"A strong narrative arc lit by music. It’s tight, enthralling, different, and the audience loves it." - Deirdre Cronin.
Combining music, dance and poetry in one mesmerizing and carefully crafted show, The Leitrim Equation concert performance looks to the long tradition of music of Leitrim to trace a history full of colour, of love and loss, and of leaving and coming back. From the hills of Sí Bheag and Sí Mhór to the miners’ strikes of the 1960s, the show describes how landscape shapes us, how we live and learn, and how we find beauty in the smallest of things.
The musical prowess of singer Eleanor Shanley, Padraig McGovern (Uilleann Pipes), Dave Sheridan (flute, keyboards), John McCartin (guitar) and Dónal Lunny (bouzouki, guitar, bodhran) is combined with the words of poet, playwright and broadcaster Vincent Woods and the captivating footwork of Seán Nós dancer Edwina Guckian into a two-hour show with film by Johnny Gogan designed by Michael Cummins.
Following its premiere in the Cornmill Theatre in Carrigallen and sell out shows in London and Dublin, the Leitrim Equaiton show returned to The Dock in Carrick on Shannon whrere it was filmed over two nights. The resulting film premiered at Carrick Cineplex as part of Culture Night and is now available to purchase from www.leitrimequation.ie
In 2006, Leitrim County Council Arts Office with the support of the Arts Council devised a programme called ‘The Leitrim Equation’. The idea behind the programme was to invite a traditional Irish music band to spend time in Leitrim. Over the course of a year and a half, the band would visit the county for three days every couple of months, meeting and playing with local musicians and playing in community settings as well as conventional venues.
At the end of the residency, a CD would be recorded which would be representative of that time spent in the county. This process would celebrate music in Leitrim and of Leitrim. It would contribute to the professional development of musicians and act as a focal point for the development of music in Leitrim generally.
Lúnasa became the first Band in Residence. They visited many favoured sessions of Leitrim musicians, played for school and community groups, worked with musicians, and recorded ‘The Leitrim Equation 1’. The CD contained many newly composed tunes which came out of the regular ‘new tunes’ workshops with Lúnasa members Kevin Crawford and Paul Meehan.
In 2009 Dervish took up the baton where Lúnasa left off. The emphasis in this residency was in the songs of Leitrim. The prominence on the Leitrim songs came out of a desire by Cathy Jordan to meet and sing with a number of Leitrim singers with the aim of identifying songs native to Leitrim and bringing them to a new audience.
For the third residency, three legends in Irish music, Dónal Lunny, John Carty and Séamus Begley were invited to come together, discover and interpret Leitrim tunes and songs, to play with musicians they met, and to share their vast knowledge and experience with the next generation of Leitrim musicians. During their time in the county, they would develop a new sound for themselves born in Leitrim.
This fourth Leitrim Equation group has come together as part of the county’s fourth residency programme. The group features the musical prowess of Leitrim musicians Eleanor Shanley, Padraig McGovern, Dave Sheridan and John McCartin who have been joined over the last number of months for this production by Donal Lunny, poet Vincent Woods and Sean Nos dancer Edwina Guckian.
The residency lasts eighteen months and has seen the group make a number of visits throughout Leitrim, meeting local musicians, and linking up with different community and school groups. Coupled with the performance programme based on the music of Leitrim, musicians from all over the county, and country, also availed of a wide ranging professional development and mentoring programme with industry specalists called Leading Edge. A number of younder Leitrim musicians have become members of Brí, an exciting new group of musicians from throughout the county brought together under the guidance of Dave Sheridan and Padraig McGovern. Working closely with Dave and Padraig, as well as honing their music and stage skills, Brí have been uncovering some hidden gems of Leitrim music as well as venturing into composing new works which may well become further ingredients of the rich Leitrim heritage
Following sell out performances in Leitrim, London and Dublin, the Leitrim Equation concert performance returned for two nights at The Dock Carrick on Shannon where it was filmed by Johnny Gogan of Bandit Films. This film is currently in post production and will be released in the coming weeks.
The Leitrim Equation is a production of Leitrim County Council Arts Office and has been made possible through the support of the Arts Councilof Ireland.