>>>Cork to the beat of jazz
Photo: ©Turismo de Irlanda

Cork to the beat of jazz

Dark ale and music: two symbols of the Emerald Isle unite at the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival, which brings together more than 1,000 musicians over four days.
ublin is the city of pop and rock. And Cork? The city of jazz. The second biggest city in Ireland plays host to the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival every autumn. This event, which is now in its 34th year, has helped put Cork on the map, in one of the countries with the strongest musical traditions in the world. From 28 to 31 October, hundreds of musicians will ‘occupy’ the city. Literally. Beyond concerts in auditoriums, clubs and theatres (of which around 60 will be taking part), the streets will also be abuzz with music. Or more specifically, to the smooth sounds of jazz. All this for an audience of about 40,000 people, both visitors and Corkonians (as the inhabitants of city and the surrounding county are known).
The city of Cork is a series of narrow streets lined with 17th-century buildings.

Intensive trumpet lessons

During the festival, the CIT School of Music will hold the Cork Jazz Camp. Entry is free and open to all, musicians and non-musicians alike. David O’Rourke, Bruce Barth and Mark Hodgson will be some of the musicians who will be giving lessons.

American pianist Justin Kauflin will open the festival, accompanied by contemporary jazz star Jacob Collier. This first event will take place on the Friday, at The Everyman, one of the most famous theatres in the city, which, alongside Cork Opera House and Triskel Christchurch, will host the biggest concerts. Artists of the calibre of Robert Glasper, Sheryl Bailey, the Hot Club of Cowtown, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Jason Marsalis are all on the bill. The last of these is extremely excited about his first ever appearance at the festival. “I’m really looking forward to visiting Cork and playing for the audience there, as well as getting into the city and enjoying the festival for myself,” he says.
The Metropole Hotel,  meanwhile, will play host to artists from different genres, including funk, swing, groove, Dixieland and blues. The Guinness Music Xtra and Red Hot Music programs complete the wide range of concerts. Added to this are events like workshops, an experimental music space, and open-mic nights for singers (and those aspiring to become one).
The Coronas was one of the groups that performed at the 2015 event.
Photo: ©Guinness Cork Jazz Festival

Family Jazz

The festival programme includes repertories designed for all audiences. Cork School of Music Jazz Big Band will hold one-hour concerts, during which they will play the most popular tunes from their 20 years in the business, not to mention pop classics and famous film soundtracks.

Off the musical menu, or as a side to it, Cork has plenty more to entertain the visitor. It promotes itself as a carefree, cosmopolitan city and – whatever Dublin may say – claims to have the best cuisine in Ireland, microbrewery beers included. You can see for yourself on one of the culinary tours organised by Fab Food. Besides Guinness, the festival sponsor, another dark ale is served in the local pubs. Brewed in County Cork, locals know it as the black stuff, although you can also order it using its official name: Murphy’s Stout.
Cork won the Purple Flag for being the city with the best nightlife, in 2015.
You can fit a lot into two days (or four if you are lucky enough to be there for the entire festival) in this historic university city. Since it’s so compact, walking is the ideal way to get around. Built around the River Lee, its star attractions include St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, City Hall, Cork City Gaol (a castle) and the English Market. All of this, if you can drag yourself away from the pubs, pints and jazz. In the words of Louis Armstrong, “There are two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. If it’s good you don’t mess about, you just enjoy it.”

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