Tag: #CultureLpl

Gradam Ceoil TG4 at LIF

Last year TG4 joined us as a sponsor. We had so much fun with them that this year we decided to amp up the work and collaborate on two specific music events: Visible Women and Gradam Ceoil (Music Awards), both taking place at the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room. Showcasing some of the most outstanding talent Ireland has to offer, TG4 are becoming known for their visionary approach to Irish language broadcasting, inclusion and accessibility. This assists not only with storytelling and talent development, but also keeping communities linked and connected with home. Below, TG4 tell us more about Gradam Ceoil and what it means to them …

TG4 are excited to work with #LIF2019 and specifically to present a very special concert (full details below) with some of the world’s most accomplished Irish traditional musicians, Conor Connolly, Clare Friel and Liam O’Brien, who have each been awarded the Young Musician of the Year award at Gradam Ceoil TG4 in 2019, 2018 & 2017 respectively. 

Gradam Ceoil TG4 is the premier annual traditional Irish music awards scheme and academy. An independent panel of adjudicators selects recipients each year. Known as the ‘Oscars of Traditional Music’, national Irish language broadcaster TG4’s Gradam Ceoil awards are broadcast annually, with a live concert and ceremony, shining a spotlight on the crème-de-la-crème of traditional music and song, featuring musicians being recognised by their peers, with awards for their talent and contribution to traditional Irish music.

This special concert in conjunction with the Liverpool Irish Festival will bring a taste of Gradam Ceoil TG4 to Liverpool, showcasing three of the most exciting musical talents to come out of Ireland in recent years.

Conor Connolly hails from South Co. Galway. One of the most traditional and solid accordion players of his generation, he is an inspiration to many. An accordion player and singer, his music and song is rooted in his home county, with some of his main influences being Joe Cooley, Charlie Harris, P.J. Conlon and Tony Mac Mahon. His playing is full of heart and soul, with a great understanding and respect for the tradition and the players he learned from. Having played with some of the most renowned traditional musicians we have today, he is well respected by them and highly regarded amongst his peers. H ewon Young Traditional Musician of the Year, 2019.

Doireann Ní Ghlacáin hails from Dublin and is currently undergoing a PHD in Irish at NUIG.  Her thesis is based on the sean nós songs of the Muskerry Gaeltacht, many of which were reintroduced into the modern tradition by her maternal grandfather, Seán Ó’Riada. Although an accomplished sean nós singer, having won many prestigious awards such as that of Oireachtas na Gaeilge, Glackin is better known for her fiddle playing.  She learnt the fiddle from her father Kevin Glackin and has gone on to bring her music to the world stage in recent years.  She has also performed on major traditional music broadcasts such as HUP, Béaloideas Beo and -of note- Tradfest TG4 a series, which she also presents.

Liam O’Brien is from Miltown Malbay. He was brought up in a very musical family. After starting on the tin whistle he went on to take up the concertina and attended classes with Noel Hill for many years. Liam then went on to study Irish Music & Dance in the University of Limerick. He has now travelled the world playing and teaching. He has been all across Europe, Africa and spent the summer of 2012 touring Japan. Liam also teaches concertina and banjo as part of the Brid O’Donohue School of Music where his popularity grows and grows. He won TG4 Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2016.

As well as this outstanding concert, the three artists will share their talent with a pool of budding musicians in a set of free masterclasses, hosted as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival. Each will provide a bespoke workshop in fiddle, accordion and concertina, giving a select number of participants an opportunity to hone their skills under the guidance of these top class performers. Numbers are limited. To apply please email [email protected] quoting ‘TG4Masterclass’, providing your name, chosen session, skill level and key objective for the session.

If you are interested in attending the annual Gradam Ceoil TG4 awards, they will be presented at a live-televised gala concert at The Waterfront (Belfast) in Feb 2020, 9.00pm. You can make a full weekend of it, too, as a dedicated Gradam Fringe Festival brings Belfast alive in song, with a host of free music events and workshops taking place in various locations across the city. This event is not to be missed if Irish traditional music is your thing!

