Colm Mac Con Iomaire Brings Pastoral Tranquility to Muldoon's Picnic

NYC's Irish Arts Center hosts a regular literary/musical salon curated by poet Paul Muldoon and will offer free books on St. Patrick's.

Muldoon's Picnic

City: New York
Venue: Irish Arts Center
Date: 2017-03-13

In the week leading up to Saint Patrick's Day, I made a last minute decision to visit the Irish Arts Center in Hell's Kitchen simply because Colm Mac Con Iomaire would be performing. I made a rushed after-work trek through the cold for my first visit to the venue because I saw the Frames' violinist posted on Twitter and found myself in a small theatre space behind a lobby bar just in the nick of time.

The Irish Arts Center hosts a semi-regular series dubbed Muldoon's Picnic named for the host, poet, and lyricist Paul Muldoon. The March edition of the show including Mac Con Iomaire flying from Ireland for the night (but getting stuck in NYC for longer due to a blizzard), poet Marie Howe drawing from her book Magdalene, novelist Peter Quinn reading selections from a couple of books (one was Dry Bones) plus songs from house band Rogue Oliphant interspersed.

Mac Con Iomaire performed two pieces in the first half of the show, "Emer's Dream" from his solo debut The Hare's Corner and "From the Mountain to the Sea", his most recent song recorded for the Dublin tribute Starboard Home compilation. After intermission, he performed the lovely tribute to his late sister "In the Arms of the Angels", accompanied by Justin Carroll on piano. An angelic chorus (via samples) reverberated in the room as Mac Con Iomaire built the song with guitar and violin. The song is off his second album And Now the Weather which was one of my favorite releases in 2015 (it's hard to track down physical copies but available to stream). It was all too brief of a performance and a visit, but at least one could chat with Mac Con Iomaire after the show.

Of course, Muldoon was the string that tied the show together, and he offered his thoughts throughout including, at the end, leading all the musicians for a powerful anti-Trump spoken word piece. His next Picnic is on April 10th and is the final one in the season. It includes music from The Knights and readings from Brenda Shaughnessy and Jean Korelitz. The next strictly musical performance on March 22nd centers on Loah, an Irish-Sierra Leonean singer readying the release of her first EP This Heart. She's worked with Hozier, performed with Glen Hansard and will be performing in larger spaces than the Irish Arts Center sooner than later.

Outside of all the performances, the Irish Arts Center will be giving away books (children's, poetry and more) around NYC on Book Day 2017 (aka St. Patrick's Day). Find out more details here.

Muldoon and Howe

Colm Mac Con Iomaire

Colm Mac Con Iomaire

Colm Mac Con Iomaire


Rogue Oliphant

Rogue Oliphant

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