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Neil Ó Loclainn

NAVIGATOR Artist in Residence announced for Ballina Arts Centre

IMC and Ballina Arts Centre are delighted to announce musician and composer Neil Ó Lochlainn as the first artist in residence for the 2023 NAVIGATOR programme.

The 10-day Navigator Jazz Residency programme was established in 2021, and since then eight musicians have enjoyed bespoke residencies through venue partners Ballina Arts Centre, The Source Arts Centre, Co Tipperary, An Grianán in Co. Donegal and The Courthouse, Co. Wicklow. NAVIGATOR offers jazz and improvising musicians professionally remunerated time and space to develop and perform work, while building creative and professional relationships in new locations.

Neil Ó Lochlainn
is “a musical seeker” (The Irish Times) from Co. Clare. His work is dedicated to exploring the contemporary and the universal in the local. Neil began learning Irish traditional music on the flute and tin whistle at a young age, and studied double bass with David Whitla at the Cork School of Music. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Ensemble Ériu, whose third album 'Stargazer' was listed in Songlines’ 10 essential Irish albums. His chamber ensemble Cuar, which explores composition and improvisation within the framework of Irish traditional music, released their second album ‘Umhaill’ in 2022 to glowing reviews, The Irish Times praising it’s “beguiling blend of Irish traditional music, jazz and contemporary improv” citing Ó Lochlainn as “a post-genre trailblazer”.

Neil Ó Lochlainn said; “I am delighted to get this residency. The opportunity to have the time and space to work on my music in a new environment is always inspiring and I’m looking forward to interacting with the music and artistic community of Ballina”

An excerpt from 'Tairseach' a suite of music inspired by Tommie Potts' The Liffey Banks by Neil O'Lochlainn

Neil is an IMC 30/30 artist, a platform and artist development programme supporting 30 of Ireland's finest improvisers over a year in celebration of 30 years of Improvised Music Company.

Paul Cunningham, Director at Ballina Arts Centre said; “As a multidisciplinary venue we strive constantly to connect the broad community of Ballina in meaningful ways to our artistic programme. Our ongoing association with IMC, and Neils's residency in particular, offers us a great opportunity to do this through a combination of mediated workshops and performative elements. Our intention is to create opportunities for Neil to continue with the development of his new work, and to meet and connect with the wide artistic community of Ballina and north Mayo in a way that inspires both him and those that he interacts with over his stay.”

The NAVIGATOR residency programme is part of IMC's commitment to further develop the national scene for jazz and improvised music, improve artist touring mobility, develop audiences nationwide, and develop creative opportunities and fruitful new relationships for musicians.

Aoife Concannon, Creative Producer with Improvised Music Company said; “It’s always exciting connecting musicians from the jazz and improvised music community with multidisciplinary venues in different parts of the country. We look forward to seeing what comes out of highly versatile creative artist like Neil having the time and space to explore his practice, and how the space, place and people he will meet in Mayo might inform his work.”

The 2023 Navigator jazz residency programme has been expanded to 7 partners across the island of Ireland, with Garter Lane, Waterford, Riverbank Theatre, Newbridge and Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast joining the initial 4 other partners. Three of the residencies are programmed from IMC’s 30/30 programme and the other four residencies by an open call.

Other NAVIGATOR artists will be announced in due course.

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