For more information, or to watch previous Gradam Ceoil TG4 awards ceremonies, go to www.gradam.ie and or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @GradamCeoil #GRADAM

Tickets for the Gradam Ceoil TG4 at Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room on Tues 22 Oct are available from the venue direct liverpoolphil.com

We have a full programme of Gradam Ceoil TG4 events …

TG4’s Gradam Ceoil: An Irish Trad Night 22 Oct, 8pm-10pm, Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room. Doors 7.30pm

Gradam Ceoil masterclass: accordion 23 Oct, 12-1.30pm, Liverpool Philharmonic Dining Rooms

Gradam Ceoil masterclass: fiddle, 23 Oct, 1.30-3.00, Liverpool Philharmonic Dining Rooms

Gradam Ceoil masterclass: concertina, 23 Oct, 3-4.30pm, Liverpool Philharmonic Dining Rooms

A Day in the Life of the Liverpool Irish Centre

Each year the Liverpool Irish Festival takes work to the Liverpool Irish Centre; which we believe should be the spiritual home Liverpool’s Irish community. They are –and have always been- a significant partner of the Festival, providing a valuable social and civic centre and making people welcome year-round. We know the Centre runs a number of projects, sports occasions and festivities and so asked one of the Centre’s managers to give us a day in the life. Richie Billinge does just that…

Promoting Irish culture and providing a place for people to maintain a connection to Ireland is our founding motive. Throughout the week here you’ll find Irish music, dance and language lessons; social groups and those dedicated to improving health and wellbeing, whilst at the weekends we provide a warm and welcoming place to celebrate some of the things we love best: live music, sport and plenty of craic. 

Monday evenings are dedicated to traditional Irish music, with the brilliant people of Comhaltas hosting lessons for youngsters on instruments ranging from the bodhrán to the harp. It’s a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere, not only giving children the opportunity to learn an instrument, but to forge lasting friendships. 

The same goes for our weekly dance classes run by the Bolger-Cunningham School of Irish Dance, who not only develop children’s Irish dancing abilities, but assist them as individuals, building confidence and providing a place to meet and make new friends; giving them opportunities to take their dancing out to the wider world for special performances in Liverpool, Ireland and beyond.

One of our strongest connections to home is the Gaelic language. Each Thursday evening you’ll find enthusiastic groups of all ages and backgrounds studying Gaelic to maintain this critical link. Here at the Liverpool Irish Centre, we encourage it as much as possible with our Gaelic signage, and -hopefully in the months ahead- our new Gaelic Garden. Visitors are minded not to walk into the Fir (gents) if they mean to go to the Mná (ladies)! 

It was the older generations that migrated in the 1950s and 60s to Liverpool who struggled against great adversity to establish the Liverpool Irish Centre in Mount Pleasant, and although we may be in a different building, you can find these stalwarts of the community here each week on Wednesdays and Thursdays for lunch clubs and afternoon tea dances. 

This idea of community is the basis behind everything we do. Maintaining these social connections is very important for our society and for our community’s well-being. For a lot of people, we are their sole connection to home and we try to make it as genuine and special as possible with the likes of our Irish shop, selling goods and fresh produce imported from Ireland; bringing over their favourite singers, bands and acts -from The Whistlin’ Donkeys, Dervish, The Wolfe Tones and Sharon Shannon- and showing live GAA matches; sports that have a magical way of bringing Irish people together. 

Our Sláinte Le Chéile (Health Together) project sees four regular events each week all designed to help boost our community’s mental and physical health and well-being. On Mondays, we have our health walk (and talk!) which involves a leisurely stroll around the lovely Newsham Park and then back here to the Centre for a well-earned cup of tea. On Tuesdays, our Cuimhne/Memories group -for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s- meet up to listen to their favourite Irish songs, share stories of old, and enjoy lots of treats from home—Irish soups, biscuits and cake, to name but a few. Wednesdays are dedicated to our community garden which has been transformed by our hard-working volunteers from a forgotten wasteland into a beautiful environment, now home to a growing number of flowers, birds and insects. 

*But* not only do we serve the Irish community, but the entire community of Merseyside and beyond. One morning we’ll have scores of young and enthusiastic children learning how to Irish dance, and in the afternoon we’ll play host to a cultural celebration from Sri Lanka, Nepal or the Philippines. Just as the thousands of Irish migrants to the city needed a place to meet and continue their strong connections with home, we offer the same to our diverse community of Nepalese, Tamils, Poles, Keralans, Filipinos and many more. We’re proud to be able to help these groups keep their community links burning bright, just as the Irish needed in the 1950s and 60s when they made the trip across the Irish Sea. 

