16th March 2011 (The Pearse Centre)

Joining Helena at the first Cáca Milis Dublin gig – as part of Seachtain na Gaeilge were: Dermot Bolger, Caitriona O’Leary, The Darling Sins, The Tall Tale Troubadours, Stephen James Smith, Enda Reilly, with dance by The Orchids, art on exhibit by Emer Martin and the short film “Clare sa Spéir” by Audrey O’Reilly.

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The gig took place in the beautiful, state of the art theatre in The Pearse Centre, 27 Pearse Street, next door to the Trinity Capitol Hotel, and was in Irish and English language, with a mixture of English and Irish songs as well.

In a new turn, following a Sean Nós from Hostess and coordinator Helena Mulkerns, the evening opened with the film by Audrey O’Reilly (screening by kind permission, Zanzibar Films).

The evening’s Special Guest, writer and poet Dermot Bolger, read some amazing poetry inspired by music, and a moving tribute to the decimation caused by heroine. He also noted that his grandfather was the town clerk in Wexford at one time – and would have had his office in The Wexford Arts Centre. “Not sure if he would have approved of the bellydancers,” he quipped.

From Wexford were The Tall Tale Troubadours ,Deirdre Wadding and Fran Greene, who played  soulful and melodic songs in Irish and English – then Fran played some of his own, including  the cult Wexford hit, “Murder at the Big Top.”

From wild Donegal the exceptional Caitriona O’Leary, who performed a stunning trio of Sean Nós songs. Otherwise you can see Caitriona perform with her band, Dúlra, or the performance group eX, but it was a real treat to hear her sing on her own.

From the Dublin performance scene, stalwarts Stephen James Smith of The Glór Sessions fame read some of his very exceptional poems, and singer-songwriter Enda Reilly sang several songs in Irish. The duo also performed together – delivering a fabulous version of “Raglan Road.”

As always, there was dance: this time from The Orchids, a Dublin-based bellydance troupe who have been pushing the boundaries in that art with their sleek, silent-movie-Queen chic, blending tribal and contemporary rhythms with a little vaudeville and feathers, moving with lustrous feline movements. They are well worth checking out in performance.

The Darling Sins topped the evening, with a splendid set from their new EP, which is produced by Pierce Turner. Joe Harpur played guitar while Leni Morrisson delivered the vocals and made the spectacular moves. The Sins can be seen performing around the South East and further afield this year.

For art lovers, the exhibition of paintings by Artist and Writer Emer Martin in the main reception room was splendid in its glorious spirit and its vibrancy. Inspired by the Irish language folktales of Seanchaí Sean O’Chonaill of Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry, the paintings all depicted scenes from the ancient stories, for more of Emer’s paintings, see the virtual gallery on her website here.

Many thanks to all the participants, and  very many special thanks to Robyn Gutteridge at The Ireland Institute, our super soundman for the evening, musician Dan Comerford, Noreen Fahy for her kind help,  Filip Naum for the photos, Dermot Bolger for his support and encouragement.

Thanks to the car that finally got us home that night – despite running out of petrol………