Cormac Begley, Stephanie Keane, Laoise Kelly, and Anna Mieke feature in Thursday’s ‘Courage’ live stream concert presented by Other Voices

Cormac Begley, the esteemed Irish concertina player, will be joined by traditional Irish step dancer Stephanie Keane for a live-streamed performance from the historic Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Co Galway on Thursday, July 16.

Begley and Keane will be joined by world-renowned Irish harpist Laoise Kelly and singer-songwriter Anna Mieke.

The performance, the next installment of the enthralling ‘Courage’ series presented by Other Voices, will be hosted live on Thursday, July 16 at 8 pm IST / 3 pm EST. You can tune into the performance right here on IrishCentral or over on our Facebook page.

Read More: WATCH: Glen Hansard performs from the National Library of Ireland

About Cormac Begley

Cormac Begley is a solo bass, baritone, treble, and piccolo concertina player from a West-Kerry musical family. His debut solo album received critical acclaim accumulating nine 5-star reviews and his playing has been described as ‘a masterclass in timeless musicianship’ by the Irish Times (*****). He was nominated for ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ for RTE1 Folk Awards in 2018 and 2019 and his solo album was shortlisted for the Irish Times album of the year. 

He plays in a number of projects including duets including Liam O Connor (fiddle), Caoimhín O Raghallaigh (hardanger d’amore), and Liam Ó Maonlaí (singer and multi-instrumentalist), Rushad Eggleston (cello) and with singer/songwriter Lisa O’ Neill. 

He is the founder of Airt, a residential school in West-Kerry, and the award-winning Tunes in the Church live concert series in Galway and Dublin.

You can learn more about Cormac Begley on his website. Facebook, and YouTube pages.

Read More: Cormac Begley & Friends play the St. Patrick’s Festival, Dublin

About Stephanie Keane

Stephanie Keane, from Limerick, has been involved in traditional Irish step dancing since she was four years old. Now living in East Clare, she has pursued her passion for Sean Nós dance for the past 15 years. 

By pushing the boundaries of her own dance experience, she has developed an appreciation for the nuances of this old-style dance, and through exploration with rhythms from other cultures, Stephanie has established herself as a Professional Traditional Irish Dance Artist with her own unique style. 

Stephanie works as a choreographer and tutor of Sean Nos Dance and has traveled all over Ireland and Europe. She has been the resident dancer at Masters of Tradition in 2012 and 2018 and Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2018. She has performed with numerous other professional traditional musicians such as Triona Marshall, Steve Cooney, The Martin Hayes Quartet, and bands such as The Tulla Ceili Band and The Gabriel G. Diges Band. 

You can learn more about Stephanie Keane on her Facebook page.

About Laoise Kelly

Laoise Kelly from Westport, now living on Achill Island, Co.Mayo, is one of Ireland's leading traditional harpers and was named as TG4 Gradam Ceoil’s Musician of the Year in 2020. Laoise uses a new style of harp playing, combining the techniques of fingerpads in the bass and fingernails in the melody on a thirty-four gut strung Paddy Cafferky harp. She is the director of the Achill International Harp Festival.

Laoise has performed and recorded with the foremost artists in Irish music from The Chieftains to Kate Bush. She represented Ireland at the World Harp Festival in Paraguay. She has three critically acclaimed solo albums, and she is the director of the Achill International Harp Festival.

You can learn more about Laoise Kelly on her website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

About Anna Mieke

Anna Mieke is the musical project of Anna-Mieke Bishop, who performs on Greek bouzouki, guitar, and piano. Themes and inspiration for Anna Mieke’s songs stem from a colorful background of experience: learning Maori songs at school in New Zealand; hitch-hiking through Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, picking up traditional songs along the way; cycling from her home in Wicklow to the southern tip of Spain; living in Granada for a time, and then, in Cork, performing cello in the experimental improv group, HEX. 

As a solo performer and collaborative artist, she has joined forces with a diverse mélange of other artists, most notably Brían MacGloinn (of folk duo Ye Vagabonds), who adds drones on Indian harmonium and fiddle. Other, more recent, collaborators are Matthew Jacobson (of contemporary jazz ensemble Insufficient Funs) adding percussion and Ryan Hargadon on saxophone, clarinet, and synth.

Following on from the release of two singles, Arbour and Keep It Whole in 2018, Anna Mieke independently released her debut album Idle Mind in April 2019. Rooted in folk, the ten tracks on the record philosophize through abstract lyrics about place, age, belonging, and various societal misalignments. 

Anna Mieke was one of five RTÉ Folk Award Nominees for ‘Best Emerging Act’ 2019 and is a recipient of the Arts Council’s Next Generation Bursary Award 2020. 

You can learn more about Anna Mikee on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages.

About ‘Courage’ from Other Voices

‘Courage’ is a new project that delivers uplifting, inspiring performances from brilliant artists to the public during the COVID-19 crisis. Courage will beam these performances directly into homes across the nation, from a number of iconic cultural locations. Its goal is to provide essential cultural output during this period. Music collapses distance in this time of isolation, it gives us courage, consolation, and brings us together.

Performances will take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights and will be made available worldwide, free of charge, thanks to the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, RTÉ, and IMRO. Courage series one is currently being shown on RTÉ 2 Thursdays at 23:30.

Speaking of the project Minister Madigan said: “Building on the phenomenal success of the original Courage program with a reach of over 2.7m, I am delighted to support this new initiative of live-streamed performances from some of our best-known heritage sites.  

"The outpouring of wellbeing created by the first series of performances will no doubt be carried through Courage 2 and reminds us that culture lifts us up beyond circumstance and challenges and is vital to the core of our collective humanity.” 

IMRO Chief Executive Victor Finn said: “In times of crisis we often turn to music creators and artists for their unique ability to interpret and reflect on the world in which we live. Music is a collective experience that can overcome physical distance and is the perfect antidote to the growing sense of alienation and isolation we have all felt in recent times – even more so, now we are being asked to actively practice social distancing.  

"The Other Voices’ Courage series brings some of our finest Irish music creators to the world stage from a number of unique locations around Ireland in what we hope will be inspiring and unforgettable performances.”  

Other Voices founder and director Philip King said: “We are delighted to present this second season of Other Voices Courage as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is about bringing people together through music and recognizing the essential and powerful contribution that artists continue to make to our lives. We are inspired by the response here in Ireland and globally to the first season of Other Voices Courage, and our artists and crews have helped to bring beauty, solace, strength and a sense of belonging to people at this time of national and global crisis - is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.

"The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has played a leading and imaginative role in making it possible for our artists and crews to work together to create and present Other Voices Courage.”

Courage has been curated by the team that produces Other Voices and is funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, RTÉ, and IMRO.  

In order to comply with the protection of public health, the Courage project has been designed to minimize travel, contact, and proximity for performers and crew. Producers are using the same protocols as film and television crews who continue to work and provide essential public service during this pandemic. This means using rigorous procedures and processes that comply fully with the Irish Government's regulations and restrictions.

Because of public health regulations, there can be no live audience in the locations where we film the artists, and the only people in the locations will be artists and strictly essential crew.

You can learn more about Other Voices on its website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube pages.

Cormac Begley, Stephanie Keane, Laoise Kelly, and Anna Mieke perform live this Thursday, July 16 at 8 pm IST / 3 pm EST - tune in here!