EARWORM is a collaboration between The Bonny Men, director Gavin FitzGerald and choreographer Sibéal Davitt. Visceral movement, animal imagery and wild traditional music collide producing a piece that creeps and crawls its way under the skin.
The concept behind this project was to tell a story through movement, nightmarish imagery and traditional Irish music in an atypical environment. Work, whether creative or otherwise, can often consume us and our sleep patterns become alive with ideas and unconscious realisations. Actor and dancer Jade O’Connor plays the creator in this piece and her dance ensemble, featuring Emily Kilkenny Roddy, Dmitry Vinokurov, Olwyn Lyons and Sibéal Davitt, perform movement inspired by animals. Each character embodies a different creature; frog, crocodile, bird and scorpion. The creator dances herself into a disturbing sleep paralysis where she no longer has control and the movement takes a life of its own.
The choreography was created by Sibéal Davitt who took influence from Ari Aster’s recent film Midsommar as well the tribal nature of traditional music. Costume designer Ciana March, who was assisted by Angela Mulhern, created pagan inspired masks for The Bonny Men and makeup artist Nina Ayoub and hair stylist Niamh Glynn completed the crazed look of the dancers.
Foley artist Eoghan McDonnell (Coconut Sound) remixed the track to make something powerful and expansive.
A big shout out to colourist Sophia Tamburrini and JJ Rolfe who (after wrapping on a feature film) worked with Lauren Jane O’Brien and Sarah Dillon in the camera department. A special thanks to Teach Solais, Raygun, photographer Simon Walsh and everyone who helped make this project possible.
Notes on ‘Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie’
by Maitiú Ó Casaide, piper with The Bonny Men
The uilleann pipes are an instrument native to Ireland that date back to the 1700s. Bellows, which are strapped to the right arm, pump air into a bag which sits under the left oxter. From there the air moves into the seven pipes. The chanter on which the melody is played, three drones which provide the bass sound and three regulators which are rows of keys on which you can play chords and provide accompaniment by using your right wrist.
Uilleann piping was at its zenith in Ireland just before the Great Famine but went into a period of steady decline to the point where there were only 100 pipers left in the country and only one full time pipe-maker. The pipes are now thriving again due to great work of Na Píobairí Uilleann; an organisation formed in 1968 to preserve and promote the playing and making of uilleann pipes, as well as the influence of traditional groups such as Planxty, The Bothy Band & The Chieftains.
During this period of decline the torch was safely handed on by a handful of master pipers who had a huge influence on today’s generation of players. None more so than the great piper, broadcaster and collector Séamus Ennis.
One recording of his stands out – his unique interpretation of the reel Jenny’s Welcome to Charlie. He twists the tune in the second part to include E-Flat crans which against the D Drone creates an eerie and harrowing effect, showcasing the haunting sound and the versatility of the instrument.
It’s a delicate process balancing tradition and heritage with the desire to create new sounding material. We feel privileged to have been able to bring this tune into a modern context and give it a new lease of life through this special collaboration with Gavin, Sibéal, the dancers and the film crew.