Michael McGoldrick

Exploring the imagined musical fusion of the Irish and Jewish populations living either side of the river Irk in Manchester in a 3 gig series at the Manchester Jewish Museum

Imagine, back in the day (say 1880s-1900s), the huddled masses down in the valley of the river Irk; on the western bank, the largely Jewish communities of Red Bank and on the eastern side the largely Irish dwellers of Angel Meadow. Their differences in languages, cultures and religions meant they probably kept largely to themselves but, imagine, amid the polluted mirk in which they lived and worked, what if they’d caught snatches of melody drifting across the Irk? Maybe some were curious to follow the sounds and cross to the other side. Imagine what music might have ensued.

These two communities – though very different – shared the immigrant experience of leaving home (the shtetl and the bog) behind, driven from their rural and small-town home-worlds for the industrialised deprivations and opportunities of Cottonopolis. Over time, both peoples prospered, and both, through their participation in the life of the city, became important Mancunian communities. The musics of such Jewish and Irish communities – though very different – also share some similarities. Both are modal, heterophonic, dance-oriented oral traditions, and the fortunes of both have waned then waxed over the years. So, imagine if, a century or more ago, some musicians had ventured from Angel Meadow to Red Bank …. what would have transpired and what might it have sounded like?

L’chaim Kapelye

L’chaim Kapelye

In this newly-devised show, musicians in both traditions (who learned their craft here in Manchester) come together to explore these possibilities. Michael McGoldrick, Dezi Donnelly and Angela Durcan and the six-strong members of L’chaim Kapelye (Pippa Goodall, Jemima Kingsland, Dan Mawson, Lucie Phillips, Ellie Sherwood, and Hat Wells) – together, they work the different traditions to create new sounds and pieces, their response to this ‘What if?’ of intercultural engagement.


  • Thursday 3rd March (7.30pm, doors & bar open at 7pm)
  • Sunday 6th March (2.30pm, doors & bar open at 2pm) — including film premiere of new documentary on the development of klezmer* in Manchester and what it means to those involved
  • Sunday 6th March (7.30pm, doors & bar open at 7pm)
    * klezmer = the musical tradition arising from the wedding music of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern European


Manchester Jewish Museum, 190 Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester, M8 8LW (10 minutes walk from Manchester Victoria Station and next to Manchester Fort Shopping Centre)

T: 0161 834 9879


Tickets: £10 available via Quaytickets — 0843 208 0500 (details on the What’s On events listings on the Museum website, online booking via the weblink)

For more details please click here

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