Sallay Matu Garnett aka Loah has been a regular on the Irish music scene over the last two years despite having yet released an EP or album.

That’s because the Irish Sierra Leonean singer is a unique talent, a magnetising performer and any time you see her sing, whether it’s with Bantum last night at the Choice Prize or an acoustic set, or My Ireland , or RiZA, there’s a palpable sense of a musician on the rise.

‘The Bailey’ was the song Loah originally debuted through a live video in 2014 and now, the recorded version from her upcoming This Heart EP, that debut EP, will come out on April 28th via Ensemble Music.

This version of the song features Niwel Tsumbu, Scott Kohlmann, Barry Donohoe, Johnny Taylor, and Andre Antunes, Michael Buckley on saxophone, arranged by Brian Denvir with production by Ken McCabe (of Come On Live Long).

Says Loah of the track:

“The Bailey takes on the theme of government – a word we take from Latin which actually means ‘Mind Control’. Prompted by a foolish excursion in cliff jumping on a rough day that could have ended in tragedy, I wanted to explore how we can be so misguided in our decisions and so powerfully disobey our inner intuition, flowing along with the tide of opinions that surround us both on wider social and political matters and in our own personal lives and relationships. We hand over the power of dominion over our bodies or our self-worth to others outside us who we deem more capable of making choices on our behalf and I wonder how do we get so far from ourselves? What, if any, is the payoff for this. Acceptance? Love?”

Up next for Loah is a trip to SXSW for some shows on 16th and 17th March, followed by the Irish Arts Centre in New York on 22nd March.

This Heart EP

  1. This Heart
  2. The Bailey
  3. Unveiled
  4. Cortège
  5. Nothing

Posted on March 10th, 2017

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‘My Ireland’ is a poem by Stephen James Smith (you will know him from ‘Dublin You Are’, at least) commissioned for St. Patrick’s Festival set to visuals by Myles O’Reilly and music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Inni-K, Saint Sister, Loah, Ye Vagabonds. It was all produced, recorded and mixed by Conor O’Brien.

It’s a poem about the good, the bad and the ugly of Ireland: Savita, Magdalene laundries, Zig & Zag, Apollo House, thanking bus drivers, notions, Skelligs and Star Wars, Jobsbridge, The Fear, executions at Kilmainham jail, getting the ride in Copper Face Jacks. My Ireland “knows Dunphy is a spoofer”…

Let it wash over you.

Stephen James Smith is among the performers at Young Blood: The Beats and Voices of Our Generation which will also feature Rusangano Family, Emmet Kirwan, Hare Squead and more.

Credits

Written & narrated by Stephen James Smith
Filmed & edited by Myles O’Reilly
Produced, recorded & mixed by Conor O’Brien
Violin & bouzouki by Colm Mac Con Iomaire
Backing vocals by Morgan MacIntyre & Gemma Doherty (Saint Sister), Loah & Ye Vagabonds.
Harp by Gemma Doherty (Saint Sister)
Bodhrán by Stephen James Smith
Closing song Guí by Eithne Ní Chatháin (Inni-K)

Posted on February 15th, 2017

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I’ve spent 11 years writing about and documenting Irish music, with an emphasis on Dublin, my hometown and capital city.

The music scene has changed a lot in those times, not only from the industry side: with the revenue in flux, streaming music changing the landscape and a greater emphasis on the experience that can’t be downloaded – the live music and club scene.

An increase in bands and artists buoyed by the possibilities that digital access affords has lead to a varied music scene no longer anchored by a monotone stream of singer-songwriters. Dublin’s music scene and the acts playing it represents an embrace of sound, a widening of the net, an exploration of the possibilities.

Nialler9 in association with Absolut came together to talk to the people who work in music and the people who promote, play and make it, about how they feel the music made here. There’s a sense of energy brewing once more. Dublin’s small size makes it a perfect place to play. You get to know other musicians and promoters. Artists cross-pollinate and collaborate. No one genre exists in their own bubble as in a city this size, especially at a festival like Metropolis; the possibility two bubbles can intersect and form a more interesting place, is never far away. A sense of collaboration and size means the prism of Dublin’s music can be discovered with ease.

