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Fun Size Jazz goes to Limerick

Fun Size Jazz goes on the road this February in collaboration with Limerick Jazz. Nine of Limerick's talented improvising musicians will be working together and in workshop with interactive/community music expert Sam Kavanagh to create engaging shows for young people. They perform to school audiences on the 26th of February, with performances introduced and MC'd by Sam Kavanagh. Fun Size Jazz was developed by IMC and The Ark, to support artists in creating high-quality and engaging jazz performances for young audiences.

Fun Size Jazz in Limerick

Limerick Jazz’s John Daly spoke to us about how Fun Size Jazz seems like a perfect fit for Limerick just now. With Limerick Jazz Festival a bright point on the national calendar, Limerick’s jazz scene “is quite healthy, as we steadily approach our 40th year (2022).”

The interest in jazz for young people may not be there quite yet, but “it’s just because of the word jazz”, and to young audiences on their own terms, he thinks that “kids are so accepting of any kind of music.” Jazz can be a new concept in music and expression for young people, John feels. “It can show them how one can express themselves in many ways when it comes to improv, as jazz musicians are so flexible.”

And what about Fun Size Jazz as a personal development opportunity for the many improvising musicians who make their home in Limerick? John muses on the question, “... many of them won’t have experienced this kind of situation before. But going ‘outside the box’ will be a great learning curve on how one can communicate expressively, and at the same time display their skill set to a young audience.”

February's Shows

From Autumn’s Song to Summer’s Air
Drawing on jazz, pop, improvisation, classical and Irish traditional music, this show takes inspiration from the circle of life as it spins and weaves through songs associated with the changing of the seasons. Working with voice, flute and guitar, the set features solo and group playing of both standards and improvised music. With Rory Keane (guitar), Aoife Doyle (vocals), Chelsea Zimmerman (flute).

All Fun and Games
Playing with music in every sense of the word, this light-hearted romp plays with musicians like a pin-ball machine. Actor Myles Breen ably assisted by the audience will be throwing ideas at the improvising string players, who will juggle it into an exciting musical performance. You might hear battles between jazz & classical music, or a musical adventure taking some weird turns from audience choices! With Kathrine Barnecutt (violin/viola), Peter Hanagan (double bass), and Myles Breen (actor)

Song of the Jungle
Hear the sounds of different jungle animals created on musical instruments, weaving themselves into an exciting jungle song! With Jane Fraser (vocals/electronics), Rory Murphy (bass/keys), Paul Breen (percussion).

A brief history of Fun Size Jazz

Fun Size Jazz was created by Improvised Music Company and The Ark in 2018 as a performance and artist developmental opportunity for established jazz and improvising musicians to support and encourage them to explore creating work for young audiences.

The project stemmed from an original production developed between 2014 & 2016, called Monster Music Improv, which toured across Ireland and the UK in 2016.

Monster Music Improv was a music improvisation and visual performance for children which focused on live improvisation around the theme of monsters, and featured vocalist Lauren Kinsella, guitarist Shane Latimer and illustrator Patrick Saunders.

In 2018, six Fun Size Jazz shows were developed and performed, with Sam Kavanagh introducing performances as MC:

With the Flow - exploring the elements of water, wind and Latin swing! With Filipa Quintino (voice and twirl pipe), Tommy Moore (electric bass and voice), John Moriarty (guitar and double bass), Shane O'Donovan (drums)

String Play - an inventive string duo using improvised music to express everyday experiences such as sleeping, waking, dreaming, conversations, arguments, friendship and travelling. With Kathrine Barnecutt (violin, viola) and Mary Barnecutt (cello, double bass, loop pedal).

Family Sound Recipes - A family of musicians improvising and creating fantastic music together on the spot using the sound ingredients provided by all their various instruments, as well as some live art-making as a part of the performance. Michael Nielsen (guitar), Marta Nielsen (accordion), Oskar Nielsen (drums) & Harriet Nielsen (tin whistle/painting).

Playing the Blues with Ben - A participative performance with an emphasis on fun. Including chances to come up with some lyrics and along the way find out what the AAB 12 bar format is! With Ben Prevo (guitar, vocals, loop pedal).

Space Voyagers - A voyage into space with this band travelling across the planets on the vibrations of sound, communicating through the metaphysical medium of music! With Lioba Petrie (cello, loop pedal, voice), Abigail Smith (voice, viola, other instruments), Dave Redmond (double bass), Phil MacMullin (drums/percussion).

The Smashing Red Kite's Blues - This performance used the children’s story ‘The Smashing Red Kite’ story by Ann Lorraine Mack to bring the blues to life. The music followed the red kite as he leaves the toy shop for a life of adventure. With Emilie Conway (Vocals), Johnny Taylor (Piano), Damian Evans (Bass), Ann Lorraine Mack (Narration/vocals/flute).

Later Developments

In 2019, String Play was expanded and developed, this time including percussionist Matthew Jacobson, and was performed a number of times during the Spike Cello Festival in 2019.

Smashing Red Kite’s Blues and String Play were revisited for Cruinniu na nOg in 2019, with String Play adapted into a workshop and group performance with the young musicians of Tallaght Strings.

String Play was also presented for a number of Dublin schools and delegates from the European jazz industry, as part of Jazz Connective 2019 in the Project Arts Centre.

IMC and The Ark plan to continue Fun Size Jazz projects into the future.

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