Irish Ears are smiling!

Sounds Alive Listening Party

Sounds Alive returns with a unique listening event celebrating some of the most talented Irish radio makers on the airwaves today. On June 20th the winners of the New York Festivals International Radio Programme Awards will be announced. The Irish are well represented this year and while those shortlisted cross their fingers and prepare their acceptance speeches, we’ll be speaking to four of this year’s Irish finalists with a very special listening party.

Sit back in your velvet surrounds,  don your blindfolds and maybe even sip on a delicious cocktail as we bring you four very different radio stories all worthy of a night of their own.

The results of the Awards will be published on June 20th so this is the perfect chance to hear some brilliant Irish radio, meet its makers and explore how it was made, all in the gorgeous surrounds of the Liquor Rooms. Tickets are available here.

Sounds Alive Listening Party this Tuesday

Random Tape Join us this Tuesday upstairs in Odessa  for an evening of compelling stories told through sound as we curate an evening of exciting radio docs, features & found sound from around the world. We’ll be talking to LA based producer, David Weinberg(99% Invisible, Marketplace) the creator of RandomTape who are running a competition at this year’s inaugural Tape Fest that’s all about celebrating the audio odditites that can be found in forgotten & abandoned tape. We’re also delighted to introduce the radio series, Zoo Diaries, produced by Colette Kinsella for ABC’s amazing Radiotonic series. The four part series introduces audiences to the animals & humans who’ve made DublinZoo their home and was shortlisted for Best Sound at the upcomming International New York Awards. All this & the fact that you get to hang out with an audience of radio & podcast obsessed listeners makes for a fun night and a fun listen.

Early booking is recommended as last month’s listening party with Love + Radio sold out so secure your spot & reserve your tickets today.  Book tickets here


The Listening Rooms 11am-6pm

Saturday, 6th of September – Free Entry

As well as a series of events in the Grand Lodge, Sounds Alive will also host a series of free listening rooms showcasing the best in documentaries, radio, podcasts and found sound.  These include listening rooms in the Freemason’s Egyptian themed room, the Gothic styled Knights Templar Chapel & the ornate Prince Mason’s Room. All three of these spaces will be open to the public for free & transformed into listening rooms where listeners can drop in during the day, listen to a selection of specially curated documentaries & features from around the world. This also includes a special room curated by the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queens University in Belfast & featuring three fixed media installations that have woven together sound with story.

The Moth StorySLAM Workshop 12-1pm

Saturday 6th September Grand Lodge Room. Tickets 6 euro or free with a Sounds Alive day pass. The Moth is a Peabody Award winning storytelling organisation whose radio programme attracts millions of listeners every year from around the world. It’s also a New York Times Best Seller, a series of outreach & education programmes, and has attracted stories from everyone, from Salman Rushdie to Gabriel Byrne.  The real heart of it however can be found at it’s StorySLAM series.  The idea is simple, get up & tell a story that must be true, personal and related to a chosen theme of the night and  for the first time ever outside the US The Moth are starting up a brand new StorySLAM series right here in Dublin this October.  Presented by the Producing Director of The Moth, Sarah Austin Jenness, this event will introduce audiences to the concept behind the StorySLAM series, what exactly goes into telling a great true story and how to tell it live onstage. Tickets are available here.

SARC presents Sounds of the City 2-3pm

Saturday 6th of September Tickets 6euros or free entry with a Sounds Alive Day Pass. 

Professor Pedro Rebelo and Matilde Meireles.

Moderated by SARC’s curator, Dr. Franziska Schroeder alongside Clare Cronin 

Last January a team of researchers from the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast travelled to one of Rio De Janeiro’s largest favelas to record everyday life experiences through sound. The project was called Som da Maré – A Participatory Sonic Arts Project and for 5 months the team focused on gathering sounds, scenes and interviews with some of the 130,000 residents living in an area of about 2 square miles. The project tried to capture the sounds of everyday life but it also took place at a time Maré was undergoing huge changes. In March 2014, Special Forces moved in to occupy the slum in an attempt to suppress gangland activity as part of an overall campaign to regain control from drug-gangs based here. As well as presenting the colourful everyday sounds of the residents of Maré, the project also featured the sounds of a city being taken over by the military, the gangland response and the lives of local residents caught up in between.

A group of over thirty participants which included Maré residents, their families and students from Rio’s Federal University (UFRJ) worked together on the project which culminated in three sound installations in the Museum of Maré, situated in the favela itself, alongside guided sound walks in Rio’s city centre.

The panel will explore the different methods used as well as video & audio excerpts of this remarkable sound project. The Panel will also examine the project’s predecessor, Belfast’s Sounds of the City created at SARC which included the creation of Belfast’s own soundmap before finally exploring how perhaps Dublin, can create one of its own.

Tickets are 5euros ex handling charge & available here.

The project was led by Prof Rebelo with Matilde Meireles and Tullis Rennie.



