SPIKE, Dublin’s alternative cello festival, will be back in 2018 after its hugely successful – and entertaining – 2017 debut. 

Taking place Friday 9th to Sunday 11th February in venues across Dublin, the 2018 programme for SPIKE will present unique events with some of the most talented and exciting cello artists (& friends) from home and abroad.

Among the highlights of the festival will be a series of performances taking place each night at the Workman’s Club, featuring a line-up of stellar and fascinating artists.

The festival will open on the evening of Friday 9th February with performances by Lioba Petrie and Laura Moody. Moody is a wildly alternative cellist, vocalist and avant-garde singer-songwriter who creates emotive songs that reveal a multitude of influences and which inhabit a unique space between the contemporary avant-garde, classical music, experimental pop and singer-songwriter traditions. Festival organiser cellist Petrie will be presenting a brand new project, performing a live film score to screen from one of Ireland’s most exciting filmmakers.

SPIKE CELLO FESTIVAL 2018 Photo Laura Sheeran
The Saturday night concert will feature US/Albanian artist, composer/cellist Rubin Kodheli, a celebrated, versatile, genre-transcending creative rebel most recently seen by Dublin audiences performing with Laurie Anderson at the NCH in spring 2017. Rubin has made a name for himself performing with Roberta Flack, Henry Threadgill, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Vampire Weekend, Dave Douglas, Makoto Ozone, Wadada Leo Smith and Joan Labarabara. At this concert, he will be performing with two ensembles – Blues in Space and the Kodheli Cello Quartet. Blues in Space, made up of Kodheli on cello and Garrett Brown on drums, is quickly rising to the forefront of a new avant-rock movement, offering audiences a chaotic and intense musical experience. As Lucid Culture wrote, “Bands like Blues in Space make a good battering ram: they destroy boundaries.” Kodheli will also be performing with a specially assembled cello quartet of Kate Ellis, Laura Moody and Ben Cashell who will join Kodheli to perform a selection of his cello quartet music.

The festival’s closing performance on the Sunday night “Cello Voce” will feature Cello Ireland with leading Irish cellist- songwriters Mary Barnecutt, Aleka Potenga, Kevin Murphy and Anna-Mieke Bishop with special guest Liam O’Maonlai, a singer whose musical journey has brought him all over the world, exploring the music of Africa, India, America, Australia and Japan. This unique event, will celebrate the cello, the voice, the Irish tradition and an amalgamation of styles and compositions, as the assembled musicians perform original material in new settings.


The festival will have events for all ages, with workshops in schools with Rubin Kodheli, an inspirational improvisational workshop led by Nashville cellist Zan Berry, and an All Ages Gig with Zan Berry and Irish cello player and singer Naomi Berrill.

The Hugh Lane Gallery will be home to free events across the weekend, with the SPIKE festival programming the Gallery’s regular Sunday Concert at 12 noon, and a “Cellinstallation” of Irish cellists performing solo in the Gallery foyer over the weekend.

And for something a bit different, Kitty Maguire will be leading her “Yocella” class – a blissful “yin” yoga class accompanied by cello.

Mary Barnecutt and Lioba Petrie of SPIKE CELLO FESTIVAL 2018 Photo Laura Sheeran
Festival organisers, cellists Lioba Petrie and Mary Barnecutt (pictured above), are looking forward to presenting their exciting programme for 2018, after the 2017 edition attracted audiences from as far afield as the UK and the US.

the thin grey line
All photos by Laura Sheeran, courtesy SPIKE Cello Festival

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