Blackout began with a simple idea: dark music, played in darkness.
But as we thought harder, we wondered, "why are we playing in the dark?"
We began with Messiaen's "Quartet for the end of time", written in a concentration camp, a devout celebration of the composer's beloved God, summoning the entire spectrum of human suffering as it reaches for the heavens. This music cries out for the embrace of darkness.
Parallel themes are expressed very differently in another masterpiece of the twentieth century, Steve Reich's "Different Trains". Growing up a Jew in America, one simple, harrowing thought played on repeat in Reich's mind - how very different his train journeys would have been had he been born a European.
By recontextualising these great, important works of art, we can bring new meaning to them.
Just as every note in these masterpieces was included for a reason, we believe that in a great concert, every detail must be justified. We challenged ourselves to integrate every tiny detail of our concerts with the concepts behind them.
The result: Blackout is so much more than a concert series. It's an immersive, multi-sensory, experiential evening, a tangled web of linked ideas aimed at heightening and complementing some of the greatest music ever written.
We have inveigled some of Ireland's most brilliant composers to write solo pieces responding (or "anti-responding") to the central works.
Feeding off Messiaen: Kevin Volans, Roger Doyle, Ed Bennett, Robert Coleman.
Devouring Reich: Raymond Deane, Gráinne Mulvey, Seán Clancy, Tom Lane.
The final concert centres on a new work by Kirkos founder Sebastian Adams, inspired by Harry Patch (the last surviving British veteran of WWI). Patch’s famous line "war is not worth one life" sums it up. This work ties the entire series together with allusions to the works around it.
Kevin Powell (Gruel Guerrilla) and Vania Ling will also create a unique dinner menu for each concert, exploring food that thrives in darkness, growing despite never having seen the light of day. Using the latest gastro-scientific research, Vania will choose foods whose taste will literally be heightened by the music.
Meanwhile, visual designer Mary Leonard is working with us to ensure that our print and promotional materials become an integral part of the experience. We are forbidden from revealing further details.
Kirkos features Ireland's finest emerging musicians:
Roisin Walters, Cillian Ó Breacháin, Yseult Cooper Stockdale, Miriam Kaczor, Léonie Bluett, Hannah Miller, Máire Carroll.
Needless to say, their performances will be riveting.
Assisting Kirkos with Blackout are Rob Farhat and Rob Kearns of the groundbreaking Ensemble production company.
We believe we can produce one of the most exciting, immersive contemporary music events ever seen on this island, but we need your help to make it happen.
With your contribution, we can transform the RIAM into a chamber of darkness, source the finest ingredients for Kevin and Vania's amazing creations, and give the extraordinary artists involved something for their troubles.
Messiaen: May 8, 9
Reich: June 12, 13
Adams: July 17, 18