Love Covered at The Ash Sessions

On Sunday, I took part in a wonderful afternoon of music and poetry – The Ash Sessions do Covers of Love at Nick’s Coffee Company in Ranelagh, Dublin. Coffee and Love was the drug.

The Ash Sessions is the brainchild of poet and writer, Dimitra Xidous – a series of themed events showcasing the work of upcoming writers, poets and musicians, with it’s name taken from a Leonard Cohen quote:

”Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”

For Covers of Love, participants were invited to perform their favourite love song or poem, alongside some of their own work on the same theme. The location, the seating area outside Nick’s Coffee (hence the heart-shaped hot water bottle), makes an Ash Session a semi-public affair, luring in passers-by with word and song, while they queue for coffee or take an afternoon stroll.

And what a treat they had on Sunday!

Poetry performed by Dimitra, Daniel Wade, Fiona Bolger, Clara Rose Thornton and Angela T Carr (um, me), covering love by Leonard Cohen, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead, TS Eliot and Edwin Morgan.

Music by Suzanne McEnaney, Neev Kennedy, Carol Faherty, Christian Collins and Mongoose, covering The Cure, Wallace Bird, Bon Iver, Abba and more, with a rousing rendition of ‘My Lovely Horse’ to finish.

Please do check out the links to all these fabulous performers – this was my first time dipping my toe into the poetry, performance and music scene in Dublin and I was really blown away by the talent. And a big thank you to Dimitra for not only creating these opportunities but doing it in such a delightful way!

As well as the performance sessions, Nick’s Coffee also hosts the Ash Wednesday series – How to Speak Poetry, where a new poem is displayed each week on the blackboard outside the coffee shop, bringing new writing and poetry to the streets of Dublin. The 2014 series so far has included fabulous poems from Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Stephen Murray, Elaine Feeney, Christodoulos Makris  and Sarah Clancy.

It’s great to see independent small businesses embracing the arts and defining their brand with these kinds of initiatives, and poets like Dimitra, seeking out innovative collaborations to make poetry more accessible.

The next Ash Sessions event will take place on March 5th at the Ranelagh Arts Centre (as part of their Spring Salon) and will feature poets showcased in the Ash Wednesday Series – How to Speak Poetry.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for 2 other projects from Dimitra in the next few months – the second issue of The Pickled Body, an online magazine of poetry and illustration, edited in collaboration with writer, Patrick Chapman (due out in April) and the launch of her debut poetry collection, ‘Keeping Bees’ by Doire Press in Spring 2014.

Photos by Dimitra Xidous / Angela Carr.

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