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Founded in 1997, BANSHEE is a collective of six Irish women artists originally based in New York (click the names in red above) but since scattered between the United States and Ireland. Originally created as a website, BANSHEE took to live performance like ducks to water, performing collectively in spaces such as Max Fish, Fez and The Knitting Factory or at events like The Guinness Fleadh (an Irish Lollapollooza). With no set format for the evening, Banshees anarchically introduced each other and delivered their respective genres of dance, fiction, song, poetry, drama and satire. Gigs were irreverent, spontaneous and gained a minor cult following of New Yorkers and New Irish. The new century saw BANSHEE go virtual again, but each remained hard at work in the arts and in 2019, celebrated an anniversary of sorts with a sold-out performance at Dublin’s Button Factory. In Sept 2020, all six performed online at the Irish American Writers and Artists Transatlantic Salon.
In summer 2020, Emer Martin and Helena Mulkerns appeared at The Skibereen Speakeasy, each reading from their own fiction work. Banshee and arts administrator Elizabeth Whyte (Executive Director and CEO of the Wexford Arts Centre) moved and shook in Ireland’s Southeast, bringing the Wexford Literary Festival live online in a ZOOM extravaganza. During lockdown, Caitríona O’Leary has continued to create extraordinary music and more recently film, Helena Mulkerns transformed her Cáca Milis Arts Cabaret sessions into ZOOM broadcasts and in New York, Darrah Carr continued to bring cutting edge dance with a blend of traditional Irish dance to US audiences. Fall 2022 sees some new poetry published for Imelda O’Reilly, who is also appearing on September 14 with Suzanne Vega as part of The Village Trip Festival at The Players Theatre in McDougal Street, NYC.
For more up to date information on each Banshee, click on the links of their respective websites.
The collective was the subject of a documentary by Laura Metzger-Lynch, and was featured on Irish National television, BBC television and on radio programs in both the U.S. and Ireland. Now working in music, contemporary fiction, fine art, indie publishing, film, arts administration and contemporary dance, BANSHEE still collaborate on projects, and the virtual bond survives.