Review: Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2019, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print
My Darling Clementine at Cathedral Arts Quarter Festival - taken by Trish Keogh-Hodgett

Across various venues in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 2-12 May, Trevor Hodgett witnessed the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and picked out his favourite four artists of the event itself
Patty Griffin’s songs were thematically and stylistically wide-ranging. The empathic Had A Good Reason was inspired by Billie Holiday’s wretched childhood, for example; the currently resonant Boys From Tralee concerned immigration into the US; Bluebeard, one of several songs with a feminist sub-text, derived from a folk tale; and the music contained elements of country, folk, rock, and gospel.
Where I Come From, about her home town which has been blighted by the collapse of its industries, was very affecting. Multi-instrumentalists David Pulkingham and Conrad Choucroun accompanied scintillatingly.
Swearing like a particularly foul-mouthed trooper, delighting in her own outrageousness and singing with huge expressiveness, the larger-than-life Mary Coughlan, backed sensitively by a trio, captivated. Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart was sung with a chilling, heart-piercing bleakness while on Etta James’s I’d Rather Go Blind, Coughlan’s vocals conveyed depths of pain and self-loathing. A sizzlingly erotic I Want To Be Seduced lightened the mood.
My Darling Clementine comprised singers Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish fronting a trio. Original songs like the weepie Our Race Is Won sounded like country classics. No Matter What Tammy Said(I Won’t Stand By Him) was a righteously assertive rejection of Tammy Wynette’s attitude to abusive men.
Finally, fast-rising country-soul singer Yola, backed by a quintet, sang beautifully on the likes of WalkThrough Fire, a song about the redemptive power of love, which, apparently, she wrote after ending an abusive relationship.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email