Monday, 31 December 2012

The Celtic Women Concert Series with Sarah Passmore & Jemma Krysa

Creating a Platform for Women's Music in Wales

The Celtic Women Concert Series continues this Sunday at 1.00pm in The Great Glasshouse with Sarah Passmore and Jemma Krysa ... this is a note from Sarah, written on her Facebook Event page ..
Join us on Sunday January 6th to kick off the New Year in style with some fabulous music in what is arguably one of Wales' most spectacular venues.


 Jemma Krysa is an acoustic/folk singer-songwriter from Tairgwaith in South Wales. After releasing her first album at the age of just 17, Jemma and her incredible music have travelled the world, playing gigs in Hollywood and building a large fan base along the way. She undoubtedly has a phenomenal career ahead of her and we are lucky enough to have her performing at January's Celtic Women Concert Series.

Sarah Passmore is a young acoustic/folk singer-songwriter from Swansea, South Wales. She first appeared on the music scene 4 years ago and since then has mesmerised audiences across the UK. Her self-penned songs belie her age and she possesses a pathos and ability far beyond her years. Sarah will be releasing her debut album later in 2013.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Would you like to be involved with Celtic Womenfest?

Would you like to be involved in the Celtic Womenfest?

Have you always wanted to perform your work in Ireland?

Do you live in Ireland and you've always wanted to perform here in Wales??

Then please feel free to drop me an email

Irish Outcomes

Here is a list of the outcomes thanks to our Coracle funded trip to Ireland this weekend representing Celtic Womenfest.

Angela Mulkerns & Alex Caulfield for Cacamilis Cabaret are match funding with Cheryl Beer via The National Botanic Garden of Wales for an Irish young singer song writer to perform as part of the Celtic Women Concert Series on
January 6th 2013
at The Great Glasshouse in
The National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Suzanne Hughes Owen is kindly providing accomodation overnight for the Irish Performer at her Gallery flat in Llandysul

Angela Mulkerns and Cheryl Beer will be looking at working together through their publishing companies.

Cheryl will be liasing with Elizabeth Whyte regarding the installation of her forthcoming film exhibition of The Dragon Tree funded by The Arts Council of Wales via an Individual Mainline Grant

Danielle will be liaising with Alex and Helena to return to the Cacamilis Cabaret in her own right

Danielle will be performing at Suzanne's home in Llandysul on 19th January to raise funding for Wales:Kenya

Cheryl will match fund via The National Botanic Garden of Wales for Martina and Paula who performed on the same evening at the Cabaret to perform at Celtic Womenfest in August

Cheryl is currently negotiating a Busking Festival and will contact Wexford Improv Group that performed on the line up should this come into fruition. (they are hilarious!)

Cheryl will liase with Mairead Linnen to bring her exhibition the Dragon Tree to The Presentation Centre, Ennischorty.

Mairead is going to attend the Story Telling Trail that Cheryl is organising as Creative Director for The National Botanic Garden of Wales in April

Mairead is going to ask Caroline if she would like to also come and perform story and spoken word at the event.

Mairead is looking at coming with Cheryl as a volunteer to Belarus to work in the orphange with Leaves of Hope

Cheryl will be attending the Gealach Gorm Song Writing Festival with Angela Mulcahy and will pursue funding options to bring Danielle with her.

Cheryl is writing a song about the artist Edith Collier.

Cheryl will be taking The Dragon Tree Exhibition to Copper Coast Project in Banhoman.

Cheryl will find links for Angela in Wales to bring her new film about the Copperworks to Wales.

Suzanne and Cheryl have joined The Art Hand group page and Suzanne is pursuing links with Sean Corcoran to link to her arts and design course.

Deidre Starr and Cheryl will look at ways to bring her beautiful traditional singing to Wales.

Jean (??) a student on a correspondence course at Trinity approached Cheryl after the film in The Copper Coast Project and would like to come to the Celtic Womenfest to perform Spoken Word poetry. She will also link with Cheryl when she somes to Trinity to graduate in June.

Sean Corcoran has put a shout out on his facebook page to poets and singers to come to CW13 in August

The National Botanic Garden of Wales now have information displayed on Stena.

These seeds are just the beginning of what feels like the start of life long career friendships ...


Irish Diary 2

Up early on Saturday morning after just a few hours sleep for a wonderful breakfast meeting with Helena Mulkerns who works at Wexford Arts Centre on the Cacamilis Cabaret where we performed last night for their Christmas Dinner.
She was the brilliant host of the event and is one of the organisers along with the Arts Centre Manager Elizabeth Whyte and also Alex Caulfield.

