Small Behaviours – Songs from a Witness Statement at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny – 6th Feb 2023

Small Behaviours – Songs from a Witness Statement.

Written by Kate O’Callaghan.  Arranged by Seamus Devenny and Kate O’Callaghan, in collaboration with Donegal Camerata.
Performed by Kate O’Callaghan, Seamus Devenny and the Donegal Camerata String Quintet at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on February 6th 2023

*Note* The time of this concert has been changed to 7pm

Small Behaviours is the second song cycle inspired by Kate O’Callaghan’s great-grand aunt and her involvement in the 1916 Rising and War of Independence. The first song-cycle, The Girl with The Beret, was a highlight of the 2016 Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival. It drew from the personal stories of Catherine Rooney (nee Byrne), as detailed in her witness statement to the Irish government’s Bureau of Military History.

This current work, Small Behaviours, explores Catherine’s experiences following the Rising in Dublin, including gun-running from Scotland, encounters with British Army troops heading off to war, prison breaks, ambushes and the burning of love letters in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

Working with creative facilitator, Seamus Devenny, and the Donegal Camerata String Quintet directed by Victor Yelamo, this has been a wonderful opportunity for Kate O’Callaghan to engage in a process that has been both personal and commemorative.  The work is very much a reflection on the seemingly ‘small behaviours’ of ordinary women, which ultimately affected far-reaching social change over time.

The Donegal Camerata String Quartet is led by cellist Victor Yelamo, a longtime member of the award-winning Concerto Malaga orchestra and Director of the annual Donegal Chamber Music Festival. The Camerata also includes violinists Orsolya Szabó-Yelamo (also of Concerto Malaga) and Maureen McGranaghan, with Robert Peoples on viola and Micheal McGinty on double bass.

Small Behaviours – Shows Postponed

Sadly, due to the current pandemic restrictions, all Small Behaviours shows in collaboration with Donegal Camerata, due to take place, as part of the 2020 Donegal Bay & Blustacks Festival, at the Abbey Arts Centre and An Grianan Theatre, have had to be postponed for now. Apologies for any inconvenience caused to those who already purchased tickets, full refunds will be available from the venues. We hope to be able to announce rescheduled dates as soon as possible and thank you for your support thus far. Stay safe for now, all the love, Kate x


Small Behaviours – Songs from a Witness Statement

With Kate O’Callaghan, and the Donegal Camerata String Quartet

Written by Kate O’Callaghan. Arranged by Seamus Devenny. Performed by Kate O’Callaghan, Seamus Devenny and the Donegal Camerata String Quartet.

Small Behaviours–Songs from a Witness Statement is the second instalment of Inishowen musician and composer Kate O’Callaghan’s musical response to her great grand aunt Catherine Rooney’s witness statements to the Irish government’s Bureau of Military History, detailing her involvement in the events of Easter 1916 in Dublin, and the subsequent War of Independence. While a previous work, The Girl with The Beret, focused on 1916, Small Behaviours deals primarily with its aftermath.

As such, the new song cycle sees Catherine – a native of Dublin – and her wider family, including her sister and her mother, deeply involved in the events of the War of Independence. From organising gun-running expeditions from Glasgow, to assisting with intelligence work, planned prison escapes and the disposal of documents, including papers captured following the IRA assassinations on Bloody Sunday.

The family home on North Richmond Street, and former abode to James Joyce (featured in his short story ‘Araby’ in the Dubliners), acted as a secret meeting place and safe house. Used to treat and receive wounded Irish Volunteers on many occasions, including the attack on the Customs House in May 1921, it was where one of the first Thompson machine guns brought into the country was assembled and stored.

The work is essentially a reflection on the seemingly ‘small behaviours’ of ordinary women, which ultimately affected far-reaching social change over time.

Album Launch – The Still Beyond

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to everybody who came out to The Still Beyond Album Launch, which took place at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny on 12th July. I had a really lovely night, surrounded by friends and family, both on and off stage. Wonderful opening sets from Ruairi Friel (In Their Thousands) and Brendan Mc Glynn (Colour Sound). Beautiful projected photography from Galway visual artist Vanessa Jordon. All of the talented musicians and guest singers who joined me on the night were just fantastic – Ted Ponsonby, Eddie Lee, Kevin Murphy, Seamus Devenny, Finbarr Doherty, Roisin Harrigan, Sarah Ponsonby, Lorna & Joleen McLaughlin (The Henry Girls), Gary Raymond, Eoghan Holland and members of The Inishowen Gospel Choir.

Funniest part of the night – being left behind backstage (while in the toilet!) after the gig was finished, with all the lights turned out and the building locked up, as everyone else headed to the pub up the road for a celebratory drink – without me! (I got there eventually and unleashed my wrath on them all).

The performance was recorded and mixed by Billy Robinson and filmed by Jeremy Howard and Charlie Doherty.