Other Voices TV Review

TV Show: Other Voices, RTE, South Wind Blows Production

Episode: Season 9, Episode 5.

Original Broadcast: 11:25pm, 6th March 2011, RTE 2

Usually when musicians are in the rural countryside it’s for one of two reasons; they’re in rehab there or they got lost on the way to the pub. Luckily for any disorientated musicians who may find themselves in either of these categories there is a chance that they may find BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac walking down one of the meandering streets of Dingle enthusing about the latest indie bands.

Other Voices, the brainchild of producer Philip King, brings indie and alternative musicians to the small coastal town of Dingle in Co. Kerry to perform in unique venues around the town, such as the St. James’ Cathedral and, in some instances, the homes of bemused locals. This week sees Illinois native Lissie bring her unique brand of soft rock to the Dingle Peninsula.

St. James’ Church is a surprisingly fitting venue for her to play in, bounding around the makeshift stage all messy blond hair and energetic shuffling. The narrow, silent streets of Dingle seem a world away from what touring musicians are used to, perhaps quieter and not as exciting as the usual city jaunts. “I saw some goats, and some sheep,” Lissie tells Annie Mac in her American drawl.

It seems an odd formula, maybe one that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. The stunning scenery and the quaint, original locations in which the bands perform compliment the music. During the month of the December many musicians, some more well-known than others, descend on the little village usually greeted with enthusiastic locals.

This week also featured an appearance from the English blues duo The Smoke Fairies, who played a stripped back version of their song ‘Storm Song’, aided with only acoustic guitars and their swirling vocals. This was all done to a backdrop of the Dingle landscape, which could be seen through the large floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded the band.

It’s rare to see musicians playing outside of typical gig venues, and rarer still to see them playing gigs in rural areas. But this appears to be what Other Voices does – it takes musicians away from the environment they’re used to, and makes it all about the music. There’s no need for massive orchestral arrangements or a large crew, all that’s needed is a voice, a guitar, perhaps a drum and the video camera to capture it. It’s a simple format, but one that works beautifully.


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