The Shared Music Sessions

The Shared Music Sessions

Monday, 17 October 2022, 11.00pm

Festival in a Van’s

The Shared Music Sessions

Ukrainian and Irish musical heroes unite – in the back of a van!

Nationwide tour of Festival in a Van’s The Shared Music Sessions reaches a midway point but with a extended dates into November. Ten counties visited so far, with more than a thousand people hearing the music of over fifty artists, sharing Irish and Ukrainian culture through music and song.

From chamber music in a hotel carpark, to a Ukrainian singing star joining a cast of Irish musicians travelling the country, Festival in a Van has reached the midpoint of its Shared Music Sessions tour.

The Shared Music Sessions were born in May of this year when the Festival in a Van team realised that their little-music-venue-in-a-van could tour to places where members of refugee communities were living, and host gigs to communicate and share cultures through the power of music.

Since then the Van has visited more than ten counties, hosting over fifty musicians to more than a thousand people. And there’s more to come.

Remarkable talents including decorated classical musicians Valery and Olena Supruniuk of the Rozumovsky Salon Ensemble, singing star Maryna Odolska, music trio Elena and Kyrill Yakovenko with Dmytro Danylchuk; have been joined by Irish heroes such as Fin Furey, Oisin Murphy, Sinead McKenna, Shane Sullivan and the Florence Road Band.

During the sessions, flags come out, bunting flutters, people dance, and sometimes stand silent. Festival in a Van’s Gemma Tipton said, “It has provided some remarkable emotional moments: times when you could have heard a pin drop, and see tears fall, and then it switches to dancing, laughter and applause.”

She continues: “In times of global turmoil, small things can feel like a drop in an angry ocean, and yet it is so important to keep doing those small things. Connecting people through culture and our shared love of music can go way beyond words at the most difficult of times.”

Supported by Creative Ireland, and programmed with the help of the Music Generation Network, the coming weeks will see the Van arrive in locations from Dublin to Waterford, Sligo, Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Cork. By the end of the tour, the Shared Music Sessions will have visited twenty counties, with more than fifty music sessions.

Gemma Tipton set up Festival in a Van in 2020, turning a box van into a mobile stage, as a way of keeping live performance going during Covid. Travelling in a bubble, and armed with oceans of hand sanitiser, the Festival in a Van team were able to visit care homes, schools, residential centres and direct provision centres touring music, theatre and poetry.

Tour continues until – 10 November


In 2020 Festival in a Van:
· Staged more than 60 performances in 11 counties

· Worked with 48 musicians, singers, poets, artists and performers

· with a team of 15 theatre professionals, designers and production artists

· and reached more than 2,500 people, throughout all levels of lockdown

In 2021 they brought the Words Move Tour across the Island, commissioning poetry and performances to mark our shared Covid experiences.

When Festival in a Van comes to visit...

Vans arrive to streets, housing estates or apartment blocks. They come to care homes, rural spots, parking lots or village squares. The doors open. In one, an actor delivers a dramatic monologue. In another a musician makes their own kind of magic, a singer sings songs or arias. In another a poet recites, a writer reads.

“For truly Safe Craic: Festival in a Van gets the show back on the road.”

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