Limerick celebrates jazz culture with fifth festival

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


Limerick celebrates jazz culture with fifth festival

At the launch of the Limerick Jazz Festival was Mollie Hunka, Liam Hunka and Ella Hunka - Picture: Cathal Noonan/True Media

LIMERICK city centre will be Miles Ahead of Ireland’s music itinerary this month, with the fifth annual Limerick Jazz Festival, showcasing some of the world’s most renowned performers.

From morning until ‘Round Midnight, from Thursday, September 22 to Sunday, 25, US, UK and Latin jazziacs will head to the city’s finest venues to share the seminal genre with the people of Limerick.

The festival will also mark the Limerick Jazz Society’s 35 years, furthermore reaffirming it as the oldest, inclusive jazz organisation in the country.

Local drummer and jazz aficianado, John Daly said it is a special year for Limerick’s music scene.

“It is 35 years running now, and the longer it goes on, the more special the society is. And it has all got to do with the top acts that we are bringing in.

“There is very little jazz shown across the country, but what people should should remember is that jazz has been part of Limerick’s culture since, for as long as I can remember, the 1960s. For example, the Granary [Michael Street] used to be a great place for jazz. It was the perfect atmosphere for it and that is what made it successful. Dolan’s is now the new home for jazz,” he said.

Indigenous acts include the Dublin City Jazz Orchestra and artist-in-residence, David O’Rourke, who will be joined by a band, featuring leading Irish jazz musicians and a jazz quartet, with Hugh Buckley, Tommy Halferty and Joe O’Callaghan.

International artists this year include renowned vocalist Norma Winstone and the Partisans from the UK, plus Latin Jazz group Atchere from the Canary Islands.

Two, of many, free events include music for children at Ormston House and masterclasses by Mr O’Rourke at Music Generation and the Hunt Museum.

Limerick man and Riverdance composer, Bill Whelan welcomed the launch of this year’s jazz festival. He said that it “has its roots in the vibrant local music scene. Once again this year’s programme features some great artists and will have a broad appeal to all music fans”.

Limerick City and County Council arts and culture officer, Sheila Deegan said: “Festivals are a great way of Limerick people coming together and celebrating, whatever the genre. Limerick Jazz Festival has been celebrating and programming quality acts since it started, and this year is no different!”

Limerick Jazz Festival is promoted by the Limerick Jazz Society. It is supported by the Arts Council and Limerick City and County Council. Since 2007, the society has provided jazz education programmes through its Limerick Jazz Workshop, the only regular jazz workshop in Ireland outside of the capital.