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Founded in 1997, BANSHEE is a collective of six Irish women artists originally based in New York (click the names 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. Imelda O’Reilly’s film, “Tumbling Towards Home” wowed audiences at international festivals. 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. As part of that event, Caitríona O’Leary joined Helena Mulkerns as part of her Cáca Milis WEXLIT Cabaret for a very special evening that included Colm Tóibín and Carlo Jacucci. In New York, Darrah Carr continues to bring cutting edge dance with a blend of traditional Irish dance to audiences in New York and further afield. Darrah will join Helena once again on 31st October, for the Cáca Milis Samhain Cabaret – a Celtic New Year extravaganza. Watch out for an upcoming Banshee Online event – TBA.
The collective was the subject of a documentary film 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.