Sounds of the City is possible thanks to support from



Women on Air presents Voices 3.30- 4.45pm

Audrey Carville presents the work of three different female radio makers who will also talk about their craft & the challenge and rewards involved working in radio.

Saturday 6th September   Grand Lodge Room        Tickets 6euros or free with an a Sounds Alive All Day pass.

Hosted by RTE’s Audrey Carville, audiences will hear a selection of compelling work from some of Ireland’s leading female radio makers including Broadcaster Orla Barry, award winning documentary makers Nuala Macklin & Chair of the Association of Independent Radio Producers of Ireland, Colette Kinsella. The session will explore the incredible work of these innovative & pioneering programme makers and what it means to be a female radio maker. Tickets are available here.

Orla Barry

Orla Barry is a national radio broadcaster with Newstalk106-108FM and a Broadcast Journalist with the BBC World Service.mShe is an accomplished documentary maker and her programmes have featured on BBC Radio Four, NewstalkFM and international radio stations. Her documentaries include Dying for a Baby, (the danger of Infertility in Uganda), What’s That Noise (The influence of rap music on young people in urban Tanzania) and Writing for Change (The culture of reading and writing in Ethiopia). Orla has also documented the experience of Irish women travelling to the UK for an abortion. Her most recent documentary Hail Marys and Mini Skirts broadcast on BBC Radio 4 told the story of the Irish women who moved to Britain in the 50s/60’s and whose stories had mostly been overshadowed by tales of the ‘Irish men who built Britain.’

Colette Kinsella

Before getting into radio, Colette Kinsella worked variously as a food hygiene trainer, translator and English teacher, as well as a subeditor for a Middle-Eastern weekly newspaper. She has been telling radio stories since 2009 and has produced reports, inserts, documentaries and features for RTÉ, Newstalk, BBC, ABC, and WDR5 in Germany. She recently co-produced and co-presented RTÉ Radio 1’s science series What’s It All About. She has also picked up a couple of awards along the way. One of her big interests is science, but she is happy to be grabbed by a really good story, regardless of the topic.

Nuala Macklin

Nuala Macklin- A graduate of the Masters in Journalism and Masters in Communication & Cultural Studies programmes at DCU, Nuala has worked as a team reporter on RTE Radio 1’s Morning Ireland programme, and currently works as a radio documentary maker and freelance journalist writing for publications including the Irish Times.
She received the prestigious Association of International Broadcasting Creative Feature award (Gold) 2013 for her radio series, ‘Below the Radar’, which was first broadcast on Northern Sound FM radio. The six part series of 45 minute programmes gives listeners a unique and enjoyable insight into the life and work of The Horse Whisperer, Bee-keeper, Archaeological Diver, Lighthouse Keeper, Thatcher and World Champion Hot Air Balloonist.

Women on Air

Women on Air is a voluntary networking group that runs seminars and informal training workshops to help give women the skills and confidence to go on radio and television. It was started in summer 2010 by journalist Margaret E. Ward. All women involved – from the presenters to committee members  – volunteer their time to ensure a greater diversity of voices on the airwaves.


SARC presents Soundweavings live Performance 5-6pm

Saturday 6th September                            Various Rooms                           Free Entry

The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) will showcase an improvisation event with musicians distributed across several rooms and floors of Dublin’s Freemasons. Amongst the improvisors will be Paul Stapleton on his purpose-built BONSAI sound sculpture and Franziska Schroeder will feature on saxophone. A collective of authors of the recent publication on improvisation in music, entitled  “Soundweaving: Writings on improvisation, Cambridge Scholars Publishing” will contribute text excerpts and improvised snippets from the book as part of this unusual distributed sound event.
This performance weaves stories of texts and sounds, while asking the audience to move freely between spaces.
Curated by SARC for Soundsalive.ie 
Launch of  “Soundweaving: Writings on improvisation” – eds. Franziska Schroeder, Mícheál Ó hAodha, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. 

Celebrating Stories told throught sound

I’ve been running these Sounds Alive events every Culture Night since 2011 with the hope to take the medium of radio stories out of the box and present it to a roomful of strangers with the lights turned down.

I’ve been running these Sounds Alive events every Culture Night since 2011 with the hope to take the medium of radio stories out of the box and present it to a roomful of strangers with the lights turned down. In the past I’ve hosted sessions with everyone from the RTE Radio Doc on One team to John Kelly, Donal Dineen & Love+Radio. This Culture Night however I was asked by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to organise their own inaugural Culture Night event which was a big honour. When I went into to meet with them, they simply asked what other ideas did I have on the shelf and were ready to be dusted down and made into a reality. I knew straight-away that I wanted to do something with the Hurdy Gurdy Vintage radio museum, a really special ode to radio that’s tucked away on top of a hill at the end of Howth Harbour. From the early cylinder recorders at the turn of the last century to the crystal sets, phonographs and even the first ever FM receiver in Ireland, the museum is a shrine to the magic of radio & sound which it’s owner Pat Herbery has been collecting since the early 50′s. Pat is an incredible character, whose passion and love for radio is only matched by his talent as a storyteller himself as was seen recently in the wonderful Transmission Project. Pat and his team of supporters were a great success on the night and I hope to have audio soon of his talk on his passion for the medium here very soon. Click through below for more pics of how a reception desk became transformed into a radio museum.