We’re never satisfied with the services that we offer. There’s always more to be done and this drives us to keep on looking for ways to serve the needs of our ever-growing and diverse community. It’s said that over three-quarters of those who live in Liverpool have roots in Ireland. If you’d like to find out more about your past we’d be delighted to help you out. 

If you’re looking to get involved, either as a volunteer or participant or would simply like to come down and enjoy some live music and a cracking pint of Guinness™, then please get in touch! You can find us at liverpoolirishcentre.org, give us a call on +44 (0)151 263 1808 or email us [email protected].

Tá súil againn tú a fheiceáil go luath! We hope to see you soon!

Eithne Browne tree-huggging at Sefton Park Palm House (c) Naomi McAllister

Join us for Quirky Cabaret: Celtic Crossings

To mark her unveiling as the new Liverpool Irish Festival patron, Liverpool Irish Actor, Eithne Browne launches Quirky Cabaret: Celtic Crossings, a night of music, song and laughter. 

Celebrating her paternal Irish connection -with songs and stories inspired by Ireland- Quirky Cabaret will take place at Sefton Park Palm House on Sun 18 Aug at 7pm (doors 6.30pm). With a number of guests, handpicked by Eithne (including Clare and Margaret Bowles alongside poet Ciarán Hodgers) the special cabaret is raising money to help subsidise this year’s Liverpool Irish Festival, which tries to keep much of its programme free to enter. Tickets are available to buy here

Held annually, the Festival is a registered charity and the UK’s largest arts and culture led festival of multidisciplinary Irish focused work. It returns in 2019 from 17-27 October, with a new theme: unique stories, creatively told.

Liverpool actor Eithne Browne was raised in Huyton. Her father was Irish and a mariner. Her first stage role was in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers at Liverpool’s Playhouse. Since then her credits have included Take Three Girls, Shirley Valentine, Wuthering Heights and The Vagina Monologues, through to television work in Brookside, Cold Feet and Emmerdale

Emma Smith, Director of Liverpool Irish Festival, says

“We are delighted to welcome Eithne as a patron to the Festival. As a festival we celebrate Liverpool Irish identity through art and culture and no one embodies this better than Eithne. Who else can tell their Liverpool Irish story better than a renowned raconteur and performer? Eithne’s Quirky Cabaret promises to be filled with performance, music, song and laughter – the perfect vehicle for Eithne to tell her story, her way”. 

Eithne Browne says, 

“When I was first approached to become a patron for the Liverpool Irish Festival I was quite shocked… Had there been a mistake? Had they got the right Eithne?

Upon being told that “yes”, it was me, I felt quite emotional. What an honour to be asked, but also, how I wished my father was still here to stand beside me. I hope to do his memory justice and also support a festival that brings us all together..  We have a way with words and songs and music.. We are celebrating our history and creating our future.”

Liverpool Irish Festival returns 17-27 October. Full details to be announced in Aug/Sept 2019.

Quirky Cabaret: Celtic Crossing is at Sefton Park Palm House on Sun 18 Aug 2019 at 7pm. Tickets are £12-£14 and can be purchased through Ticket Quarter here 


Deborah Frances-White and The Guilty Feminist

Liverpool Irish Festival 2018: celebrating the breadth of Irish culture

Liverpool’s cultural ties with Ireland come to the fore once again as the Liverpool Irish Festival returns, this year with special performances by The Guilty Feminist (in a dedicated festival podcast) and Kíla. We also celebrate a new partnership with Liverpool Literary Festival, the return of the Celtic Animation Film Festival and IndieCork and a new play by Lizzie Nunnery.

Taking place 18-28 Oct 2018 in venues across Liverpool, including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, FACT, Liverpool Philharmonic, St George’s Hall, the Florrie and the Victoria and Gallery Museum, the programme, curated by Festival Director Emma Smith and partners, explores the theme of ‘migration’. Artists, performers, musicians, writers and filmmakers explore the relationship between cultural identity and place and how Irish identity, in particular, is changing globally, affecting how we understand ‘Irishness’ in the 21st century.

