It all started in 2002 when we had an idea to bring established international and Irish musicians and emerging talent of every musical genre to Dingle, Co. Kerry to participate in a series of off-season sessions. We wanted to experiment with creativity, to provide the right environment and invite different and interesting artists to get involved and we believed that by doing this, something amazing could happen. So we invited leading names and promising unknowns to perform at St James Church in Dingle and we recorded the concerts. As we suspected it might, something interesting and unique did happen!
Now in its eighth year, Other Voices has grown over the years but it has always remained true to its core and continues to be an exhilarating gathering of musical minds. We mix things up, try different ideas and bring classical, blues, rock & roll, traditional and new styles of music together. It’s about good music rather than a specific sort of music.
The ‘Dingle Concerts’ as they have became known in the musical world, are now sought after gigs with worldwide recognition. Before an audience of approximately 80 souls, a number of sessions are filmed in St James Church every night over 5 – 10 consecutive winter nights. Before, during and after the performances, artistes and locals mix in the pubs, shops, hotels and restaurants of Dingle creating a unique ambiance that is neither overtly commercial nor consciously formed. Many leading contemporary musical stars debuted at Other Voices including, for example, Imelda May, Damien Dempsey, Lisa Hannigan, Bellx1, Glen Hansard, Jape, The Coronas, Duke Special, Fionn Regan and Damien Rice.
For the artistes involved, the town, character and landscape of Dingle provide the backdrop for spontaneous collaborations. Unique partnerships are formed between the most unlikely people, sometimes leading to more sustained creative interactions. Emerging artists are mentored by more established musicians, ideas are exchanged and most importantly, friendships are forged and people have a good time.
Other Voices has an energy and momentum of its own now. When artists visit Dingle, they have a sense of arriving home. They are inspired and more often than not, don’t want to leave! They find the setting energising, restorative and a source of great inspiration.
For the community of Dingle, Other Voices is an important annual event. Although it’s not a festival, it attracts a dedicated audience to Dingle in December, hotels are booked out and restaurants and bars are as busy as during the summer season. The event receives the greatest possible support from local volunteers and the Dingle business, arts and culture communities.
Other Voices is also a phenomenal TV show which has a fantastic reputation with the general public. It is produced by South Wind Blows, broadcast on RTE Two on an annual basis and reaches an audience of a hundred thousand, on average, per week. Viewers feel part of an exclusive audience with some of the most popular and distinctive contemporary writers and musicians in the world.
In 2009, Other Voices will extend its reach through innovative and groundbreaking digital technology that originated in Ireland. Other Voices has established a partnership with Intune Networks which is leading the Irish Government’s programme to build Ireland’s Exemplar Smart Network. In order to showcase a unique technological advance (a distributed telecoms switch based on Optical Burst Switching) that enables mass live simultaneous content downloads without loss of contention, a pilot live transmission of the Snow Patrol Other Voices concert on December 5th will take place. A digital version of the concert will be captured in real-time and distributed locally over the world’s most efficient fibre optic network. The pioneering use of this technology for Other Voices 2009 will validate Ireland’s international reputation as a vibrant, dynamic, innovative society that values its living and traditional culture.