Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ World Premiere

Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ World Premiere
Despite the cold December chill of a Tuesday evening, an 8 o'clock curfew, and a 50% reduction in audience capacity, Aideen Barry's Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ show went ahead at The Complex venue in Dublin against all the odds.

But go ahead it did, and we were delighted the see a capacity crowd turn out on the winter solstice to see it, a testament to the tenacity of the singular artistic vision behind the project.

Specially commissioned by Music Network and the Irish Traditional Music Archive, the project was inspired by the Bunting Harp Collection, compiled by Edward Bunting in the late 18th century. The archive is widely credited as having preserved harp music in Ireland at a time of great threat and is now considered one of Ireland's national treasures.

Barry uses this notion of the saving of ancient Irish culture from oblivion as a jumping off point to consider the role of art and artists in times of uncertainty. Be that from environmental collapse, cultural stagnation, or the not inconsiderable impact the pandemic has had on the arts over the past couple of years.

Ably presented by RTÉ's Paula Shields, the world premiere of this multimedia performance of moving image and sound, was prefaced by a short and beautifully played performance by Irish harpist Aisling Lyons before renowned Inuit Canadian throat singer and song-writer RIIT ᕇᑦ took the stage to perform a set of her own songs with backing on drums and bass provided by her Irish cousins Cathal and David Murphy.

Barry spoke of some of the inspiration behind the piece referencing elements ranging from Turlough O' Carolan to figures from Irish mythology such as Balor of the poisoned eye, elements which also emerged in the costumes designed by award-winning designer and milliner Margaret O'Connor.

The show's centrepiece brought together all performers to startling effect, with stunning visual projections culminating in an extended throat sung section which brought the audience to their feet.

Congratulations to all the artists for making it happen and thanks to our partners at the Irish Traditional Music Archive and RTÉ Culture for hosting the live stream of the the event which you can see below.

Aideen Barry's Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ LIVE

Oblivion / Seachmalltacht / ᖃᐅᔨᒪᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖅᑐᑦ is presented as the centrepiece of Aideen Barry's By Slight Ligaments exhibition at the Limerick City Gallery of Art from 16 December 2021 – 13 February 2022, and at The Source Arts Centre, Thurles from 18 March – 29 April 2022.