The hugely successful podcast (30m+ downloads), The Guilty Feminist, comes to Liverpool Irish Festival as part of its In:Visible Women programme and for its first visit to the city. Comedian Deborah Frances-White records a live podcast in front of an audience at Liverpool Playhouse, discussing 21st century feminism and the paradoxes and insecurities which undermines it.

One of Ireland’s greatest music acts, Kíla, come to Liverpool Arts Club for a tub-thumping, rip-roaring, freewheeling jig of a gig. Supported by Bill Booth, Kíla’s eight members come from different musical backgrounds, including trad, classical and rock, which blend into the bands furiously energetic sound. It bristles with energy and passion and will be an unforgettable night.

At the Everyman Theatre, Lizzie Nunnery presents her new play with songs, To Have to Shoot Irishmen, exploring the events around the death of Francis Sheehy Skeffington during the Easter Rising in Dublin, 1916. Directed by Gemma Kerr (Hitting Town, Southwark Playhouse) and produced by Lizzie Nunnery’s Almanac Arts, the play runs for three nights (25-27 Oct).

For the first time, Liverpool Irish Festival unites with Liverpool Literary Festival, celebrating the writers, both emerging and established, who continue Ireland’s rich literary heritage. Events include Eamonn Hughes’ fascinating exploration and reflection on his work with Van Morrison, navigating the songwriter’s representation of Belfast. This is a joint event with The Institute of Irish Studies.  

At one of Liverpool’s newest venues, OUTPUT Gallery, an artist will create a new work responding to the successful repeal of the Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s Constitution, granting new body autonomy in Ireland. The exhibition will run for the duration of the festival part of the In:Visible Women strand. 

In:Visible Women collage workshop, #LIF2017, Liverpool Blackwell's (c) E Smith c/o LIF

Exhibition call for work about Ireland’s Eighth Amendment

Call to artists for work responding to Ireland’s Repeal the Eighth movement and historic referendum vote, leading to 2018 exhibition at OUTPUT gallery.

Liverpool Irish Festival (LIF) and OUTPUT gallery have partnered this year to commission an artist to respond to the successful repeal of The 8th Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which now allows the government to legislate for abortion and grants new body autonomy to people in Ireland.

We are inviting exhibition applications from Liverpool, Liverpool Irish, and Irish creatives born or based in Merseyside working in the visual arts, performance, film or any other media. With such a powerful subject at the heart of the exhibition, applicants might choose to make work about the historical consequences of the 8th Amendment, its emotional impact, empowerment, agency, or the cultural shift the repeal marks.

The exhibition will run 18-28 October 2018, the entirety of this year’s LIF, which is the largest and most diverse showcase of contemporary and traditional Irish arts and culture in the UK. The selected artist will receive £300 and OUTPUT gallery will cover the technical production of the exhibition, which will be promoted by LIF.

To apply, please send your idea for the exhibition, details, and any images of previous work to [email protected]. This open call will close midnight of Fri 31 Aug 2018. OUTPUT gallery will be wheelchair accessible but the bathrooms are not. Please get in touch if you have any questions relating to the brief or any access requirements.

Terms and Conditions

Please be aware Creative Call – Ts and Cs, which we – LIF and OUTPUT gallery – will use to help determine our selection. Please read these before submitting your response to this call. If you submit an edxhibition proposal, we will presume you have read and accept these terms and conditions.

Additional information

More details about OUTPUT gallery can be found at www.thekazimier.co.uk/output or on social media using the handle: @outputgallery
'To Have to Shoot Irishmen' lead image (detail only) (c) Andy Donovan

Lizzie Nunnery: A decade of creative friendship

To Have to Shoot Irishmen, a play written by Lizzie Nunnery -and produced by her company Almanac Arts– will feature as part of #LIF2018.

It will be the fourth siginificant piece of Lizzie’s work that LIF has shown in 10 years. So where did it all begin, where might it go and what has changed? We asked Lizzie (LN) to reflect on her friendship with us and what she thought about it all…

Over to Lizzie:

Over the past decade, Liverpool Irish Festival has been a good friend to me. An inspiring and supportive friend… but also a challenging one… The kind of friend that walks you to the edge of a cliff and says ‘jump’, but then gently reminds you that you’re wearing a parachute.