Then we jumped back in the car and went to Ennischorty to The Presentation Centre managed by Mairead Linnen. What a beautiful venue, wonderful restoration .. this is the old Nun's chapel where performances are held.
When we were there an artist was running workshops with local children. Caroline also attended the meeting a local poet and artist as well as Aileen Lambert who organises a traditional singing project.

After a look round the stunning venue we went to the town council offices to have our meeting. Here we are looking at the beautiful gardens. Mairead organised for the local children to plant bulbs in the garden. What a wonderful way to give ownership to the children who will have so much joy coming back to the centre.

In the store cupboard are the huge puppets made at the centre for one of the town's parades.
They were made in a day.
Thinking ... wouldn't it be wonderful to make Celtic Heroine puppets like these on day one of our festival and then parade them on day 2.

Mairead then very kinldy organised for us all to go to the Ennischorty Castle Art Exhibition ...

 where Caroline's poetry along with other poets sits alongside the art collection being exhibited.

We then followed Mairead for an hour and half drive over to Bunmahon to the Gealach Gorm Theatre run by Angela Mulcahy.
She has pulled together the community and managed to make a little theatre out of half a squash court ... on a shoestring, that offers regular productions and drama classes to the community.
It is also the home of the Songwriting Festival she organised this year and is going ahead for next year ...

Angela is also a film producer and she has been working with Sean Corcoran and 2 film makers from New Zealand to make a documentary on the Irish perspective of the artist Edith Collier who spent 6 months painting in the village in the early 1900's. The film was being launched at The Copper Coast Proejct in Kill.

We performed our Child's Christmas in Wales piece before the film in this absolutely stunning venue with a full house ... how wonderful to see the community all together to watch the film

Left to right this is Mairead Linnen, Deidre Starr with myself and Danielle. Deidre is one of the singers who worked on the sound track for the film and she performed a beautiful traditional unaccompnaied song ... we are hoping Deidre can come to sing with us in Wales.
We got back to the hotel very late indeed and slept for a few hours before getting up at 5am and heading back to the ferry in Rosslaire

Whilst on the boat I spoke with the manager and asked him to display leaflets on behalf of the National Botanic Garden of Wales which he kindly did and gave a contact so that they can always be displayed at the ferry.
I also spoke to him about applying for support to bring Irish and Welsh performers back and for across on the ferry to take part in the festivals and events that we had connected with ... he kindly gave me the contact details of where I should write to ask for support which I will be doing later this week

So as you can see it was quite a trip! In just a few days we made contact with so many amazing people and events ... magic created
Dominc Williams
The National Botanic Gaden of Wales
Suzanne Hughes Owen
Danielle Lewis
Helena Mulkerns
Elizabeth Whyte
Alex Caulfield
Eammon Carroll
Mairead Linnen
Aileen Lambert
Angela Mulcahy
Sean Corcoran
Deidre Starr
And I think I will thank myself too for making it so! Thank you Cheryl Beer ;)

Irish Diary

WOW! We have just had the most amazing weekend in Ireland representing Celtic Womenfest kindly funded by Coracle!!

I picked up Suzanne Hughes Owen and Danielle Lewis at midnight from Llandysul and we headed off to Fishguard to check in with Stenna Line.

The boat left at 2.45am. We were so excited and couldn't understand why everyone was finding ways to immediately bed down and sleep for the night! We went off exploring and chatting about our professional development trip for the festival. We were spolit on board having tickets to Stena Premiere ... travelling in comfort.

We arrived at the hotel at 7am having had no sleep we were starting to struggle a bit and I reckon the receptionist took pity on us because we weren't supposed to check in til 4pm! She very kindly moved rooms around and we headed up. Again we were spoilt! Whites Hotel is 4 stars! They had a beautiful Christmas tree up ...

Even the loo's were posh!

This is the view from my hotel room. We grabbed a couple of hours sleep missing breakfast and then heading off into town to start the networking

We went over to Wexford Arts Centre where we would be performing that night ...

as part of the Dinner Cabaret
Chrsitmas Celebrations

Then we went on a mission to put out our fliers around town

We found The Opera House ... and the Business Manager very kindly had a meeting with us

After a quick rehearsal in the hotel we popped over for our sound check at the Arts Centre. The Manager had asked for us to perform a 10 - 15 minute piece called a Child's Christmas in Wales so I wrote a piece originally for myself and The Passmores. Sadly they weren't able to come and Suzanne and Danielle who both performed at CW12, kindly stepped in literally last minute. I adjusted the set to fit their style and creative gifts ...

