well as some exclusive videos and sessions from my weekend in Dingle.
~ All photos by Ciaran O'Brien