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HAND IN HAND Celebrating Irish and Aboriginal love and friendship in WA


Hand in Hand, the inaugural Kidogo Irish Aboriginal Festival is a celebration of the love stories and friendships shared between Irish people and Aboriginal people in Western Australia. This unique and relatively unknown connection is embraced in a program including live music connecting Irish and Western Australian performers, poetry, books, exhibitions, dance, friendly AFL and GAA football and even a soda-bread versus damper cook-off.

A 10 metre-high mega projection wall will feature a virtual greeting from His Excellency Mr Breandán Ó Caollaí, Ambassador of Ireland to Australia and internationally renowned Irish musicians in a virtual performance from lockdown in Ireland. The program features a mix of free and ticketed events at Kidogo Arthouse, Fremantle, and runs from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14 with a special St Patrick’s Day program on Wednesday, March 17.

Producer and Artistic Director of Kidogo Arthouse, Joanna Robertson said, “This is a celebration of two cultures that has never been done before. There are long familial and friendship connections between the local aboriginal community and the Irish people that arrived in Australia. This festival is an opportunity to recognise them and create new and exciting creative collaborations between Ireland and Australia.”

“We have Irish and Aboriginal musicians songwriting together. Famous musicians in Ireland delighted to perform virtually at this Festival – as they cannot perform and have not been able to do so for months.”

Legendary Irish folk singer-songwriter Luka Bloom will perform virtually on the 10-metre high mega projection wall, as will award winning folk artist Daoiri Farrell (Van Diemen’s Land) and star of the viral airport performance viewed by 17 million people, and critically acclaimed singer songwriter SON (Susan O’Neill). Aboriginal performers include Olive Knight Kankawa Nagarra, the world-travelled, legendary blues singer from the Kimberley, Yabu Band and Dave Milroy & The Wilarra Band.

Yabu Band

Hand in Hand commences on Friday, March 12 at 6pm with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony with Traditional Owner Walter McGuire. It will be followed by a traditional Noongar Dance by Tjukan Keeninyirra (Dancing Sisters) and performances by Yabu Band; music of The Cranberries & The Corrs by Fieldsy & The Corrberries; and visiting Irish musicians and songwriters.

A virtual greeting from His Excellency Mr Breandán Ó Caollaí, Ambassador of Ireland to Australia will screen on the 10 Metre Mega Projection Wall followed by virtual performances by Daoiri Farrell, Luka Bloom and SON (Susan O’Neill). There will be BBQ catering, a singalong and traditional Irish session after the performances. The Warlayirti Artists from Balgo WA will hold an exhibition inside the gallery at Kidogo Arthouse which will be open from 4pm.

On Saturday, March 13 the program is all about the collaboration between Irish and aboriginal musicians and songwriters. Well known WA musicians including Ciaran O’Sullivan, John Barrett, Kenneth Dawson, Lucky Oceans and Brian Rice Dalton will perform live. The 10 Metre Mega Projection Wall will feature virtual performances by Daoiri Farrell, Luka Bloom and SON (Susan O’Neill). This will be followed each night by the premiere of Fremantle-based Irish musician Ciaran O’Sullivan’s animated music video for his new single from his upcoming debut album. The night will end with a singalong and traditional Irish session.

On Sunday, March 14 there will be free events on the lawn and inside Kidogo Arthouse from 11-5pm, including traditional Irish music with Sean Doherty’s Comhaltas branch, an AFL & GAA Friendly Footy game, dance performances, Book Launch of Peter Murphy’s Fenian 63, Fenians Festival readings and the Perth Irish Choir. From 5pm it will be a ticketed event with Ciaran O’Sullivan and Brian Finnemore followed by Dave Milroy, Lucky Oceans, Laura Lee Faith & The Wilarra Band, the 10 Metre Mega Projection Wall features virtual performances by Daoiri Farrell, Luka Bloom, and SON (Susan O’Neill) followed by The Rogues band. The night will end with a singalong and traditional Irish session.

On St Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17, doors open from 4pm with ticketed events from 6pm. There will be live music by superb local Irish musician Donough O’Donovan and his friends, an open mic, a singalong and traditional Irish session, BBQ Catering, the Warlayirti Artists Exhibition, and virtual performances by Daoiri Farrell, Luka Bloom, and SON (Susan O’Neill) projected onto the north facing wall of Kidogo Arthouse.

Hand in Hand Kidogo Irish Aboriginal Festival runs from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14 with a special St Patrick’s Day program on Wednesday, March 17 at Kidogo Arthouse, Fremantle. For more info and to buy tickets head to kidogo.com.au

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