But just before we left for Ireland I had emailed Alex Caulfield asking if there would be any chance that Danielle could showcase some of her own songs as that was one of her own aims. LAst minute I pinged over 3 or 4 video clips and Mp3's that Danielle had sent me so that Alex could see what she sounded like.
 As luck would have it, there was a gap in the line up and because she has the voice of an angel, Alex and Helena kindly slotted her in an extra set of  her own songs. I was so chuffed to see her coming into her light up there. She is now planning to go back to teh venue with a full set of her own.
We all had lots of really positive feedback which was lovely, and then we enjoyed watching the local Irish acts who were outstanding!

There were a few performance firsts for us ...
Having been a written poet throughout her life, Suzanne first became a spoken word poet via the Celtic Women Project and on this trip she sang live on stage for the first time ever!
And even though I have played Djembe solo for my own work and recordings or in groups with other drummers, I have never accompanied a solo artist live on stage before ...
It was Danielle's first trip to Ireland
We rolled into bed late and set the alarm early for our Breakfast meeting the following morning ...
What happened next?
See the next blog!

How did you organise Celtic Womenfest in Ireland?

How did you organise Celtic Womenfest in Ireland?
Before the festival this Summer I had a meeting with Dominic Williams at Coracle and after the festival we booked to meet again.
My intention had been that our festival was inter-celtic but there was no funding available to make this so at the time, but Dom kindly offered in October funding for us to go on a professional development trip in December as long as I was able to apply for the funding and make contact with the all the people he thought would be able to help us.
I wrote a Business Plan, got it approved by David Hardy at The National Botanic Garden of Wales who kindly host and fund the infra structure of the festival  ... and then sent this in with the application.
Dom gave me a few pointers to tighten it up, which I did... and we were game on!
He emailed all his contacts in Ireland via Coracle and then I started ringing people and emailing to make the trip meet the aims and objectives of Coracle, the European Development Fund Ireland Wales interreg 4a Program and our Business Plan.
Remember that I do all of this in my own time.
Although the Garden kindly fund my expenses to organise the festival and provide the whole infra structure for us including my expenses, I'm not able to charge for my time as there is no external funding to cover this. Since the funding stopped for the Community Project Celtic Women, I have not been able to secure funding to organise and direct the project but  I feel so passionately about creating a platform in such an amazing setting for women singer songwriters, musicians and poets, that it feels right to give my time. Besides which, how amazing for me to have this adventure and be making a pathway for others to experience it too!
You might ask how I chose who to take with me to Ireland from the 58 performers who gave thier time to perfrom at CW12 but that was easy because of those who kindly gave their time to take part, there are very few who also offer to help me out in the organisation. 2 key volunteers were Sarah and Dawn Passmore and so I invited them but last minute they weren't able to make it and so I invited Suzanne Hughes Owen who has supported Celtic Women since I ran the first funded Community Project in partnership with Community Music Wales 2 years ago... and Danielle Lewis who performed at the festival and has stayed in touch with me.
Having been and had such an amazing time in Ireland and making incredible connections, the 3 of us were definitely meant to make the journey together ...
Suzanne has very kinldy offered to give accommodation to Irish performers who will be visiting us as a result of the trip to take part in our Celtic Women Concert Series and CW13 in the Summer. She is also putting on a home gig for Danielle on January 6th in Llandysul where the funds rasied from the evening will go towards a Wales:Kenya Project that is being led by Heather Summers funded by The Arts Council of Wales. Suzanne is a lead member of the management committee at The Powerhouse Pwerdi in Llandysul and is helping to raise match funding for the Wales Kenya project.
Celtic Women is not just about great music and poetry in a fabulous venue ... it's equally about fostering the idea that we can work together, help each other and create amazing experiences by sharing our creativity, skills and resources. 
If you would like to know more feel free to drop me a line

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Celtic Womenfest is leaving for Ireland in 4 hours!!!

Myself, Suzanne Hughes Owen & Danielle Lewis will be setting off for the ferry in 4 hours time for our very exciting trip to Ireland this weekend kindly funded by Coracle.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR PHOTO'S OF OUR TRIP when we get back on Monday.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Change of Line up for Ireland

Big thank you to the 2 people who have agreed at short notice to come as replacements to Ireland this week to represent Celtic Womenfest with Creative Director, Cheryl Beer and to Dominic Williams from Coracle for supporting us ...

CW in Ireland WELCOMES:

Danielle Lewis: Up and coming Singer/Songwriter from New Quay

Suzanne Hughes Owen: Bi-lingual Spoken Word Poet and Management Committee Member of Pwerdi/The Powerhouse, Llandysul

Sadly, due to unforseen personal reasons Dawn & Sarah Passmore will not be able to come to Ireland ... our thoughts are prayers are with them and their family.