Now Reading
Musictown to take place at National Concert Hall this July with collaborative live shows

Musictown to take place at National Concert Hall this July with collaborative live shows

Rachael Lavelle

Musictown has announced that its programme will move to the National Concert Hall this July.

After taking place last year in The Complex, it is now exclusively programmed by Leagues O’Toole & David Connaughton of Foggy Notions and takes place July 19th to 21st, with what they describe “as a radio dial of everything that is interesting about Irish music in this moment.”

Lined up to play across the weekend are:

  • Soda Blonde & the National Symphony Orchestra
  • Mohammad Syfkhan & Crash Ensemble
  • E The Artist & Crash Ensemble
  • Harp Ireland presents MOODS with Aisling McKenna, Peter Power & Robyn Byrne
  • Rachael Lavelle & Crash Ensemble 
  • Elaine Howley  & Crash Ensemble 

Full programme details below.

The programme at a glance day by day:

Friday July 19th

Friday July 19th – Main Auditorium – 8.30pm

Soda Blonde & the National Symphony Orchestra

Dream Big, the second studio album from Dublin band Soda Blonde, is far more than a collection of catchy and cathartic pop songs; it’s a mantra – a mission statement from four lifelong friends. It’s their promise to themselves, and a message to all who come along for the ride: A reminder that life is precious, fragile, and fleeting, so we might as well dream big and hold nothing back. Dream Big stands out as one of the most singular documents in recent years of Irish music, a sophisticated and subtle distillation of club inflected rhythms, R&B, synth pop, melancholic cinema and the sort of bold vocal performances not out of place from the era of classic power ballads. The album duly was nominated for the Choice Music Prize and earned the band a fully sold out European tour in 2023. It seems only fitting that a live encore of the album in its entirety should be performed with the National Symphony Orchestra on our national stage with scores by Gavin Murphy and guest conductor David Brophy. An unmissable event. Book early.

Saturday July 20th

Saturday July 20th – Main Auditorium – 8.30pm

Rachael Lavelle & Crash Ensemble 

One of the most interesting voices to emerge in recent times has been Dublin-born singer and avant pop composer Rachael Lavelle. Her Choice Music Prize nominated debut album Big Dreams is an existential coming-of-age record that chronicles the journey of a young woman searching for direction and meaning in a very strange world. Inspired by sounds of everyday life and an intriguing obsession with YouTube self-help videos, the album explores romance, sleeping, eating, work and the search for love, reimagining them in a dream-like musical landscape of luscious synths, manipulated vocals, cinematic sound design, strings, woodwind and electronic beats. This collaboration between Lavelle and the Ireland’s new music tour-de-force Crash Ensemble led by Musical Director Kate Ellis is a marriage made in art music heaven.

Saturday July 20th – Kevin Barry Room – 4pm

Róis & Muireann Ní Shé

Róis is a multi-instrumentalist and performer known for her truly idiosyncratic blend of folk, Sean-Nós and electronics. Her extended vocal technique is utterly remarkable and in the territory of pioneers such as Meredith Monk and Hatis Noit. Her live performances have seen her become a word-of-mouth sensation, leaving every audience stunned. Róis will be accompanied by one of Ireland’s most intriguing new composers, Cork’s Muireann Ní Shé who will perform on Uilleann Pipes and vocals. The possibilities of this collaboration are endless and the meeting point of all that is innovative and vital in contemporary Irish music.

Saturday July 20th – Studio – 5.30pm

E The Artist  & Crash Ensemble 

An enigmatic presence in contemporary Irish Club culture, E The Artist is a Yoruba – Irish sound & visual artist. Known for his ever-evolving live performances and DJ Sets, his work interrogates and reimagines contemporary and past African diasporic sounds. Reference points stretching from ultra-fast Footwork & Musique Concrète through noise distil into a highly focused and unique output. His once off collaboration with Crash Ensemble is highly tantalising prospect.

Sunday 21st July

Sunday July 21st – Kevin Barry Room – 4pm

Harp Ireland presents MOODS featuring Aisling McKenna, Peter Power & Byrne

MOODS is a fascinating cross-disciplinary collaboration presented by Harp Ireland featuring harpist Aisling Ennis, visual and sound artist Peter Power and dancer & choreographer Robyn Byrne. Join these three artists in a series of original composition, interpretations of existing material and improvisations centred around embodied performance.

Sunday July 21st – Studio – 5.30pm

Elaine Howley  & Crash Ensemble 

Elaine Howley is a songwriter, vocalist and producer who merges a tapestry of experimental and analogue processes with a love for classic songwriting. Elaine’s debut album ‘The Distance Between Heart and Mouth’ released in 2022 is already a cult classic and looks set to be one of the most influential Irish releases of the 2020s. Her live performances are slow burn reflections of wistful longing and memory that never cease to beguile. Her collaboration with Crash Ensemble at MusicTown will feature interpretations of existing and developing work.

Sunday July 21st – Main Auditorium – 8.30pm

Mohammad Syfkhan & Crash Ensemble

A true sensation, Mohammad Syfkhan as been tearing up venues at home and abroad with is visceral and joyous party sets following the release of his debut album I Am Kurdish on the pioneering Sligo-based independent label, Nyahh Records. Syfkhan is an Irish based Kurdish/Syrian singer and Bouzouki player whose own brand of ecstatic music takes elements from Middle Eastern and North African music to create an atmosphere of joy, love and happiness. Since arriving in Ireland, Mohammad has used the language of music to integrate into the local community by playing at private parties and concerts. He has been playing music since the 1980’s, while living in the city of Raqqa, Syria where he began working as a professional singer and started his own band, The Al-Rabie Band which played concerts, parties, weddings and festivals all over Syria. This unexpected meeting of minds with groundbreaking contemporary group Crash Ensemble is impossible to predict, which is exactly what MusicTown is all about. Expect the unexpected.

Funded by Dublin City Council Arts Office, MusicTown 2024 is produced by Foggy Notions with support from the National Concert Hall.

MusicTown originated in 2015, an initiative from Dublin City Council Arts Office to create a platform where all the different styles, tribes and genres of music performed in Dublin could exist side by side on one programme. Over the past eight years the programme has travelled all over the city from studios to parks to churches to concert halls. It has spawned essential collaborations not just amongst musicians but work that has crossbred across theatre, dance, literature and visual art, and even defied COVID for two years presenting exciting programmes of live-streamed performances and original music films exclusively online.

Hey, before you go...

Nialler9 has been covering new music, new artists and gigs for the last 18 years. If you like the article you just read, and want us to publish more just like it, please consider supporting us on Patreon.

What you get as thanks in return...

  • A weekly Spotify playlist only for patrons.
  • Access to our private Nialler9 Discord community
  • Ad-free and bonus podcast episodes.
  • Guestlist & discounts to Nialler9 & Lumo Club events.
  • Themed playlists only for subscribers.
  • Your support enables us to continue to publish articles like this one, make podcasts and provide recommendations and news to our readers.
Become a patron at Patreon!