In 2008, the year of Capital of Culture, I was an enthusiastic and wide-eyed playwright and songwriter, fresh from my first production at the Liverpool Everyman. The play was called Intemperance, about an impoverished Liverpool Irish family and set in 1854 and had drawn the attention of then Festival Manager, Jake Roney. He met me in the charming noise of the old Everyman Bistro. With characteristic directness he asked me if I’d like to be Artistic Director of a multi-disciplinary arts event in the Concert Room at St Georges Hall.

I’d never been Artistic Director of anything in my life, but that didn’t seem to bother him. He wanted me to curate a night of dance, drama and live music about the links between Liverpool’s black and Irish community. His working title – taken from signs that used to hang outside pubs and boarding houses as late at the 1960s – was No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish. I was probably a little bit flattered, and a little bit naive, but mostly I was excited by the possibilities. So, over a couple of pints of Guinness(TM), the deal was struck.

What followed was a very intense few months – on a punishing learning curve – bringing together a group of ground breaking artists from disparate backgrounds; creating conditions for them to collaborate, shaping a night that would hit the audience in the head and the heart. So many moments from the night still burn in my mind. It wasn’t slick and it wasn’t polished, but it was full of feeling and ideas. Liverpool singer songwriter Ogo slayed the crowd with a rendition of a heartbreaking original song. Actress Ashing Leyne delivered a fierce performance of a new short play about the racist murder of black sailor Charles Wootton in Liverpool in 1919. Dancers Ithalia Forel and Maria Malone from Movema UK combined traditional Brazilian and Irish dance into a new piece of choreography performed to a soundtrack of percussion and spoken word. It was astounding how eclectic and yet cohesive it all felt. I remember sitting in the audience feeling breathless as I watched the dance piece. When the dancers stopped moving the room kept on spinning around them. So much felt suddenly possible as an artist in Liverpool in 2008 and Liverpool Irish Festival had truly invited me to the party.

Lizzie Nunnery, Zanzibar (c) Keith Ainsworth
Lizzie Nunnery at the Zanzibar (c) Keith Ainsworth

My friendship with the festival stayed strong over the years as an audience member. Each year I’d particularly look forward to the pub sessions and intimate unusual folk gigs. I loved how the festival reached in to the back snugs and social centres of the city as well as setting up camp in the shiny big spaces like FACT or the Philharmonic Hall.

Speaking of which… in 2010 came the second time LIF set me a frightening and wonderful challenge. The Irish Sea Sessions – thought up by then Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Hall, Simon Glinn, was part loose and lively session, part large scale gig. His plan was to bring together a big group of folk artists from both sides of the Irish sea; fifteen singers, guitarists, percussionists, pipe players, songwriters… All were to collaborate in a celebration of their shared musical culture and create a great big smasher of a gig. That I was one of those fifteen came as something of a shock. It was the kind of email I had to read and re-read. The list of other performers was formidable. Not only were there world-renowned players amongst them, but also the phenomenal ballad singer Niamh Parsons and Damien Dempsey, whose debut album I’d dissected endlessly through headphones as a student.

And I was going to rehearse with them; swap tunes with them; stand amongst them. No space for shyness. There was nothing for it but to step up to the challenge. It was one of the most tiring, exhilarating and educational weeks of my working life. By the end of it I was standing on stage at The Phil, leading a rendition of The Leaving of Liverpool, feeling as though I was flying; perhaps flying by the seat of my pants, but flying all the same. In a nice link, the original solo song I chose to perform was England Loves a Poor Boy, written for that St Georges Hall show back in 2008. When in 2012, I was asked to perform in the Irish Sea Sessions for a 2nd time there was a lovely sense of coming home; being welcomed back in.

And now in 2018 I stand poised to take another leap, with LIF there once again giving me that vital nudge. Having worked on my play with songs To Have to Shoot Irishmen for around a decade, it will be produced by Almanac Arts in association with LIF this autumn. The show opens in London (2 Oct) before coming to the Liverpool Everyman (26-27 Oct), just in time to join the fun of the festival.