Pat Herbert(center) showing just some of his radio collection

The other element to creating the BAI’s first ever Culture Night was a listening session with another organisation I’ve been dying to work with, the National Folklore Collection. The simple reason why it’s taken me years to get out to visit the Collection is because it’s located in UCD which isn’t exactly the most convenient location for the public. When you consider that the collection includes over 10,000 hours of archived audio alone, one of the biggest archives of its kind in the world, it is kind of crazy that it’s tucked away hidden on a sprawling campus miles from the city. With that in mind, I approached Anna Bale who is a sound archivist with the Collection for the last 22 years to try to guide me through the vast number of recordings, interviews, stories and memories which were gathered when the scheme began in 1942. It’s a fascinating archive to listen to and we were at pains to try to describe the essence of these recordings in just over an hour but we had some great help on the night. Ann herself was joined by the man who has been responsible for remastering a lot of the recordings, Harry Bradshaw. Harry has the unique ability to describe something such as the recording process of a cylinder recording in a way that makes even a technophobe care. What made it really come to life was when we demonstrated the Ediphone Cylinder Recorder, which dates back to 1905 by playing a recording of a song, that was close to a hundred years old. Harry was also joined by former director of the Archive, Seamus Cathain who was responsible for setting up the Urban Folklore project in 1979, an incredibly ambitious project which aimed to capture stories, traditions & oral history in Dublin’s inner city at a time when entire communities were being demolished and moved out to the brand new council estates, like Tallaght & Ballymun. This is old Dublin at it’s very best and as you listen to accounts of the 1916 Rising, the 1913 Lockout, you realise that we’re just 2 or 3 generations away from some of the most important events to shape the Ireland of today.

Harry Bradshaw & Anna Bale

As tonight was really about sharing stories and songs of the past, I wanted to finish it with a contemporary view of the importance of the archive today. Colm Mac Con Iomaire is one of Ireland’s most talented musicians and is also a founding member of The Frames & The Swell Season. Tonight however he shared his own passion for sounds from the past when he told the story of how he was given an old tape recording of a 12-year-old girl singing the traditional song, An Aill Eidhneach, which dates back to 1952. Colm ended up using the song when he was asked to compose the opening credits of a new television series for RTE 1 programme which explores old Irish songs. It was amazing to hear the simple and almost melancholic sounds of a child’s voice being suddenly transformed into this incredibly uplifting score with her voice at its heart. It demonstrated perfectly the hidden beauty that lies contained within the Sound archives of the National Folklore Collection, a beauty that can be heard by all if we just try to lend it a voice. Check back here soon for a recording of the audio taken from the entire night.

Sounds Alive presents an evening with Chris Watson

I first got into listening to wildlife sound recordings when I came across the amazing recordings of Tom Lawrence, a DCU lecturer whose remarkable sounds of Temple Bar, opened up a world that I suppose I’ve totally taken for granted – the sound of the natural world around us.

I first got into listening to wildlife sound recordings when I came across the amazing recordings of Tom Lawrence, a DCU lecturer whose remarkable sounds of Temple Bar, opened up a world that I suppose I’ve totally taken for granted – the sound of the natural world around us. While Tom’s work was sadly cut short by his passing in 2011, it in turn led me to discovering the wonderful recordings of Chris Watson. Chris’s work is as broad as it is deep, whether it’s his award winning sound work for BBC’s “The Life of..” or the sonic portrait of the Skellig Islands in Luke Clancy’s Skellig Calling doc. for RTE Radio 1, Chris’s work is a pure joy to listen to. It completely washes over you, thanks in part to his approach of recording in quad as opposed to in stereo, means that there is a depth to the sounds that is completely immersive and almost overwhelming. Think of it as IMAX in 3D for the ears except without the light loss & ridiculous glasses.

This is a rare opportunity to hear some truly gorgeously sounds and with thanks to Big Bear Sound, this specially installed sound system on the night promises to make for a truly spectacular cinematic experience. Tickets can be found here. As a taster, listen below to a beautiful live recording of a collaborative performance between Chris Watson & travel writer, Robert McFarlane who describes an overnight voyage he and friends made by boat in the Atlantic, which Chis performed a live soundscape for.

Chris is coming over especially to give a one day workshop in recorded sound, hosted by the wonderful AIRPI who are always hosting practical and incredibly useful workshops with some of the best radio producers. On Sat. 31st, they’ll be taking over Naughton House in one of the most sound rich places in Dublin, Dublin Zoo. It’s going to be a practical day with lots of insights, tips & advice into recording techniques & there might be a few places left. E.mail communications@airpi.ie for more info.