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joyce guitarYou’re not the only one to feel apprehensive by the monstrous size of James Joyce’s Ulysses. That’s why we try to make your Joyce transition a lot easier. On Tuesday, June 14th, Festival Bloomsday Montréal will be presenting Stories Told and Sung, a free and enjoyable event to help ease you into Joyce through song and storytelling. Join us for an afternoon of Joyce related medleys and personal experiences on reading his work that’ll whet your appetite for this Irish author.

“Joyce was a man who nearly went into music” was what we were told by the singer of Stories Told and Sung, Kathleen McAuliffe. “He had a great love for opera especially.” As Kathleen acknowledges throughout our discussion together, Joyce’s written works are filled with musical influences that shaped his creativity. A good example would be the “Sirens” episode from Ulysses whose narrative style imitates the complex fugal form. Not to mention Molly Bloom, one of the principal characters of the book, being a somewhat renowned opera singer in Dublin. According to Joyce’s biographer, Richard Ellmann, the Irish author was obsessed with music and opera. In fact, Joyce was a wonderful singer with a tenor voice who could play the piano well and had extensive knowledge on the different types and genres of music. Imagine if he abandoned writing and pursued music full time?


Kathleen McAuliffe will be singing a medley of parlour songs for us during the event Stories Told and Sung. Courtesy of

In honour of his love for music and storytelling, Festival Bloomsday Montréal will be hosting the event Stories Told and Sung, a gathering that will take place at the Atwater Library. Musical pieces related to Joyce will be played on the piano by the talented Natalia Davydova accompanied with the voice of Kathleen McAuliffe who have worked together for fifteen years. When we asked Kathleen if the music from his books inspired her choices this year, she replied with an emphatic yes. “Music is integral to the writing of Joyce and his choices are interesting to me. He nearly went into music full time and couldn’t figure where he would put them. So they’re everywhere in his texts.”

This year, Kathleen will be singing a medley of parlour songs, such as “The Lass of Aughrim” featured in The Dead and the classic, “Love’s Old Sweet Song” featured in Ulysses. “The choices are different from traditional pub songs. I’ll be doing “The Lass of Aughrim” which is very tricky and featured in the movie The Dead and of course “Love’s Old Sweet Song” which is [Molly’s] theme song for potential reconciliation with Bloom.”

The event will also include a reading of one of Joyce’s stories from Dubliners by Margaret Nicolai, as well as personal anecdotes from three separate members on their experience reading Joyce and how it changed their view on literature facilitated by Jan Gregory. As Kathleen explains what to expect from the event, she describes it as a tasting menu. “Many people are frightened by the size of the text and so we hope that the event will whet your appetite to go back to the books after hearing the three personal brushes with Joyce.” She also describes the event to be the most user friendly: “if you’re vaguely interested, you should go.” And so we here at Festival Bloomsday Montréal invite you to Stories Told and Sung, where you have the opportunity to sit down, relax, and listen to the songs and stories related to the world of Joyce.

What: Stories Told and Sung

When: Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 from 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Where: Atwater Library (1 minute walk from the Atwater metro station on the green line)

Who: Songs sung by Kathleen McAuliffe, piano performance by Natalia Davydova, stories told by Margaret Nicolai and performed by Jan Gregory and members of Festival Bloomsday Montréal.

Cost: FREE

Don’t forget to register to our upcoming events. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

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