Vocalist and artist Ceara Conway has been claimed for her unique use of traditional song and lament in contemporary art, as captured on her remarkable album CAOIN, released earlier this year.

Now Ceara will perform the songs from CAOIN live, touring Ireland this September and October with a band that includes cellist Kevin Murphy viola and fiddle player Ultan O'Brien and pianist Anna Mullarkey.

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We asked Ciara for her choice cultural picks...

FILM

An Cailín Cíun, Colm Bairéad's debut feature adapted from Foster, a short novel by Claire Keegan. The film centres on nine-year-old Cáit, a shy and withdrawn child who receives scant attention or affection from a family ruled by an uncaring patriarch. It is both sad and beautiful and as a fluent Irish speaker, I think it was the first time I’ve felt moved by a film in the Irish language. The Dance by Pat Collins is a riveting spirited film about the work of Micheal Keegan-Dolan and the magic of creativity. I also found the documentary The Real Charlie Chaplin a fascinating insight into how Chaplin’s impoverished childhood informed his work.

MUSIC

My summer soundtracks have included the album Cocooning Heart by Myles O’ Reilly. Myles has an honest straight to the heart way of singing that I love. Soda Blonde, Marvin Gaye, Mick Flannery, Susan O Neill, Harry Styles (As It Was), CMAT, John Francis Flynn, Kevin Murphy and Molly O’Mahony are also on my current playlist.

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BOOK

My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Sally Hayden, journalist and foreign correspondent is a remarkable book that looks at the bigger picture of the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the EU’s and UN’S participation in gross human rights violations. I’m still reeling from it. The Homesick Garden by Kate Cruise O’Brien explores themes of themes explore abuse, relationships, and maturation, I think Kate was a master in her ability to portray the inner mental processes of her characters. Comrades, A Lifetime of Friendships by Rosita Boland is also a fantastic read, it’s a collection of the authors reflections on the different types of friendships she has had throughout her life.

THEATRE

I been a long-time follower and admirer of the choreographer and director Micheal Keegan-Dolan and his company Teac Damhsa. I can’t wait to see MÁM. It tours theatres across Ireland this autumn.

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TV

I think the best series I’ve seen the past few months is Sherwood (BBC) a murder mystery set within the context of a fractured mining community in Nottingham. The acting by the cast (starring Joanne Froggatt and David Morrissey) is superb.

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GIG

The last performance I attended was Crash Ensemble & Sam Perkin’s Children in The Universe (Reactions) featuring their Artist in Residence, Diamanda Le Berge Dramm as soloist, with visuals by Galway native Laura Sheeran. One of the best performances I’ve ever been to. Upcoming gigs include Soda Blonde at the Roisín Dubh, and a hoedown in a barn in Co Clare - yee haw!

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ART

The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now at IMMA (presented in four chapters, and featuring over 200 artworks) is excellent and well worth a visit. The chapter entitled Protest and Conflict looks at how artists have worked to subvert power and use art as a conduit for civil disobedience. Works that stood out for me included pieces by the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment, Sandra Johnston, Eimear Walshe and Grave Blanket by Kathy Prendergast.

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RADIO

John Creedon, John Kelly and Bernard Clarke, my three all-time favourite radio presenters and Ruth Smith’s Simply Folk, alas not on air anymore.

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TECH

I’ve just recently started using an app called Second Nature. I have access to a nutritionist and lots of weekly material that’s teaching me about things like portion sizes, nutrition and recipes. I find it good because it’s quite visual and operates in real time.

THE NEXT BIG THING...

A solution to the national ( and global) housing crisis, it can’t go on like this anymore.

Ceara Conway will play Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr Aran Islands, Co. Galway on Saturday 24th September; Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Co. Kerry on Friday 30th September, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois on Friday 7th October, Mermaid Arts Centre, Co. Wicklow on Friday 21st October, The Belltable, Lime Tree Theatre, Limerick on Saturday 22nd October and Tradition Now at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Wednesday 26th October; plus more to be announced.