MusicTown 2019

MusicTown 2019 – Dublin, 5th – 21st April

The programme for MusicTown 2019 has been announced, bringing two weeks of
concerts, masterclasses, collaborations and workshops to Dublin this April

MusicTown also features a special one-week children’s programme, MusicTown Jr. Tickets go on sale tomorrow Thursday 7 February at 9am.

Today, details of the programme for MusicTown 2019 were announced. An eclectic 2-week musical celebration, this year MusicTown applauds collaboration and diversity in all its forms. From 5th – 21st April artists from across the musical spectrum will gather in Dublin to collaborate and create unforgettable musical moments. An exciting new addition to the programme this year will see a specially curated programme of events for children, MusicTown Jr, run from 5th – 12th April, encouraging music lovers of all ages to take part.

Audiences can look forward to:

  • A very special evening of collaborations with Damien Dempsey and guests marking his recent album Union
  • A unique presentation based on a suite of poems by Dermot Bolger which depicts many 20th century traditional Irish musicians, My Father’s Kind, from Macdara Yeates, weaves a tapestry of music and words in celebration of a bygone generation of Irish artists.
  • The ever intriguing Blindboy podcast live at Vicar Street,
  • A one-hour introduction to the Deadly World of Opera from Irish National Opera,
  • The Irish premiere of Grey Area a skateboarding film with live original score by the acclaimed Sam Perkin performed by Crash Ensemble, alongside a number of skateboarding events and photography exhibition.
  • Contemporary ensembles Glasshouse & Sfiiinx present Songs from Below – a new arrangement of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Orphée.
  • A screenwriting workshop with artist / filmmaker Anne Maree Barry inspired by the Music Library, as part of Padraic Moore’s exhibition The Last Great Album of the Decade and accompanying…
  • Walking tour with Dónal Fallon that engages with the city’s architectural fabric and encourages consideration of the informal organisations and social structures that emerge around and within music scenes.
  • Radiohead Reimagined will see Echo Collective play Amnesiac at the National Concert Hall Studio, and
  • Wooden Elephant play Kid A at the Grand Social.
  • Nialler9 and Seven Quarters present a 14+ daytime gig on Record Store Day featuring performances from some of Ireland’s best new acts. Dublin is Sound has also pressed a limited edition 12” vinyl record to mark the event.
  • Under My Garage is presented by Macdara Yeates and will explore the work of acclaimed music video maker Bob Gallagher.
  • Junior Spesh returns to MusicTown with Sounds of the Diaspora II and an all ages music workshop earlier that day.
  • Powerful young spoken word artist Natalya O’Flaherty brings her show ‘More than Words’ to the Sugar Club with special guests.
  • A special double bill with Junior Brother and PowPig to celebrate their forthcoming joint release.
  • Music Together present newly composed Trees – with video combining forest sounds and images of trees providing the backdrop.
  • A number of events from the Royal Irish Academy of Music including Director’s Choice, Making the Grade: Screening and Masterclass and RIAM Young Scholar’s concert.
  • A jam packed MusicTown Jr programme which will include the Big Free Family Gig: Stomptown Brass presented by The Ark in Meeting House Square, Contemporary Music Centre present Our Tunes, a choral walking tour for all the family and their teddies alongside a host of wonderful events from RIAM including Meet the Orchestra, Tales from the Shadows and My First Concert.

Brought to you by Dublin City Council and Aiken Promotions, the programme covers an array of musical styles and genres. Setting out to explore and celebrate the diverse constellation of music cultures that exist in Dublin City, MusicTown aims to unify the city, making its music relatable and accessible, instilling a sense of pride in Dublin’s musical heritage, whilst welcoming newcomers and visiting artists.

Booking for ticketed (both free and paid) events opens at 9am Thursday 7th February.

MusicTown 2019

Full programme details:

Damien Dempsey Union – Fri 12th April – Vicar Street

MusicTown are proud to present a unique evening with Damien Dempsey, as he performs tracks with special guests (tba) from his standout new album Union as well as classic tracks from his much loved catalogue.

Union, the album, is a collection of 14 songs, features 7 new tracks plus new and re-imagined classic tracks from Damien’s recording career featuring sonic collaborations with 3 generations of Damien’s favourite vocalists including Finbar Furey, Imelda May, John Grant, Moya Brennan, Maverick Sabre, Pauline Scanlon and Sinead O’Connor amongst others.

