Limerick’s first ever public piano will be unveiled in Limerick’s historic Milk Market this Friday (29 March), coinciding with Word Piano Day. Piani Luimní - Public pianos celebrating Limerick's musical legacy begins at 12 noon on Friday, as they launch Piano #1.
Public pianos breathe life into cities around the world, from Boston to Berlin, Barcelona to Brisbane. And now Limerick, Ireland. The aim is to place pianos of excellence in public places, to invite players and listeners to gather, share songs, stories and time together.
Organiser Mark O’Connor said: “Getting pianos into public places in Limerick has been a labour of love for me. I am encouraging all ebony and ivory tinklers, bringers of nocturnes, ragtime, jazz, trad and beyond and voices with 'come-all-ye's' to join us. The piano will be upstairs at the Milk Market which is open weekly from Friday to Sunday. We hope to launch more pianos at other city centre locations in the future.”
“We've reached out to all music educators in Limerick, all of whom have responded very positively to the idea, including the Irish World Academy at UL, Limerick School of Music as well as Peter Dee, Redemptorist and Croagh Schools of Music, Music Generation, the Learning Hub, Sing out with Strings and more to partake in the experience.”
Thanks to support from the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr James Collins and the Culture and Arts Office of Limerick City and County Council, Piani Luimní took its first steps for the warmly received Piano for Dolores in January to mark the singer’s first anniversary in January.
“That event seemed to strike a chord. On the night with Dolores' niece Noelle performing, the attendance of her mother Eileen and brother Brendan, so many Limerick people had a space to remember Dolores, a year on from her sudden passing.”
“With musical contributions from musicians from Limerick and around the world, paintings, poems and Paul Russell's touching 'I wish Dolores was here' original song, it seemed to resonate beyond what we imagined. It demonstrated the value of such gatherings. The alchemy possible in music, turning loss into community warmth.”
“And of course how amazing Dolores' voice was and The Cranberries' melodies and songs always will be. The impact of The Cranberries on the world is something Limerick will always celebrate and be proud of. They came from here, they were adored by their fans around the world and many have discovered Limerick through their music,” Mark added.
“What sustains musicians and communities through the years is the power of music to bring folks together, to gather and share songs and stories from their place. We all came together that day to remember Dolores, bittersweet, but also exciting as we got to listen to the new Cranberries single. This was a trial run for what could be possible in the days ahead for Piani Luimní.”
“Dolores O'Riordan is indeed a fascinating case study as a musician. Music psychology research, and our own thriving Irish traditional music form, give us clues into how she came into being. From humble traditional County Limerick beginnings and later the early 90's Limerick City rock and roll scene. Through family support, exposure to Irish music in the community (her father and uncle were accordion players), experience performing in church events from a young age, peer engagement and support, networking with local musicians, joining the Cranberries – many of the elements necessary towards forming a successful confident musician were present in her case.”
“We can ask ourselves, how can we best put the conditions in place to give rise to the next Dolores, Catherine Hayes, Bill Whelan or Micheál Ó'Súilleabháin? Public pianos and kids experiencing live music performance in a comfortable 'take or leave it' kind of way is a good step towards that. The talent is out there. It only needs to be encouraged.”
“Our hashtag #pianofordolores reached 200,000 folks online and multiples of that in national TV and press coverage. We're hoping for similar stories for Limerick using the hashtag #PianiLuimní. Everytime a performance happens at one of our pianos, content can be easily found using the hashtag,” Mark continued.
More information can be found on www.facebook.com/PianiLuimni.