The Mayo pianist and composer Conor Walsh passed away this time last year.

The musician passed too soon at a young age, and a year on, it’s still hard to believe such a talent is gone.

Still, Conor left music unheard that he was working on when he passed, which will soon see the light of day, thanks to his family and Ensemble Music. This recorded music was stored on his laptop which was locked with a password. Thankfully, the device was unlocked and his close friend Enda Bates has been working through the material he left behind. An album will come out later this year on Ensemble.

To mark the passing of Conor, his family and the label are sharing ‘Fanthesia’ with us, a beautiful piano composition typical of Conor’s vision. sustained The song is on Bandcamp now and do buy it, as all proceeds go towards the costs of releasing his album.

His family have the following to say about the piece:

“Fanthesia was one of Conor’s favourite pieces. He especially enjoyed the thrill of performing this tune and it was a staple inclusion in his live sets. Conor performed Fantasia live on RTE Radio 1’s The South Wind Blows in 2014. Interviewed before playing, he was asked by presenter Philip King what inspired his next piece. His reply:

“I don’t really seek out divine inspiration, i just tend to stumble across it. I usually find it in my surroundings. For a track like Fanthesia, I definitely took from the surroundings of my home in County Mayo. Im fortunate to live in the beautiful Mayo countryside along the river Moy. I don’t see bleakness or boredom in the sparse country landscape. Instead I find beauty and wonder. Simple things energise me to write and play like the drone-y hums of the farmyards in the distance, the ringings and rumbling of the trains as they pass in the night, often creating their own little melody as they disappear into the abyss, or the tweeting of the birds and of course the magical tranquil sound of the ripple of the river. I love the peace of the place and mystery and awe that can come just from exploring the natural habitat i was born and raised in.”

Take the journey with Conor; explore, release, rise and, enjoy. “

Posted on March 13th, 2017

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Terribly sad news has reached today that the Mayo musician and composer Conor Walsh passed away suddenly yesterday. My thoughts are with his family.

Update: His family posted a moving tribute on his Facebook page as per below.

Conor was an immensely talented pianist and composer from Mayo who has been making music since his teens. He appeared on Other Voices, Body & Soul, Electric Picnic, Another Love Story and more. I had the pleasure to see him live a few times, most recently, he was a highlight of the music trail I booked for Sounds From A Safe Harbour in Cork in September. He also opened for Hozier in 2013 and contributed scores to short film.

Last year, he released a brilliant debut EP on Ensemble Music, that placed his music in the same breath as minimal electronic composers like Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and Philip Glass.

His debut and now sadly, last EP is available on Bandcamp.

His family wrote.

“Conor treated each performance the same way he treated each and every individual whom with he shared company. He never failed to conjure the highest emotion from a melody just as he never but drew the brightest light from all who met him. The absolute dedication, insatiable energy and infallible passion he committed to his music was mirrored in the attention and engagement he gifted to the conversations of those he shared memorable times with, whether on stage in Ballinalough, on the streets of Swinford or, at home in Ballinisland.

Conor was a talented musician, a tireless conversationalist with an intelligent and informed mind, a skilled fisherman, an amazingly caring brother, son and friend, and most of all, a gentleman to all who were fortunate enough to cross his path. Conor’s imprint on music will continue to flow long past his time, and the impression he left on all who knew him is sure to linger in minds and hearts as distinctly as the echo of the notes he leaves behind him. We will all miss Conor dearly, as we try to come to terms with losing a talented artist and an outstanding friend who still had so much to offer.

The family of Conor would like to sincerely thank everyone who has offered their condolences, your support is appreciated very much, and it is a great help at this difficult time.”

Conor Walsh Press Shot 1

Posted on March 12th, 2016

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The Mayo composer and pianist Conor Walsh has been making some impressive neo-classical electronic-smudged tracks that would equally be at home on a film soundtrack as they would on your headphones.

So his teaming up with the classical/contemporary-leaning collective Ensemble makes a lot of sense for his debut  EP The Front which gets a 12″ vinyl and digital release on October 30th and a launch gig on October 31st, All Hallow’s Eve (tickets) and will be the first release on the Ensemble Record label.

Have a listen to the beautifully evocative and minimal title track from the EP:

 

Posted on October 13th, 2015

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Over three days and nights in Cork the Sounds From A Safe Harbour’s programme took hold in the venues of the city that saw the likes of Lisa Hannigan, Wild Beasts, The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Crash Ensemble and many more contemporary artists play shows in a new festival put together by Mary Hickson of the Cork Opera House and curated by Bryce Dessner.

