There’s far more to hip-hop in Limerick than the Rubberbandit’s codology. It’s roots run deep. Rashers Tierney had a very late night chat with Shane Curtain, he’s the chair of Make A Move – a community arts festival that you should really mark on your calendar.
Some of the other rabblers were down at Make A Move last year. Reports were good. Can you give us the low down on the origins of the festival?
Back in 2011/12, a large group of community arts practitioners across the city did a training course together. They were looking for projects to work on. Hip hop was identified as culture that had strong roots in all communities in the city. It could be used as a springboard for inclusion and reinvigorating the city centre.
So from the start we had a strong links in communities. Consequently, in the two festivals to date, we’ve had hundreds of young people signing up to do workshops in street art, breakdancing and music production. Along with this, we have brought in a great range of rappers, dancers and graffiti artists to perform for and work with young people across the city. As a festival though, we are evolving and while hip hop is still a guiding force, this year will see us incorporate other aspects of street generated culture. Limerick seems to feature more in rabble than any other place. It also takes more copies hands down than any other city. Is it bad we find that weird? Just what the hell is in the water down there?
There’s a long tradition of alternative media in the city. While most rabblers will have heard of the Limerick Soviet, it’s not as widely known that a lot of the groundwork in radicalising large swathes of the city was done by a very popular publication called The Bottom Dog back in 1917/18. Limerick was one of the first locations in Europe for commercial pirate radio as we know it today.
In the 1930s, two teenagers put a transmitter together, came up with two on-air names- Billy Dynamite and Al Dubbin and started playing the underground music of the time – jazz. The station “City Broadcasting Service” was well received with pubs putting it on every evening for their customers! This year the festival hopes to incorporate an event that will mark that pirate radio spirit.
Hip hop seems be a huge driving force behind the festival. How did it come to be come such a vital scene in Limerick and who are the main players?
Hip hop has been the soundtrack to large areas of the city for quite some time. In terms of artists, the Rubberbandits loom large over any examination and they along with influential hip hop photographer and filmmaker Brian Cross (B+) (who while based in L.A., is from the city) have supported the festival from the start. At moment Limerick has a very vibrant scene in street dance, music production and graff artists.
Personally speaking, I am very excited by the imminent release of Godknows and mynamesisjohn’s debut album (due out in May). On the breaking through front- I would recommend checking the MYC material. Godknows, mynameisjOhn and MYC will all be performing at this years festival.
What’s in the name? Am I missing out on some hip hop 101?
It’s a call to action – pick up a mic, bust a move or just get involved.
So if folks are going to haul ass to Limerick, then what should they definitely check out at the festival?
Well on Thursday 3rd July Deep, a play about clubbing in Ireland in the late eighties, makes its Limerick stage debut. While set around the seminal Sir Henrys sweat night, its theme of the importance of communal dancing spaces, music as a sanctuary from a harsh world and vinyl obsession will resonate with many. On the music front, some of the names mentioned above will take the stage with a host of international names.
The Art strand of the festival has expanded and developed a sister project ‘draw Out – urban exhibitionist’, this project, along with Make a Move will bring the worlds most inspiring Urban Artists to Limerick over the next few months, transforming derelict space and re-imagining our urban landscape. The festival will host the annual Paint Jam (5th July) which will be the most ambitious gathering to date. There will also be film, discussion and talks over the weekend.
Make A Move runs July 3rd to July 6th For more info see their website at www.makeamove.ie