Inspired by the true murder of Irish pacifist Francis Sheehy Skeffington by a British soldier during the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, the new play explores fractured national identity and the chaotic legacy of British military intervention. It’s a story that bridges the Irish Sea. It’s a show that draws together song, drama, storytelling; that asks important questions and doesn’t flinch. What better home for it than Liverpool Irish Festival?

'To Have to Shoot Irishmen' lead image (detail only) (c) Andy Donovan
‘To Have to Shoot Irishmen’ lead image (detail only) (c) Andy Donovan

For more on the play, click here.

almanacarts.wordpress.com  |  nunnerynorheim.com

Tour dates and ticket links

Sue Rynhart singing on board La Malouine with Skipper Roy Kerr and technician from Adlib

La Malouine – an ode sung with real Rynhart

This a migration story about Sue Rynhart’s song La Malouine; written by an Irish women, about a French ship for a Liverpool performance on the #LIF2018 Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta Ship Stage…

Played on a beatifully hot day on the Mersey, aboard it’s namesake La Malouine, this song takes you on voice of sirens to oceans far away!


You can hear La Malouine here.

Lyrics: La Malouine

Summer young blows her along
A ship at sea
A dreamer flying free.

Tears of time, she sings her song;
“Hold us tight draw us away”
Tide is pulling
Ocean spray.

She’s every colour, she’s everything, she will make the water sing.
She’s every colour, she’s everything, she will make the water sing.

A distant light to Evensong
Ink blue mysteries grow long.
Starboard leaning
Swell and sway.
With the wind and sea she’ll stay.

Mother, Daughter, Ship is Queen.
Hold her tight and pull her in
On board La Malouine.

Who is she?
To the sea?
La Malouine.

Lyrics and music (c) Sue Rynhart, 2018. The song was recorded at Arad Studios in Dublin by Les Keye, with Charlie Moon on guitar and Sue Rynhart on vocals. Charlie also accompanied Sue at the Liverpool live performance as part of the Three Festivals event.

Sue Rynhart (SR) has been in Liverpool before. Her friend Ailís Ní Ríain suggested Sue contact the Liverpool Irish Festival (LIF), following her own appearance in 2016. From this point a fascination with the city and its connections has developed.

This is both a complex and a simple story; based on migrating ideas, developing long-distance friendships and creative trust; explorations in to the past and translations in to today. It is layered – as all relationships are – with varied meanings, snatched ideas and conversations, but this one has a creative flow that crosses the seas.

At it’s simplest it is about taking an opportunity and making it work.

Sue is known for her music. She has often written about water; about women and the female relationship with the world. With an elfin gait and a wide eyed charm Sue may look something approaching fragile, but she is spry and keen, strong and flexible. Lauded for her “songs that sound at once ancient and modern, with echoes of folk and early music, contemporary jazz and the avant garde, recalling Theo Bleckmann, Bjork and a hint of Joni Mitchell” (The Irish Times ****). She is cited as a “Beautiful vocalist…[with] wonderful composition” (BBC). “Sue’s atmospheric lyrics would all – I suspect – make fantastic reading as poetry even outside of their prime, intended musical context….She communicates her artistic vision in her songs with precision and immediacy, combining grace and energy while deliberately placing her voice within the context of sparsely scored, emotion-baring musical settings” (Folk Radio UK)… and for all of these reasons and more, we have wanted her to come back and work with us, ever since we met her in 2017.

Sue Rynhart set list
Sue Rynhart set list


When Sue first contacted us, we were (ashamedly) not aware of her slick, witty, charming music and disarming, kooky, ethereal sound. It didn’t take long to have us hooked. Tooing and froing about where we could place her in the programme and how to organise it all at the last minute – just weeks ahead of the festival launch – it soon became very obvious that Sue had to be part of our Visible Women showcase at the Liverpool Philharmonic. She – and double bassist, Dan Bodwell – held the audience, captivated. We stayed in touch.

Sue sent us a copy of her album Signals, a follow on from her album Crossings. We stayed in touch. We talked about how both albums linked to water and migration, our theme for 2018.

New contexts

We – Liverpool Irish Festival – were commissioned to find and platform work for the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta on behalf of Culture Liverpool/Liverpool City Council. We thought about Sue’s work. We were given a Tall Ship to programme.

La Malouine is a twin masted French Brigantine tall ship, registered in the Port of Dumfries in Scotland.

