Small Behaviours – Songs from a Witness Statement.
Written by Kate O’Callaghan. Arranged by Seamus Devenny and Kate O’Callaghan, in collaboration with Donegal Camerata.
Performed by Kate O’Callaghan, Seamus Devenny and the Donegal Camerata String Quintet at the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on February 6th 2023
*Note* The time of this concert has been changed to 7pm
Small Behaviours is the second song cycle inspired by Kate O’Callaghan’s great-grand aunt and her involvement in the 1916 Rising and War of Independence. The first song-cycle, The Girl with The Beret, was a highlight of the 2016 Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival. It drew from the personal stories of Catherine Rooney (nee Byrne), as detailed in her witness statement to the Irish government’s Bureau of Military History.
This current work, Small Behaviours, explores Catherine’s experiences following the Rising in Dublin, including gun-running from Scotland, encounters with British Army troops heading off to war, prison breaks, ambushes and the burning of love letters in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.
Working with creative facilitator, Seamus Devenny, and the Donegal Camerata String Quintet directed by Victor Yelamo, this has been a wonderful opportunity for Kate O’Callaghan to engage in a process that has been both personal and commemorative. The work is very much a reflection on the seemingly ‘small behaviours’ of ordinary women, which ultimately affected far-reaching social change over time.
The Donegal Camerata String Quartet is led by cellist Victor Yelamo, a longtime member of the award-winning Concerto Malaga orchestra and Director of the annual Donegal Chamber Music Festival. The Camerata also includes violinists Orsolya Szabó-Yelamo (also of Concerto Malaga) and Maureen McGranaghan, with Robert Peoples on viola and Micheal McGinty on double bass.