Lúnasa at the Dukes Theatre

Who said this blog was only about mountains!? I thought I’d diversify a bit and talk about a gig I went to last night.

I was actually looking at what films were on at the Dukes Theatre (literally a few hundred metres down the road from my house) when I spotted that the celtic band Lúnasa were playing. I’d never heard of them before but liked what I read, and at £12 for a student ticket, we couldn’t really go wrong! This was on Wednesday night and so I popped in first thing yesterday morning to see if they had any tickets left for me and Lorna. They did, and luckily for us there were some left right near the front! Lúnasa are a traditional Irish instrumental band, who started playing in 1997. They’ve recorded seven albums and are quite famous in their own country. The name comes from Lughnasadh, an ancient Irish harvest festival.

The gig started at 8pm and they did a few fast and furious sets with plenty of virtuosic twiddly bits leaving us wondering how they moved their fingers so fast. A few softer songs followed and the first half was finished by a tune with a brilliant double bass solo. The second half started with the same vigour as the first before we were treated to a few solo performances, the highlight being a haunting tune played by Cillian Vallely on the uilleann pipes. The uilleann pipes are the national pipes of Ireland and produce a much softer and sweeter tone then the more common Highland bagpipes. A unique blend of chanter (which plays the main melody), drone (the drone in the background) and regulators (keys enabling chords to be played) means some extremely impressive and complex harmonies can be created – they really don’t need any accompaniment! The gig finished with a soft mournful piece called “The Last Pint”.

The mixture of good music and witty banter from the band made it a very enjoyable gig. The Dukes Theatre is a fantastic venue for live music as well – I only wish they would put on more bands!