How wonderful would it sound on a ship, in the open air…how would it chime with the femininity of ships (they’re all named after women), of Sirens, of time… We got in touch.

Sue said yes. Not only did she say yes, she came back – in what seemed like moments – and said “I have written a song”. Over to Sue…

SR: “When I was invited to sing on board the Tall Ship La Malouine I was so excited. For as long as I can remember I have admired Tall Ships. I grew up by the sea in Dublin and it has always been a source of inspiration for me. It’s a great honour to be invited aboard this Ship and I wanted to express my gratitude to the Ship owner and to the Festival. I began researching the ship. I discovered that She was once called ‘Wilem’. I also found that she was originally registered in France, with her home port being Saint Malo. She is still French flagged, and her registration is for private charter, but her home port is now Dumfries in Scotland.

Sue's audience at the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta,complete with timpanology section!
Sue’s audience at the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta,complete with timpanology section!

“La Malouine is a non-profit organisation, and the crew take a lot of young people sailing, usually for no charge or for a small donation.

“I had already been humming a melody and felt words coming ‘La MalouineLa Malouine…Mother, Daughter, Ship is Queen…aboard La Malouine…’ then I thought ‘Aagh! What if I have the incorrect pronunciation?’

“I sent a slightly manic message to the to the contact email asking “does the ship’s name rhyme with Hallowe’en?”. Realising how bonkers that must have sounded to them, I quickly explained that I was writing a song to sing aboard La Malouine at the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta presented by Liverpool Irish Festival in Liverpool and needed to be sure that I had the correct pronunciation… An extra syllable – or one syllable less – would have thrown the metre off altogether and I was so happy with the lyrics that were emerging…

“I have to say the Captain and his Crew got back to me straight away and reassured me (very politely glossing over my out-of-the-blue, slightly bonkers tone!). I was in the flow of coming up with this song; I jotted down words and sounds; sang some of them and sang more words that came to mind.

“I had written words, which I was going to use in a spoken word intro, but when I started it, it sounded too dreamy; too wishy-washy.

“Then I imagined an electric guitar with distortion. My Dad is an excellent electric guitarist, so I went to my parent’s house and had a listen to my Dad playing all sorts of effects using vintage pedals. Thanks to my Dad, I found effects that were perfect for the intro and for the song throughout. It was very important to me that the song – and the Ship, in turn – would have a very strong introduction.

“The guitar at the beginning is full of power, presence and strength, there is a stoic quality to the theme and I thought this was very fitting. The rest of the song just flowed. I added in the guitar to play in canon – in parts to be playful like the wind in the sails – and for the most part to arpeggiate the chords. I wanted a big contrast between the distortion on the intro to a more gentle effect for the main [body] of the song, to give lots of space for the lyrics to be heard”.


Sue Rynhart: Sue’s debut album ‘Crossings (Songs for Voice & Double Bass)’ and follow up album ‘Signals’ have both received international critical acclaim from RTÉ Lyric fm, The Irish Times, the respected American website allaboutjazz.com, The Independent and The Sunday Times UK. She has premiered works by many of the Composers from the Irish Composers Collective and the Contemporary Music Centre and and has performed on BBC Radio with the Choir of Christchurch Cathedral Dublin. Sue recognises the support she has received across various projects from the Arts Council of Ireland, Culture Ireland, the Improvised Music Company and Note Productions.

About the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta: The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta took place in Liverpool 25-28 May 2018. The Liverpool Irish Festival featured quite heavily, with two days of programming on the La Malouine and in the National Museum of Liverpool‘s Martin Luther King Jnr Building in Albert Dock. The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta is also a unifying race between three countries. It is a key event because it ties us to our neighbours – through time and tide. It helps to place-make each location by showing the world where we are on its map. The Liverpool Irish Festival‘s contribution to this event has been supported by

  • Liverpool City Council
  • Arts Council England
  • The Irish Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs.

Liverpool City Council logo - supporters of the Liverpool Irish Festival through their cultural investment programme

Liverpool 2018 logo denotes activities that sit beneath the Liverpool City Council's 2018 cultural programme.




Department of Foreign Affairs and Investment (Government of Ireland) logo - the DFA support us through their Emigrant Support Programme