ArtBeat: Pianist Ruth McGinley; and painter Colin Davidson takes his new show to the Irish Center in New York

Ruth McGinley
Ruth McGinley

So what does an artist in residence actually do? Pianist Ruth McGinley, Young Musician of the Year by the age of 17; now performer, composer and somebody who can belt out the swooning Brief Encounter movie music when required, says it’s not just indulgence after a year at The MAC.

“Time and space may seem like it in our world, but I’ve composed AURA with Neil Martin, worked on my style, and it was good to have somewhere to be in the morning.”

And been super-creative after her latte in the room overlooking Belfast's St Anne’s Square, away from domestic demands.

During the year, McGinley was asked to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, where speaker Nancy Pelosi heard her, alongside artists like Martin Hayes. She also performed in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and spotted Pierce Brosnan touring the galleries.

Although she kept to her space, McGinley had time for visits from punters.

“I was asked for Hans Zimmer's Interstellar theme, Rihanna hits and yes, Rachmaninov.”

Highlights were collaborating with musicians like Sheridan Tongue, also tuning in to her soul.

“You learn what you want to say and it’s good to escape the to-do list.” Hear more about it when Ruth McGinley discusses her MAC year with Glenn Patterson; and performs, on September 28 at the venue in Glimmer, A Year in the Life of Music.


NORTHERN Ireland’s top portrait painter Colin Davidson has taken his show, Silent Testimony, to the Irish Center in New York with an extra layer of poignancy.

As the British government shuts the door on legacy cases, the faces of those affected by the Troubles who look down in melancholy, sometimes anger, or as if they wish to be elsewhere, have new force.

Davidson has said he’s campaigned for those who lost family and friends and have not yet received justice.

He told me: “It’s obscene, to be honest.” And has said these people, like John Proctor, killed while en route to visit his newborn son, virtually paid the price of the peace achieved by the Good Friday Agreement.


I'M OFF to the Naughton Studio at the Lyric to see Joe Nawaz’s Five Days. His world unravelled when he got the phone call about his father’s murder in Pakistan. It’s a big topic in theatre, see Hamlet. He took a hot bath and initially felt relief. Maybe his repeated claim his father felt let down by him comes in here. We got the antic disposition as Joe gave up a stand-up lesson on Pakistani history, rightly blaming the British for the plight of those Rushdie called 'midnight’s children'. Although unpolished, it’s something his dapper, doctor father might have approved of.


ARE you surprised that David Ireland, the guy who in Cyprus Avenue imagined a baby morphing into Gerry Adams, wrote The Lovers, Sky's new flagship drama? Listen to the jokes, including Janet ’s imagined death of her partner choking on something unspeakable...