Guests for this unique evening at Vicar Street are yet to be announced. Keep updated at Tickets €42 available from Ticketmaster.

Macdara Yeates – Under My Garage – Thurs 18th April – Button Factory

Under My Garage is an evening of discussion, music and live visuals exploring the work of Irish music video director Bob Gallagher. Described by Werner Herzog as “a good soldier of cinema”, Gallagher’s music video won him wide critical praise, a host of international awards and a unique place in the Irish music scene, working with acclaimed Irish acts Villagers, Saint Sister, Girl Band, Soak, Myles Manley and more, his darkly comic style inviting comments like “lyrical” and “forensically evil” from Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis.

Now, for one night only, Gallagher invites you on a journey the through his subconscious, transforming the Button Factory into the set of a fictional late night talk show where we will meet some of his closest collaborators, watch some never-before-seen footage and find out what makes the Dublin director tick. Warning: it will be weird.


Conor O’Brien Pillow Queens, Daniel Fox (Girl Band), Cal Folger Day, Myles Manley & more, with music from the Under My Garage House Band. Tickets €15 from

Macdara Yeates – My Father’s Kind – Thurs 18th April – Tailor’s Hall

My Father’s Kind is a collaboration between some of Ireland’s finest contemporary traditional musicians and one of the country’s most beloved literary figures, Dermot Bolger. Based on a suite of poems by Dermot Bolger which depicts many 20th century traditional Irish musicians including Séamus Ennis, Mary Ann Carolan and Johnny Doherty, My Father’s Kind weaves a tapestry of music and words in celebration of a bygone generation of Irish artists, exploring not just their iconic music but the real lives and humanity behind the loved and celebrated figures.

Musicians include; fiddler and composer Danny Diamond whose collaborations range from Irish-Nordic trio Slow Moving Clouds to the poet Tom French; traditional singer and composer Macdara Yeates, whose credits include critically acclaimed folk ensemble Skipper’s Alley and theatre companies Mouth on Fire and THEATREClub; and Síle Friel, renowned piper, flautist and vocalist with The Friel Sisters who shares Donegal and Scottish heritage. 8pm, Tailor’s Hall, Back Lane, D8, tickets €19.50 from

The Blindboy Podcast –Sat 6th & Sun 7th April – Vicar Street.
Join Blindboy and his musician guests for 2 nights in Dublin’s Vicar Street for an intimate, live podcast. Blindboy’s increased notability away from his band Rubberbandits, has allowed for him to explore wider avenues and create perhaps outrageously mind-altering brainchildren which can only be described as courageous, yet bonkers. Outspoken, informed and empathetic, Blindboy engages his audience with an unusual touch of realism. There is a very authentic feeling of “freedom” he exhumes which allows his listeners and participants to openly speak their mind without judgement and no topic off limits. His latest innovative creation, The Blindboy podcast, reaches into a wide spectrum of current topics.

Irish National Opera present THE DEADLY WORLD OF OPERA – Fri 12th – Sun 14th April – various venues as below.
In this free show let INO will introduce you to a truly amazing art form. Over the course of an hour, artists from the INO studio will perform operatic music spanning several hundred years as well as guide us through some of the curious terminology and traditions. Absolutely no prior experience of opera is needed, just a willingness to try something different! Free but ticketed via

Fri 12th April 8pm – Richmond Barracks, Inchicore
Sat 13th April 2pm – Sean O’Casey Community Centre, Eastwall
Sat 13th April 8pm – St. John The Baptist, Seafield Road West, Clontarf
Sun 14th April 2pm – Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun
Sun 14th April 6pm – Smock Alley Theatre

Music Together present TREES – Wed 17th April – Sheriff Street Community Centre

Inspired partly by theories in A Day In The Life Of The Brain by Susan Greenfield, the group explores the theme in two songs – Trasna na dtonnta, a traditional song picturing the image of a fine sunny seascape as an escape from loneliness and separation, and Trees, a newly composed song identifying freedom from internal conflict with forested landscapes. Performed against a video backdrop of forest sounds and images of trees.

2pm, Sheriff Street Community Centre, Free.

MusicTown presents JUNIOR BROTHER & POWPIG – Thurs 18 April – The Grand Social

An idiosyncratic, challenging and richly lyrical singer/ songwriter, Junior Brother is the pseudonym of 24 year-old Co. Kerry, Ireland native Ronan Kealy. Fusing elements of Irish and English folk with a deeply unique sensibility, Kealy has steadily built a dedicated fanbase in his current residence of Dublin, broadening his listenership further with each release.

