RATHKEALE will play host to one of Irelandâ€™s biggest and best voices when Maria Doyle Kennedy arrives in town to play a gig in the Rathkeale Arts Centre this Saturday week, October 8.
Maria â€“ whose work includes a spot on the â€œLady Sings the Bluesâ€ album along with world greats such as Aretha Franklin, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone â€“ is best remembered by the Irish general public for her work in The Commitments, the album and film.
But her lifetime of work in music, film and tv ranges far wider than that.
As a singer â€“ something she says she learned to do at her parentsâ€™ parties â€“ she has performed first with the Hothouse Flowers and later with Black Velvet Band, touring extensively with them.
She also opened for the Neville Brothers and has several solo albums to her name. She has also played sell-out tours in Europe and played in Glastonbury.
But the Dublin-born Maria, who grew up in Co Wexford, has also built a strong career in film. She made her breakthrough in Alan Parkerâ€™s iconic The Commitments in 1991 â€“ a film and album that captured the zeitgeist of that decade in Ireland and that continues to win fans today.
But she went on to appear in Tara Road (based on the Maeve Binchy book) and in The General with Brendan Gleeson. Other films include Mystics and Moll Flanders.
In TV drama, Maria has also developed a huge profile both here in Ireland, in Britain and in the US. She appeared with Jonathan Rhys Myers in The Tudors and won awards for her role of Catherine of Aragon. Jonathan Rhys Meyers said of her that she was the â€œultimateâ€ Catherine â€“ â€œI havenâ€™t seen her played like this ever â€“ with such empathy, such sorrow and such determination and strength within that sorrow,â€ he is reported as saying.
Maria is currently appearing as Vera Bates in Downton Abbey.
And on top of all that â€“ Maria is the mother of four sons with her husband Kieran Kennedy, who was also a member of Black Velvet Band.
The gig in Rathkeale Arts Centre on October 8 will feature Maria accompanied by Kieran and will provide an unique opportunity for a Limerick audience to hear Maria in a very intimate setting, according to Theresa Doyle-McMahon, PRO for Rathkeale Community Arts Group.
The gig is a joint venture by the Arts Group and another voluntary group in the town, the Rathkeale Town Action Group whose chairman, Seamus Hogan has been a fan of Ms Doyle-Kennedy since the early 1980s. â€œ She has a powerful, unique voice that stands out in the world of music,â€ he said this week. I think it will be a great gig, It is a great opportunity to see someone of her stature in a beautiful, intimiate setting, and up close and personal. I have seen her perform and she puts on a wonderful gig. It is definitely a night not to be missed.â€
Tickets cost just â‚¬12 and are available from group members, at Rathkeale library, at Valâ€™s coffee shop or at the door. Patrons however are advised to ensure their seat by booking in advance. Rathkeale Arts Centre is located in the Council Offices and overhead the library on New Line, Rathkeale . The gig starts at 8pm on Saturday, October 8.