Therapy Sessions Belfast
"We must create to know
who we can be."
Having adopted this Stephen James Smith line as their motto, The Duncairn Arts Centre strives to create a shared space arts facility that will contribute to North Belfast’s cultural, social, political and economic rebirth.
First Fortnight is excited to have this year’s Belfast edition of Therapy Sessions as part of that contribution.
Buddy Wakefield is an American spoken word artist, a three-time poetry slam world champion, and the most toured performance poet in history. His works have been released by Strange Famous Records, Righteous Babe Records, and Write Bloody Publishing.
Abby Oliveira is a spoken-word poet, writer, performer, and arts facilitator based in the North of Ireland.
She has performed in the mucky fields of festivals such as Glastonbury, Electric Picnic, and Body&Soul, to the the National Concert Hall of Ireland in Dublin as well as internationally.
She has been a contributor to multiple BBC and RTE radio shows over the years: in 2019 she was commissioned by BBC Radio Foyle to write the station’s official 40th birthday poem. In 2018 she was commisioned by producer Conor McKay to contribute poetry to the BBC Radio 4 documentary ’27 Clarendon Street’. In 2017 she was commissioned by producer Alan Meaney to contribute poetry to the RTE radio series ‘Reverberations’
She is currently lyricist/frontwoman of Dublin-based electronic & spoken word band 7 Daughters .
She collaborates extensively with other artists and has worked with musicians/bands such as Mark Graham (King Kong Company), Basork, Marty Coyle, Velvet Alibi, Johanna Fegan, and Birdwoman, as well as with theatre-makers/technicians Hanna Slattne, Patrick J O’Reilly, Gemma Walker, Claire Lamont, In Your Space circus, JP Conaghan, & more.
After winning the Northern Ireland Music Prize in 2016, you’d be forgiven for assuming Ciaran Lavery would then have slowly ridden off into the sunset to quietly join the ranks of iconic Irish singer-songwriters.
Indeed, his debut record ‘Let Bad In’ has clocked up millions of streams. However, if Ciaran’s music tells one central theme, it is one of mould-breaking disruption as he seeks to flip the singer-songwriter genre on its head. Expect themes of helplessness, mental turmoil and dark humour all wrapped up in crafted lyricism and musical punch.
New EP, ‘Another Night at the Self-Indulgence Hotel’, sees Lavery at his most assured and playful. Delivering stark honesty with his tongue firmly in his cheek, this collection is evidence of an artist perfectly comfortable with their place at the centre of the narrative and wanting you to know it.
BLÁNID’s hauntingly powerful voice and confessional, folk-infused songwriting style have been causing a stir in her native Ireland and beyond.
Her first two singles were met with critical acclaim, with combined plays on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Kent and RTÉ 2XM. BLÁNID was also the featured vocalist on Netflix’s anime Witcher film soundtrack (The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf).
Her most recent offering, ‘Bad Decisions’, co-written with fellow Northern Irish songwriter Ciaran Lavery, is an arresting indie-folk/indie-pop track, full of drama and darkness. With soft, delicate vocals from both Ciaran and BLÁNID, as well as introspective and poetic lyricism, the track has had plays on RTÉ Radio 1 and BBC Radio Ulster and Foyle, as well as a feature in The Sunday Life (Belfast Telegraph) – “Bad Decisions is a show stopping song that affirms [BLÁNID] is one of our brightest stars”.
In 2022, BLÁNID performed at an international showcase in Sweden (with a feature on Swedish national TV), Output Belfast and Focus Wales, as well as doing a run of Dublin performances. She will kick off 2023 by supporting American folk icon Judy Collins at the prestigious Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and at TradFest in Dublin, before releasing a string of singles throughout the year. As Earmilk have remarked, BLÁNID is ‘one to watch’.