Gary Meyler chats with Hanin Elias ahead of her performance at the Southern Gothic festival in Cork this weekend
SWIRLING black clouds of alternative excellence descend upon Phoenix Street in Cork this weekend as The Crane Lane is willingly washed in a dark wave of Southern Gothic proportions.
From the psychadelic folk of Hush Arbors and Arbouretum to the misunderstood brilliance of anti-folk icon Jeffrey Lewis, Bandicoot Promotions have prepared a bank holiday weekend banquet for lovers of the weird and different to feast on over the coming days.
One such dark jewel in the SG crown comes in the form of founding Atari Teenage Riot member and original riot grrrl Hanin Elias (pictured), recently returned to the western world after a self-enforced break in French Polynesia. Why the need for exile?
“I needed a break, a change of life and thoughts. I lived on a small island for five years, learned how to fish, live a simple life, two new languages and joined another culture and mentality.
“I had to go back because I wanted to do music again with all my heart and soul. I had the feeling that my batteries were full again and that I could come back with a changed mind and temper.
Another newcomer to Cork is genre-gurgler Gemma Ray, currently touring with a new album Island Fire which was written “in transit, and recorded it on various islands around the world”. Intriguingly, Ray recently collaborated with seminal proto-punk pioneers Sparks.
“I met up with the Mael brothers in LA, we stayed in touch and Russell [Mael] asked me if I wanted to try singing ‘Carnegie Hall’. I leapt at the chance to work with them, but it was a natural, curious process where I didn’t know what was going to happen at the end of it — the way I like all my music adventures to play out!”
Southern Gothic takes place in Crane Lane Theatre on Phoenix Street, from Friday, May 4 to Monday, May 7.
Admission to the majority of events is free.
The event is sponsored by Blue Moon Beer, coinciding with the opening of Arthur Mayne’s , the Crane Lane’s new pharmacy/wine bar attachment.
SEE MORE IN DOWNTOWN, FREE WITH THURSDAY’S EVENING ECHO