27 April 2010
The Dingle Peninsula, or Corca Dhuibhne as it is known as Gaeilge, has a rich cultural heritage. From April 29th-May 4th, the Dingle Peninsula's Annual Arts' Festival - Féile na Bealtaine - aspires to build on this cultural foundation, embracing the mediums of art, drama, literature, culture, custom, music, dance and the Irish language. Entertaining, original and invigorating, Féile na Bealtaine, is the physical embodiment of Corca Dhuibhne's cultural consciousness. Féile na Bealtaine will be officially opened this year on Thursday April 29th at the annual Féile Drámaíochta in Cuas in the West Kerry Gaeltacht, featuring a performance by Lumiere and Sceitcs Beag. The life of Saint Brendan is this year's theme; this is reflected throughout this year's Féile (which celebrates its 16th anniversary in 2010). A relevant and appropriate theme, the Dingle Peninsula sits in the shadow of Mount Brandon and the navigator is said to have set sail from her shores in the 7th century as he embarked on a new world. Gallarus Oratory stands in testimony to the Saint and Brendan the Navigator is reflected in all aspects of West Kerry life. Indeed one of the festival's main events is the live performance of The Brendan Voyage by Shaun Davey by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at St. Mary's Church in Dingle (Sunday 2nd). Cór Cois Cladaigh will also perform on Sunday at 4pm in St. James' Church (home of RTÉ live series Other Voices). Musical fusion is an important aspect of Féile na Bealtaine – this year, Dingle welcomes Palestinian singer and musician Reem Kelani who will perform songs from her critically acclaimed album, Sprinting Gazelle. This work represents the culmination of twenty years’ work, which included research in Palestinian refugee camps and the Palestinian Diaspora. She will perform alongside West Kerry's own Lumiere who broke through this year with their debut single The West's Awake, a collaboration with Damien Dempsey. Txutxukan, a musical collective comprising French, Gypsy and Spanish influences, perform in Dingle on Friday, April 30th. Pianist Finghin Collins, accompanied by Soprano Cara O'Sullivan perform in Seipéal Baile an Fheirteáraigh on Saturday May 1st. The intensely colourful and exciting street parade on Féile Sunday – featuring musical groups, marching bands and street performers – is one of the highlights of the entire festival. The week is packed with events; music (featuring a host of Irish & International artists), literature, political symposium, art and photographic installations (including Art from IMMA) short films, and drama. The Full Table – touted as an art exhibit with taste – will be presented by West Kerry art collective i-2-i. The centre piece of the show will be a table set for ten diners with most of the table-ware created by local artists. The Lambert Puppet Theatre returns to Dingle on Friday, April 30th. Indeed there are many events dedicated to children throughout the Féile; arts, crafts, music, theatre; a full listing is available online at www.feilenabealtaine.ie. Everything from the traditional to the exotic is propagated at Féile na Bealtaine; auxiliary events including an 110km cycle around the peninsula, the Funk Ball; Stroller vs. The Big Payback, book-launches, wine-tastings, poetry readings, sheep trails, CD launches, short film screenings, yoga work-shop, ballet....