Born outside Killarney, Co. Kerry, Kealy developed a strong love of music from an early age, writing his first song at 9 years old after having taught himself guitar on a banged-up nylon acoustic. A short spell studying English in University College Cork helped Kealy to foster his unique and striking poetic voice, taking his Junior Brother moniker from a character in Jacobean play “The Revenger’s Tragedy”, a work Kealy studied there.

With the crucial addition of foot tambourine to his musical set-up, Kealy eventually moved to Dublin to briefly study music, before releasing his highly acclaimed second EP “Fuck Off I Love You” in 2016, earning plays and plaudits on 2fm, Radio Nova, Dublin’s 98fm among others. He is currently in the middle of recording his debut album, engineered and recorded by Chris Barry (Myles Manley, Ye Vagabonds, Cat Palace).

His new single, The Back Of Her, with a video shot by Myles O’Reilly, is out now, ahead of an album in 2019 on Strange Brew.

PowPig are a four-piece from Limerick City; Anna Marie Rooney, Andreea Mocanu, Laura Drennan and Leah O’Donnell and were formed in May 2017.

Their second EP, “Buzz Buzz” was released in May 2018 and has made this 4 piece ever more popular, with more recordings on the way. Having supported acts such as The Strypes, Pillow Queens, Mongoose, whenyoung and Paddy Hanna, PowPig have also played The Irish Times podcast with Roisin Ingle, plus a late night slot at Body&Soul festival and have scored a new Artist of the Week write-up in The Irish Times. Always in demand, PowPig have played an impressive range of venues all over the country such as Whelans, The Workman’s Club, Roisin Dubh, Dolans , DeBarra’s to mention but a few. Not a bad first year for these teens! 8pm, The Grand Social tickets €12 from

Crash Ensemble present Grey Area (Irish premiere) by Sam Perkins – Fri 19th April, alongside a series of skateboarding related events / exhibition.
Grey Area is a skateboarding film with live original score, shot and edited by skate photographer and videographer Niall O’Byrne, with music by young Cork composer and skater Sam Perkin, performed by Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s leading new music group. This MusicTown performance will be the works Irish Premiere.

Crash Ensemble will also perform Donnacha Dennehy’s Glamour Sleeper which featured on the recent Adidas skate campaign, and AND JUMP FROM THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE by Jennifer Walshe which has the ensemble learn to skate.

The evening will start at 7pm with the screening of Saint Denis the skate documentary directed by Phil Evans (free entry), with the concert starting at 8.15pm (€15), The Complex, 21-25 Arran St East, booking at

Nialler9 and Seven Quarters present Dublin is Sound – Sat 13th April – The Grand Social
Dublin Is Sound is a 14s+ daytime gig on Record Store Day featuring performances from some of Ireland’s best new acts including Pillow Queens, Squarehead, God Knows (Rusangano Family) and Tebi Rex. The gig will give those who are 14 years of age plus the opportunity to witness four of Ireland’s best new music acts and to start their vinyl collection. Advance ticket buyers will receive a limited edition 12″ vinyl record on the day featuring tracks from the acts. The vinyl is pressed in the city by Dublin Vinyl with specially-designed artwork by Dublin based designer Ruan Van Vliet in response to the music.

12.30pm Doors, 1pm show, The Grand Social, Tickets €12 (with limited edition 12″ record) // €10 without, available from

The Last Great Album of the Decade – from March to May
MusicTown coincides with an exhibition at The LAB, entitled The Last Great Album of the Decade. Featuring new work by four outstanding artists; Anne-Maree Barry, Declan Clarke, Alan Phelan and Clíodhna Timoney, this exhibition investigates intersections between visual art and musical culture. The Last Great Album of the Decade is co-curated by Sheena Barrett (Curator, The LAB Gallery) and Pádraic E. Moore (independent curator). The LAB, Foley Street, March to May 2019.

Music City: A walking tour with Dónal Fallon – Sat 13th April – meeting at The Lab.
Pádraic E. Moore presents (In conjunction with the Last Great Album of the Decade, at The LAB) this walking tour responding to and ​engaging with the city’s architectural fabric visiting several venues and sites of musical and social significance. 15:00 – Meeting at The LAB, Foley Street, free but places limited, booking essential.

