Gradam Comharcheol: ‘Concert’ Created by Colin Dunne with Sinéad Rushe and Mel Mercier
This year’s Gradam Comharcheoil brings us to the outer edges of where virtuoso traditional music, traditional dance and contemporary dance interact and probe each other’s essence. In his new solo work Irish dance artist Colin Dunne confronts the music of virtuoso traditional Irish fiddle player, Tommie Potts (1912-1988) whose 1972 album, The Liffey Banks, stands out as an iconic solo fiddle album. Potts’ music reflects both his deep appreciation of traditional music and his irrepressible instinct to dissect and rebuild it. Potts’ music is admired for its immaculate technical and emotional power as well as its delicate, melancholic and playful qualities. Its apparent disregard for conventional rhythm means that the music itself is practically impossible to dance to. This is one of the creative challenges that dance artist Colin Dunne, collaborating with director Sinéad Rushe and composer/sound designer Mel Mercier, sets out to confront in CONCERT. Armed with an LP copy of The Liffey Banks, a tape recorder, portable speakers and some sheets of flooring, Dunne embodies the lonesome and deviant nature of these recordings in his innovative style that is as evocative and idiosyncratic as Potts’s own.
CONCERT was funded by the Arts Council and Culture Ireland and coproduced with Dublin Dance Festival, CND Paris, MA Scène Nationale de Montbéliard and La Comète, Châlons–en–Champagne. It was first performed at the 2017 Dublin Dance Festival where it has a successful run at Project Arts Centre, attracting enthusiastic audiences that included musicians and dance artists from all genres. The Irish Times gave CONCERT a five-star review, commenting that “Concert isn’t a pitched battle of dancer versus musician, rather a dialogue with Potts as artist to artist.
The conversation is warm, funny, respectful and at times irreverent.”