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Achill’s ‘Splendid Reflections’ online series to go nationwide

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MUSICAL DARES Francois Colussi of Pure Magic playing an accordian in the middle of Keel Lake for an episode of ‘Splendid Reflections’.

Series promoting local music is big online hit

Anton McNulty

The success of the online series, ‘Splendid Reflections’, which showcased musical and artistic talent on Achill, is set to be replicated in other communities around Ireland.
The series, which was broadcast on the ‘What’s On in Achill’ Facebook page, has had over 350,000 views since the first episode was broadcast at the beginning of July. Over the course of the month, a total of 24 episodes were broadcast, with the final episode featuring Francois Colussi of Pure Magic playing an accordion while sitting on a paddle board in the middle of Keel lake broadcast last Wednesday.
The series was produced by Seán Molloy and Emmet Callaghan of Blue Flag Media, who confirmed that following the success of ‘Splendid Reflections’, they have been asked to produce a similar series for Tory Island in Co Donegal.
They both admitted that they stumbled across the format of filming the musicians playing in the Achill countryside as something to do during the current pandemic and did not believe it would be the success it was.
“The idea behind it was to acknowledge musicians and give them a platform,” Seán explained. “During the lockdown I thought it might be something which would be nice to do and I asked [Achill musician] Diarmuid Gielty would musicians be interested and he said he’d make a few phone calls. I was hoping in the beginning to get six or eight for the entire series but we got six done in one day.”
Seán and Emmet pre-recorded the music and edited it around shots they took of the island, using drone footage before putting it all live on the Facebook page. Seán admitted he did not expect the viewers figures they got but with many Achill people unable to travel home this summer, he feels the series provided them with a link to home.
Really enjoyable
“We had visualised it in our own heads that it would look good and if you put it online it will get ‘x’ number of views. It was really enjoyable looking for locations a little bit off the beaten track and the music and scenery together worked well.
“At the start we thought if we get 10,000 views, that would be a success, but quite a few episodes have gone up on 30,000 and 35,000. We were surprised of all the projects we did it was the one which we got the most personal feedback. We got great feedback and messages from people in America and England who can’t come back this year said it was great to get the daily dose of Achill.”
With no venue for the musicians to play during the current pandemic, Seán said that this allowed them a platform to play while also showcasing the natural beauty of the island.
“When I thanked them [musicians] for doing it there were quite a few who said it was great to play music for somebody. A lot of them are musicians who regularly play in pubs and do gigs and that was taken away from them. They can’t do their job. One musician told me he was always told if you could play a musical instrument you will never go hungry. But he said that is different now there is no outlook for artists.”

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All 24 episodes of ‘Splendid Reflections’ are available to view on the What’s on in Achill Facebook page.