Dublin City Libraries present Emerging Artists featuring Lugosi & No More Questions – Sat 13th April – Central Library.
As part of The Music Library’s Emerging Artists series, Dublin City Public Libraries presents Lugosi and No More Questions for an afternoon of music, song and chat with compere Marky Edison (Musos’ Guide). 2.30pm, The Music Library, Central Library, ILAC Centre, an all-ages event, free, booking essential via email [email protected] or 01-8734333

Word Up Collective presents Natalya O’Flaherty ‘More Than Words’ plus guests – Sun 14th April – The Sugar Club.
Guests include: Local Boy & Sick Nanley (DJ Set), Tebi Rex, Marcus Woods
Already established as one of the most exciting names in Irish spoken word, Natalya O’Flaherty has emerged from the dankest of dive bars of the Dublin scene perform at some of the country’s most prestigious cultural centres and exciting events. Her words carry hard hitting notions and criticisms of modern Ireland tackling everything from (so called) daddy issues to drug abuse. An appearance as part of the St Patrick’s Day Festival Young Blood concert at the National Concert Hall brought her to the attention of many, especially the Word Up Collective – whom she joined in 2018. Performances followed at the GPO, RTE Culture Night (at the request of Laureate na nÓg Sarah Crossan) Electric Picnic, Red Bull’s Free Gaff, First Fortnight Festival and Camden Irish Centre. 8pm, The Sugar Club, tickets €10 + booking fee (early bird) / €15 + booking fee.

Screenwriting workshop inspired by the Music Library with Anne Maree Barry – Tues 16th April – Central Library.
Artist and filmmaker Anne Maree Barry invites participants to explore storytelling, writing, art and film making in this workshop. Anne Maree Barry makes site-specific film works that address connections between memory and loss, geography, history and architecture and her work features in ‘The Last Great Album of the Decade’ at The LAB Gallery. 1pm, Central Library, Ilac Centre, free but ticketed, booking essential via

Junior Spesh Presents Sounds of The Diaspora – All Ages Concert & Workshop – Sat 6th April – The Sugar Club
This event will aim to engage a young and old audience and present the benefits of diversity and integration within Irish music, visual arts and education. Featuring music and workshops designed for kids (and adults) to enjoy, learn and engage with the cultural language of the Diaspora. 2pm, The Sugar Club, tickets €15 + booking fee

Islander Presents Radiohead Reimagined – Echo Collective Play Amnesiac – Sat 20th April – NCH
“Post-classical”, “neo-classical”, “non-classical”: nobody knows what to call this music – but Neil Leiter and Margaret Hermant, aka Echo Collective, don’t mind one bit. Orchestral instrumental music from outside the classical establishment has become huge over the past few years, and Brussels based Leiter and Hermant have witnessed the evolution and extraordinary rise of this movement right up close. Without prejudice, without over-reverence, without particularly caring about genre boundaries – but always with utmost seriousness – they take on challenges set by others and put their own mark on them, they dig for the musical motifs that work for them. In short, track by track, performance by performance, they are evolving into a musical act with a distinct voice of their own. 8pm, The Studio at The National Concert Hall, tickets €16.50,

Islander Presents Radiohead Reimagined – Wooden Elephant play Kid A – Sun 21st April – The Grand Social
International ensemble Wooden Elephant, rework seminal ‘pop’ albums in new and inventive ways. They present electronic-based music of elephantine proportions on nothing but their wooden instruments and also feature the acclaimed Irish traditional and classical violinist Aoife Ní Bhríain. So far they have arranged, recorded and toured two major albums of the last twenty years: Bjork – Homogenic, Radiohead – Kid A, Beyoncé – Lemonade. 8.30pm, The Grand Social, tickets €16.50 from

A number of events presented by the Royal Irish Academy of Music – Director’s Choice, Making the Grade: Screening and Masterclass & RIAM Young Scholar’s Concert

RIAM presents Director’s Choice – Sun 15th April
MusicTown audiences can look forward to another ‘Choice’ programme from the Royal Irish Academy of Music in April 2019. Following the success of the RIAM’s presentation, Writer’s Choice, in New York, Dublin and Paris throughout 2017, and Artist’s Choice in Dublin and New York in 2018, the Academy will mount a similar collaborative programme in 2019, on this occasion entitled Director’s Choice. In 2019, it is the turn of some of Ireland’s most distinctive theatre directors to nominate musical works of special personal significance to them and to have them performed by exceptional musicians from the Royal Irish Academy of Music. 3pm, Royal Irish Academy of Music, €10 / €6 concessions via