It was a superb first year, with bonded warehouse food, cocktail bars, gigs and talks; exhibitions and screenings and an attendance that further suggested Cork was more than ready for this unique style of contemporary/classical yet alternative-leaning festival to dock in the city.

As part of the whole experience, I curated a free music trail around 5 pubs/venues in the city including Crane Lane, Bodega, The Oval, Poor Relation and BDSM which featured shows from My Brightest Diamond, I Am The Cosmos, Rusangano Family, Bantum, Shookrah, This Is The Kit, I Have A Tribe, Katharine Phillippa, Somerville, Quiet River Of Dust, Slow Skies, Loah, Conor Walsh, Deady, Adultrock, Talos and more.

If you missed out, here’s flavour of the weekend through the lens of Bríd O’Donovan. Here’s to the hope of the return of the festival next year. Thanks Mary, Bryce and Cork for having me too.

Posted on September 22nd, 2015

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Sounds from a Safe Harbour is a new festival taking place around the city of Cork from September 17th to 20th. put together by Cork Opera House with a lineup curated by Bryce Dessner of The National.

Already set to feature the likes of The Gloaming, Julianna Barwick, My Brightest Diamond, Sam Amidon, a collaboration between Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Amiina and lots more as previously announced, today the festival have added Wild Beasts to their lineup. The band will headline Cork Opera House on Sunday, September 20th.

Sounds from a Safe Harbour music trail

On a personal note, I’m pleased to share the news that Nialler9 is curating a music trail around the city that weekend which will take place in various venues and pubs owned by Benny McCabe including the Rising Sons brewery, Bodega and more.

The confirmed lineup for the free music trail which will take place in the afternoons, evenings and late-night during the festival includes Slow Skies, I Am The Cosmos, Rusangano Family, Somerville, Bantum, Talos, Shookrah, Conor Walsh and Vinyl Love with more to be confirmed. Artists from the existing lineup will also be playing these music trail shows.

Other confirmations

Soundings from a Safe Harbour – Lisa Hannigan and Dylan Haskins’ podcast turned live show will welcome Bryce, Aaron and Jessica Dessner in the unique setting of a Bonded Warehouse down on the Port of Cork. The show happens in three sections – the first is stories to inspire, then stories to alarm, and finally stories to humour. Each section is bridged by a song on those themes.

Cork salad king Rocketman will host a food area at the Bonded Warehouse which will include Cork food, food trails and special dining experiences.

The Glucksman will present a week long exhibition of the mesmerising seascapes of renowned Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. The exhibition will take place in one of the interior chambers of the historic observatory on the UCC Campus, evoking the connection between tide and moon, sea and stars.

A screening of Matthew Ritchie’s ‘Monstrance’, which is scored by Bryce Dessner and features Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond).

‘Sail to Sirius’ – Saturday 19 September. A vessel will leave Port of Cork with 40 souls, bound for Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh. On board, the seafarers will be treated to a live performance by Landless before alighting at Sirius for lunch on the venue’s veranda, overlooking Cork Harbour. This will be followed with a double billed performance by Rainwear and Sirius Arts Centre’s artist in residence Nad Spiro.

Cork’s own Alex Petcu-Colan will present a percussion programme in CIT School of Music’s Curtis Auditorium with a programme entitled WoodMetalWater with the Bangers and Crash Percussion group.

Craig Carry of Fractured Air is teaming up with Filter Cafe for an exhibition of work created in response to the festival programme.

Cork Concert Orchestra and the Lords of Strut will also play over the weekend.

Some shows are free, some are ticketed and you can buy a ticket for all shows all at the Ticket section.

Check out the Fractured Air mix to coincide with the news:

A Safe Harbour Vol. 2 [A Fractured Air Mix] by Fractured_Air on Mixcloud

Posted on July 20th, 2015

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450 bands and artists entered the the IMRO Ireland Other Room Open Call to play Other Voices in Derry in a few weeks and the panle of judges, including myself, have whittled down that exhaustive list to five for the public vote.

So if you would like to see any of the following win a slot, then vote for them at RTE.

Cat Dowling


Conor Walsh


Gaze Is A Ghost


Overhead, The Albatross


Tell No Foxx

Posted on January 21st, 2014

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