‘Hope On, Hope Ever’: Festival Concert with Jessie Kennedy, Tess Leak & the Vespertine Quintet

Sat, Aug 7 2021 8.30pm Festival Concert: ‘Hope On, Hope Ever: a musical response inspired by elements of the Franklin Expedition’ with Jessie Kennedy, Tess Leak and the Vespertine Quintet

The full Festival programme is here:

‘Hope On, Hope Ever’ has been created by musicians Jessie Kennedy & Tess Leak, in collaboration with curator Dr Claire Warrior. This project was inspired by the well-known folk song “Franklin’s Lament,” which Jessie has performed live in recent years. The performance will feature re-interpretations of original folk music played on Franklin’s ships. Using books & other resources from the museum, the place of the Inuits in the oral keeping of the history and stories of the expedition will be weaved into the piece, using actual samples of their music and responses. These will be intertwined with original pieces of music and word.

In the creation and performance of this musical piece we will explore themes such as hope, perseverance, bravery, love, isolation, support, community, and reflect their relevance in these challenging times. Even in the darkest of situations, we look at how life, love and friendship – not just death and loss- was celebrated through music, loyalty and friendship. We look at the enduring love of Jane Franklin and her perseverance in searching for her husband after his disappearance. The title “Hope On, Hope Ever” is taken from the flag hand-sewn by Jane Franklin for her husband on the expedition. It will be performed live and streamed by Jessie with The Vespertine Quintet, who augment a traditional string quartet with piano, vocals, electronics and sound textures.

Jessie Kennedy 

Jessie is an Irish vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and composer from West Cork. She has released four studio albums to date, including the acclaimed “The Carbery Songs”. Jessie has performed and collaborated with many artists including sixties legend Donovan, Sacha Puttnam, Jeremy Irons, Interference, James McVinnie, Nigel Kennedy, John Spillane and Patsy Puttnam. She has headlined venues such as The National Concert Hall, Dublin, Cork Opera House, St. Andrews in London and St. Barrahanes Classical Music Festival. Jessie is currently working on her fifth studio album.

Tess Leak 

Tess is a visual artist and musician who often collaborates with composers, dancers, poets and puppeteers. She is a graduate of both the BA in Visual Art on Sherkin Island and the ‘Curious School of Puppetry’ in London.

Tess has worked as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme in West Cork since 2010, developing cross-artform projects in collaboration with participants in healthcare settings.  Tess performs as a cellist with groups such as The Vespertine Quintet and Barefoot Baroque.

The Vespertine Quintet

The Vespertine Quintet is a collection of musicians from West Cork, comprising the traditional string quartet and piano with added electronic sounds.

The quintet was born during a long West Cork winter as an idea by violinist Justin Grounds to gather some friends and play some sparse and wintery minimalist music by Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds and Estonian Arvo Pärt. They put on a series of house concerts, gathering friends in houses in West Cork, sharing warm food and wine and playing their program. Word soon got out and the quintet were invited to play to a sold out audiences at venues like Glebe Gardens, Lissard House for the Skibbereen Arts Festival, a winter series of collaborations with well-known solo artists at DeBarras Clodagh Simonds of Fovea Hex, Poet and Peacemaker Padraig O Tuama, Farewell J.R., Liam O Maonlaoi (the Hothouse Flowers), composer Tom Adams, Choice Music Award winner Adrian Crowley and many others.