CualaLES ‘Witnessing the Legacy’ at Nuyorican Poets Café
On January 8 2020 we celebrated Lower East Side music culture with the launch of Jane Gabriels’ book ‘Witnessing the Legacy of Jeff Buckley’ and performances from Jane and Susan McKeown as well as songwriters and spoken word artists Annalise, Ayla Huguenot, La Bruja, Stella Padnos, Róisín, La Roka and Jordi Rosen.

CualaLES at the United Nations
On October 17 CualaLES songwriters program performed their own original song and spoken word piece at the United Nations for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The song addressed poverty, gentrification and displacement on the Lower East Side.

Cuala’s CULTURE WARRIORS program in New York brings together youth in the East Village to learn about the impact of Irish culture in the area from the Famine church to Sin-É as part of community history that includes learning about the lives of artists who lived there such as Yip Harburg, Charlie Parker and Edna St. Vincent Millay.


#IamIrish is a creative exhibition curated by Tipperary woman Lorraine Maher celebrating the voices and experiences of Irish people everywhere who happen to be mixed race. Begun in London in 2016 and shown in Dublin in 2017, this growing movement’s exhibition runs at NY Irish Center November 8 – 30. Viewing times vary: please e-mail iamirish@newyorkirishcenter.org to schedule an appointment.

Read More

In November 2018, New York artists Annabelle, Annalise, Antonia, Devin, Fionn, Jonah, Lionel, Madeleine, Malik, Omi, Róisín Dubh and Zach participated in songwriting workshops and gave a public performance at Tompkins Square Public Library in the East Village on November 29. The program culminated in recording sessions at Mission Sound, the Brooklyn recording studio owned by Oliver Straus (also known as King Princess’s dad). The songs will be released through Cuala Music fall 2019 to coincide with public performances in the East Village.

For Cuala, a Shebeen is a central meeting space beyond the Pale of mainstream culture where the patrons express themselves through stories, songs, political conversations and poetry. It represents a sense of community, identity and belonging.

WOMEN’S SHEBEEN, An evening for women of all ages with poetry, song, story and humor and Mary’s soda bread. Featuring Cáit O’Riordan, Honor Molloy, Tara O’Grady and more.
26 November  7PM at Mary O’s, 32 Avenue A.

Musician and writer Cáit O’Riordan was a founder member of London-Irish punk band The Pogues, going on to play and sing on albums including the classic Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash (one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time). She moved to Dublin in 1989 and has since played bass for many acclaimed Irish acts including The Radiators from Space, Hothouse Flowers, Mundy, Jerry Fish, and Gavin Friday. After getting sober in 2007, Cáit went back to school and graduated from UCD in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Psychological Science. She is currently based in New York City, performing regularly at the Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen.

Photo credit: Cáit O Riordan photo by Johan Vipper

Honor Molloy’s plays include Crackskull Row (the cell, Irish Rep, NY Times Critics’ Pick); and in my heart (International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival); In Pigeon House (Irish Theatre of Chicago); Madame Killer (Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney; Clubbed Thumb, NYC); Rehearsing the Granda (Public Theatre / BACA Downtown, NYC); among others. An alumna of New Dramatists, Molloy has received support from the NEA, NYFA, NYSCA, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. As part of the cell’s 2018 Residency Program, she recently completed the play Round Room and is halfway through Unknown – a play about how the dynamics of abuse and mental illness play out in Manhattan’s past and present.

Tara O’Grady & The Black Velvet Band perform weekly in Manhattan at jazz clubs and combine celtic, folk, funk, blues, and especially jazz in their unique lickety-split swing sound that has been described as eclectic, authentic, timeless and nostalgic. This Irish-American jazz powerhouse writes original music that sounds like it was composed for Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong, but also performs traditional songs with fresh arrangements meant more for a prohibition swing dance hall than an Irish pub. Her stellar musicians have shared the stage with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and even Lady Gaga. Together, they are a musical force of nature that inspire audiences to imagine the magic of days gone by with Tara’s timeless voice at the helm.

Photo credit: Tara O’Grady photo by Richard J.Velasco

TEANGA SHEBEEN, an evening of talk and performance in Gaeilge, the Irish language, bilingual. Performances, stories, interviews and a quiz to help you learn a little Irish. Featuring Aaron Radford-Horkan, Michael Brunnock and more.
28 November 7PM 11th Street Bar, 510 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10009.

LGBTQ SHEBEEN LGBT Center, a variety night of LGBTQ stories, songs, comedy and more. Featuring Eileen Myles, Colleen Meenan, Saints & Tzadiks (Susan McKeown & Lorin Sklamberg), Michael Brunnock and more.
30 November 8PM LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street.

Eileen Myles is a poet, novelist, public talker and art journalist. Their twenty-one books include evolution (poems), Afterglow (a dog memoir), a 2017 re-issue of Cool for You and I Must Be Living Twice/new and selected poems, and Chelsea Girls. Eileen is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Arts Writers grant, four Lambda Book Awards, and the Shelley Prize from the PSA. In 2016, Myles received a Creative Capital grant and the Clark Prize for excellence in art writing. In 2019 they’ll be teaching at NYU and Naropa University and they live in New York and Marfa, TX.

Colleen M. Meenan is the proud descendant of Irish immigrants, born and raised in New York City. Colleen’ s life has been dedicated to public service and advocacy for basic human rights and equality. Colleen worked as a community organizer in the Bronx before joining the New York City Police Department in 1982. She retired from police service in 1989 to complete her legal education at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College and graduated in 1991. She began practicing law shortly after graduation and is currently the principal of a small law firm handling a range of legal matters, many involving issues of importance to the LGBT community including family issues, civil rights and employment discrimination.

Cuala’s executive director Susan McKeown was commissioned by NGO ATD Fourth World to write a song for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty based on the testimony of people living homeless in Dublin. She performed the song at the UN with Michael Brunnock on 17 October 2018.