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Scholarcast 7: Globalising Irish Music

Bill Whelan


This lecture examines how contemporary Irish playwrights depict and how they engage the cinematic and narrative patterns we’ve come to associate with American movies. Donal O’Kelly’s Catalpa (1995), Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan (1996), Marie Jones’s Stones in His Pockets (1999), and Geraldine Hughes’s Belfast Blues (2003) grapple with the effects of Hollywood on their characters and on Irish society. Despite frequently depicting individuals thwarted in their pursuit of big screen success, these plays maintain a surprising optimism about Hollywood. This suggests the American film industry provides a productive tool for exploring Irish identity and history in a moment of rapidly changing, globalized popular culture.

Bill Whelan

Bill Whelan graduated from UCD with a law degree in 1973. He joined Planxty in the early 1980s and, with Dónal Lunny, arranged and produced Timedance in 1981. He also produced and arranged for artists such as U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush and Paul Brady. As composer to the W.B. Yeats International Theatre Festival in 1989 he wrote original music for a number of Yeats's plays. In 1994 he composed the music for Riverdance which won him a Grammy Award in 1997. Among his film scores are LambSome Mother's Son and Dancing at Lughnasa. His orchestral works include the specially commissioned pieces,The Ó Ríada Suite (1987), The Seville Suite (1992), and The Spirit of Mayo (1993). His most recent CD, The Connemara Suite, was released in 2008.



Series edited by: PJ Mathews.
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey.
Recording, audio editing, photography and development by: John Matthews, Brian Kelly, Vincent Hoban &
Niall Watts at UCD IT Services, Media Services.
Consultant Producer: Clíodhna Ní Anluain, RTÉ

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