In two separate fundraiser concerts, local artists from the folk and independent music community came together to raise funds for Palestine.
Last week, Limerick music venue Dolan’s hosted two fundraiser gigs for Palestinian medical aid on Wednesday, November 29, and Sunday, December 3.
Consisting of two vastly different nights, the first of which showcased some of Limerick’s most talented folk and traditional artists, and the second hosting some of Limerick’s most popular indie musicians. The two nights proved the unity between Limerick’s musical communities when dealing with the crisis in Palestine.
In light of the escalation of the conflict in Palestine in October, the Palestinian solidarity movement in Ireland has become widely popular.
Two Irish Artists for Palestine fundraisers in Limerick joined a growing list of fundraiser gigs taking place nationwide, the most popular of which being last week’s Gig for Gaza which saw Lankum, The Mary Wallopers, and Damien Dempsey play to an almost sold out 3Arena.
Nights like these prove the popularity of the Palestinian solidarity movement nationally and last week’s two gigs in Dolan’s displayed the attention and support the movement has gained locally.
November 29 saw Dolan’s upstairs venue host ‘A Night for Palestine’, a more laidback affair showcasing some of Limerick’s premier folk and trad artists. Presented by local artist Emma Langford, the night started with a musical ensemble consisting of artists such as Ann Blake, Phil Ahern of Thick as Thieves, Kate Theasby and Dave Sheehy taking turns on stage with original songs and covers. The first acts of the night were a welcome prelude following the freezing cold many had to endure from the City Centre to get to the venue.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Zoë Lawlor took to the stage upon the conclusion of the musical ensemble. Reminding concert goers of the significance of fundraising and showing solidarity, Lawlor relayed stories she had heard from people who are currently trapped in Gaza. A short piece by Dr El Reid Buckley was also read by Emma Langford, a piece that encapsulated the general sentiment shared by most in attendance in “far more eloquent language than me” according to Langford herself.
The informational part of the evening gave those in attendance vital context as to where their money was going.
With all funds raised by tickets going towards the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, local writer and actor Dan Mooney chose to fundraise for Red Crescent, another organisation doing incredible work in Palestine.
Raising almost €2,000 through a GoFundMe page and cash donations on the night, Mooney’s notably long hair was sacrificed in the name of the cause on the night. Those who donated €10 or more were offered the chance to take a chunk out of the Limerick man’s hair – an offer too good to refuse for most.
Following this, a short video message from Lexi Alexander, famed Palestinian/American film director was also shown which resonated with many emotionally given her close ties to the Palestinian community.
Next up, the main acts of the night took to the stage. Featuring Annie Cheevers, Abe Soare, Róisín El Cherif, Greenshine, and The Whileaways, this portion of the night’s events had the audience’s full attention.
A notable highlight from this segment of the night was Róisín El Cherif. The Palestinian/Irish ambient pop artist, fresh from performing at the ‘Gig for Gaza’ in the 3Arena the night before played a short but impactful set. Accompanied by a fiddle player and pianist, El Cherif’s renditions of Lebanese song ‘Flower of Cities’ and her original song ‘Cinnamon Eyes’ were exceptional and standouts from the night.
Concluding the night with sets from Irish folk legends Greenshine and The Whileaways, the audience was played out with a group performance featuring most of the artists from the night. Symbolising the united front, the Limerick folk scene has established in solidarity with Palestine, the night not only was a display in unanimity but the tangible activism many in Palestinian advocacy groups are calling for.
With ‘A Night for Palestine’ in the rearview, Sunday, December 3, saw Dolan’s full of Palestine supporters.
This night, given the name ‘Saoirse Don Phalaistín’ was a wildly different affair in comparison to the previous Wednesday. Hosting some of Limerick’s finest indie and experimental acts, the night also saw ballad sessions in Dolan’s front bar, however, the Kasbah proved to be the hot spot for most in attendance.
With performances from Aoife Nessa Frances, Sweets, Péist, Windings, and T.A. Narrative, each act left their own distinct sonic imprint on the evening.
Péist were the most unique of the acts on the night. Playing after alt-rock quartet Sweets who were excellent in their own right, Péist took to the stage and filled the Kasbah with swelling, anxiety ridden and unpredictable noise that at times felt too small for the room. With a perfect storm of saxophone, electric bass, and acoustic guitar doused liberally in effects even those with the most attuned ear would struggle to identify, Péist’s chaotically droning sound acted almost as a palette cleanser for the evening that would follow.
Performances from Aoife Nessa Frances and Windings followed, packing out the vast majority of the venue. Playing on opposite ends of the indie spectrum, the former playing a softer, more considered brand of indie and the latter the kind of indie that calls for ear protection.
Closing the night, synthpop duo T.A. Narrative stood to be the name on many concert goers’ lips. Their debut EP, titled Retro Futurism, offers a perfect descriptor to the set T.A. Narrative played, with effervescent synths and vocals with the capacity to be robotic as much as humanely beautiful T.A. Narrative stuck a pin on a successful evening of fundraising.
Before fleeing the scene, I was able to catch organiser Jack Brolly briefly. Echoing the sentiment of many of those in attendance, Brolly offered a poignant note on the fundraiser:
“Nights like these are important, but what’s more important is making sure people stay engaged. Making sure that people don’t get lazy, the real important part of this isn’t necessarily running gigs but keeping a steady, concerted effort on the activist side of things. Putting pressure on the government or whoever not just to call for cease fire but for Israel to be held to account for the genocide they are partaking in in Palestine.”
Overall, it seems that while these fundraisers have been highly effectual in raising awareness for Palestinian solidarity and raising funds for medical aid, there is still an appetite for more activism and advocacy outside of music venues and fundraising events. With this, however, the two nights proved the resounding support Limerick artists have for the Palestinian struggle across all genres and circles.
Though it was never in doubt, both fundraisers asserted the charitable spirit not only in Limerick’s creative communities, but in its inhabitants as well.