Sunday, September 26, 2010

Culture Night Belfast - a three minute look back

Parked on Wellington Place, just up from Belfast City Hall, I captured some of the sights and sounds of Friday's Culture Night as I walked down into the Cathedral Quarter and Stormont Teacup Stories in the hard-to-find-the-entrance Ramada Encore hotel.

Compressed into three minutes (above), there was outdoor tango dancing, kids crafts, street theatre, bands, films, photography, a dinosaur out for a walk, samba drumming and dancing, architects talking about Titanic Quarter, as well as political stories and laughs about Stormont. High above the War Memorial building, a trumpeter stood at an open balcony door, his magical tooting floating over the buzz of Talbot Street below. And it was all free!

But there was one crazy sight that I never quite got to the bottom of. A troupe of musicians wearing upturned wicker baskets on their heads wandered up beside an elegant harpist sitting on the pavement. (Check out the video below.) They joined in, accompanying her melody. But I couldn't figure out whether they were meant to be together, or whether the crazy wicker men would soon walk away and butt into another musical performance on another street.

Update - Conall suggests that the basket men "are Armagh Rhymers. Also known as mummers. An ancient rural folk tradition." Now I've a whole lot more questions!

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