‘Day of the dead’ set to parade through city streets to open Cork Jazz Festival

Singer Gemma Sugrue launches the ‘Dia De Los Muertos Jazz Parade’, which will open this year’s Guinness Cork Jazz Festival next Thursday, October 25. Picture: Clare Keogh

A New Orleans-inspired ‘day of the dead’ musical parade through the streets of Cork will bring the city’s Guinness Jazz Festival to life next week.

In what is a festival first, a ‘Dia de Los Muertos Jazz Parade’ will set off from the Grand Parade at 7pm next Thursday, October 25.

Organisers unveiled the route map last night and confirmed that some 100 musicians, artists and performers will weave through the streets in a New Orleans-style funeral procession, celebrating the living and the dead through music, dance, and art.

Cork Community ArtLink, which will host the Dragon of Shandon parade a week later, on Halloween night, have created several large-scale macabre characters and floats to join in the jazz parade, which will also feature costumed dancers paying homage to some of the world’s late, great jazz musicians.

It will be one of the highlights of this year’s fringe festival which will include a range of free, family-friendly events alongside the main Guinness Cork Jazz Festival.

The line-up includes the Blind Boys of Alabama, British soul singer and two-time Mobo award winner Laura Mvula, and five-time Grammy-winning jazz collective the Maria Schneider Orchestra.

Fringe highlights include another festival first — Unity, a specially commissioned, immersive, audio-visual show which fuses jazz, contemporary classical music, and electronica, and which will be performed with the David Duffy Quartet in St Luke’s Church.

The golden era of dancehalls will be celebrated at the Swing Jive event in Cork’s City Hall — a new festival venue this year.

The Irish Examiner has opened its archives for a photographic exhibition, Jazz Memories, of the early days of the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, including images of jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, and Dizzy Gillespie, and which will run at the Triskel Arts Centre from October 19 until November 2.


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