The setting of the Aula Maxima on the campus of Maynooth University last night provided an intimate venue for a night of music and song, celebrating the influence of one of the 20th century’s best loved poets and singer/songwriters, Leonard Cohen.
Charley and Hattie Webb, two artists who played distinctive parts in Leonard Cohen’s return to live performances, performed and remembered his life and work in conversation with playwright, novelist and poet, John MacKenna.
They were joined by novelist and poet Dermot Bolger, the renowned songwriter and musician Kevin Doherty, and academic, writer and activist Dr Bríd Connolly.
The sold-out event marked the culmination of the Department of Adult & Community Education 2019 Summer School on the theme of ‘Popular Culture and the Making of Meaning - social issues in the works of Leonard Cohen, Dory Previn and Paul Simon,’ and the Maynooth Summer Soirée, the annual arts and culture event for alumni and friends of the University.
The programme is part of the BA in Community Studies and was conceived of and delivered by writer John MacKenna, The event was hosted in collaboration with Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).
The Webb Sisters were chosen to join Leonard Cohen's live band on his first tour for 15 years, playing 247 shows around the world between 2008 and 2010, including performances at Kilmainham in Dublin and Lissadell House in Sligo. Their album, Savages, produced by multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Peter Asher, was released in May 2011. ‘Baroque Thoughts,’ featured on Savages, won the International Music Award for 'Best Adult Contemporary Song.' The Webb Sisters also have given their distinctive vocal sound to the recordings and live performances of artists Tom Petty, Sting, The Avett Brothers, Glen Hansard, Goyte, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, Natalie Maines (of the Dixie Chicks), Damien Rice and Elvis Costello.
John MacKenna is a playwright and author of 16 books—novels, short-story collections, memoirs, biography and poetry. He is a winner of the Hennessy, Irish Times and C Day Lewis awards and was nominated for the Irish Fiction Laureate award.