RIAM Percussion Ensemble 21st Anniversary celebrations – Sun 15th April
Led by Richard O’Donnell and comprising some of Ireland’s finest young percussionists, the RIAM Percussion Ensemble is one of the leading exponents of music for this exhilarating medium. During MusicTown 2019, this dynamic ensemble celebrates its 21st Birthday in style with a feast of percussion at the Academy. Drumming at the RIAM features workshops, open rehearsals and array of pop-up performances and culminating in a highly charged concert featuring George Crumb’s iconic Madrigals constructed from fragments of poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca. A rousing celebration of all things percussion by the compelling RIAM Percussion Ensemble and its dynamic director, Richard O’Donnell. From 5pm culminating in concert at 7.30pm, Royal Irish Academy of Music, tickets €8 / €6 concessions

RIAM Young Scholar’s Concert – Wed 17th April
The RIAM Young Scholars Programme is an immersive music education programme to support highly motivated and exceptionally talented school-age students. A chance for audiences to enjoy a veritable feast of music performed by some of tomorrow’s brightest musical stars. 7pm, Royal Irish Academy of Music, free

One of the most exciting elements of MusicTown 2019 is the addition of a children’s programme – MusicTown Jr. running from 5th – 12th April with both performances and workshops. They will include:

Fri 5th – Sun 7th April The Ark Presents BIG BANG Dublin – an International Festival of Adventurous Music.
The first festival of its kind in Ireland, BIG BANG Dublin will bring you amazing music events for children aged 2 to 12. Expect a colourful and curious programme full of different styles of music by musicians from Ireland and from across Europe. This 3 day BIG BANG Dublin musical celebration will end on Sunday 7th April with a free outdoor performance for family audiences, The Big Free Family Gig: Stomptown Brass (For ages 5+) an energetic and upbeat brass street performance in Meeting House Square (2.30pm – 4pm, free but booking required – (BIG BANG Dublin is presented by The Ark in collaboration with Zonzo Compagnie with the support of the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union).

Sat 6th April Dublin Choral Foundation presents OLD McDONALD’S FARM – A CHORAL WALKING TOUR
Join in this musical walking tour with choirs Dublin Choral Foundation, Piccolo Lasso and The Lassus Scholars, commencing at 12 noon at South King Street and strolling across the city centre, stopping at South William Street, Andrew Street, Temple Bar Square, Millennium Bridge, The Italian Quarter and finishing on Wolfe Tone Square. Children are invited to bring along their favourite toy animals – and also other dolls and teddies to meet the animals – and join with the singers in visiting ‘Old McDonald’s Farm in song! This is a free drop-in event.

The RIAM presents a chance to Meet The Orchestra.
Conductor, James Cavanagh and the exuberant members of the RIAM Intermediate Orchestra invite young and old alike to help them put the oom into oom pah pah during the Academy’s perennially popular Meet the Orchestra event. For anyone who has ever wanted to blow their own trumpet, try out a tuba or toot a flute, this engaging morning event offers a rare opportunity to meet and mingle with the colourful families of the Orchestra. During the event, teachers and students of the Academy will demo’ a wide range of wind instruments and even offer some of the aspiring musicians present an opportunity to try out their own personal favourites! 11am, St Andrew’s Church, Westland Row, tickets €8 / €6 concessions

Sun 7th April

The RIAM presents My First Concert
Join a host of very young musicians as they take their first steps onto the concert platform for their début concert performance. A perfect opportunity for audiences to bring their little ones to see our little ones and share this special first concert experience both on – and off – stage. 12 noon, Royal Irish Academy of Music, free,

Tales From The Shadows
Presented by the RIAM in association with the Dublin-based theatre group, Tales from the Shadows, this special two-performance event at the Royal Irish Academy of Music sees the oral tradition of storytelling combine with the visuals of shadow puppetry in an anthology style production based on folklore and urban legends originating in Dublin. The show will appeal to “mature children and childish adults” alike, as well as those with a taste for gothic stories. 11am & 2pm, free,

Wed 10th April
9.30am, Contemporary Music Centre, free event, limited to participating schools only.

For more on all of these events, visit

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