In this video by Allen Kiely, we talked to the likes of Loah, Bitch Falcon, Le Boom, Homebeat, Ruth Medjber, DJ Deece, Hidden Agenda, DJ Sally Cinnamon, Kelly-Anne Byrne and Bantum.

We got a sense of how a city collaborates, influences, intersects, builds community, energises, grows, makes spaces and places for magic to happen.

The leading city lights mentioned by the assembled include Cinema, Yamamori Tengu, Metropolis, Saint Sister, Girl Band, Wastefellow, Damola and Akora.

Music is by Le Boom – ‘What We Do’

Posted on December 12th, 2016

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Congolese/Dublin guitarist/singer Niwel Tsumbu’s band RiZA is made up of Eamonn Cagney (of Treelan) on percussion, Emma Garnett (Feather) and Sallay Garnett (Loah) on vocals and Paddy Groenland (Ensemble Ériu, Manden Express) on guitar.

Last year, RiZA gave us ‘Kamembe’ and the promise of an album. That album arrives in January and from it, ‘Thank You’ is a delicate soulful ode to family, particularly Niwel’s wife.

“The song is really a way to express gratitude to my wife as a friend and for all the support she has given me over the years. I often say without the influence of women we would still be living in caves! Sometimes we take it for granted what we have until it is gone so, I thought I should do it now. But this is not just about my wife; gratitude is a quality that has a direct connection to happiness. We should never forget it as a species – being grateful is a great way to increase our well being and life satisfaction.”

Watch the ballet dancing-featuring video by by Steve Glashier (who is responsible for videos for Fatboy Slim, Chrissie Hynde, Juliette Lewis). ‘Thank You’, along with the album, was recorded and mixed in Peter Gabriel’s Realworld Studios in Wales.

Posted on October 25th, 2016

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Bantum is back and his new track is a winner.

Teaming up with the soulful Dublin / Sierra Leonean singer Loah for a track that sticks with Ruairi Lynch’s mix of guitar and electronic sonics. This time around, the production is tighter and the impact is greater.

Watch the music video featuring dancer Laura Sarah Dowdall, shot in Dublin using only street light by Peter O’Brien and produced by Motherland.

Artwork: Shane O’Driscoll.

Screenshot-2016-02-09-11.49.31

Posted on February 9th, 2016

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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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Knockanstockan music and arts festival takes place next month on July 24th and 25th at Blessington Lakes and they’ve just added a nice batch of Irish artists to the existing mix.

The additions are:
Tickets are €80 for the weekend plus fees on sale now.

Posted on June 11th, 2015

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Homebeat and Happenings’ Another Love Story was a small festival success story last year so it’s back this year from August 21st to 23rd in  the indoor spaces, ballroom, woods and parlour rooms of Killyon Manor, Kinnegad Co. Meath.

Announced so far are:

VERY SPECIAL GUEST, Loah, Leo Drezden, Come On Live Long, I Have A Tribe, Valerie Francis, Attention Bébé, Buffalo Woman, Margie Lewis, Ye Vagabonds, Tandem Felix, Paddy Hanna, Elephant, Tomorrows, SignA, Sun Collective, Anna Mieke, Kiruu & More tba.

DJs :

David Kitt (Permanant Vacation), Neil Flynn (Lossless), Sally Cinnamon, Andrew Kearny, Tim O’ Donovan, Nialler9 , T/A/S/T/E , Dj Hula Hoops , Glammo, Chuck & Will, ALS Djs , Vinyl Love

Occurrences and Corners :

Talks , Walks , Yoga , Qui Gong , Theatre , Roland’s Cinema D’amour , Glitteration Station by The Cat’s Meow , Guerilla Aerial , The Love Summit , The State & Of The Nation , The Deepest Darkest Woods Stage , The Teenage Crush Bar , The Library , The Parlour Room & MORE!

Weekend tickets start at €85+fee and there are limited day tickets. Dogs go free too. More info.

Artwork by Steve McCarthy.

 

 

Posted on May 25th, 2015

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Niwel Tsumbu is a Congolese guitarist who is frequently heard and seen beside and behind others. For his new project, RiZA, the artist draws on his strong musical family for a debut album due in October with songs written in a Congolese tongue Lingala based on his personal revelation that his 14 year-old son isn’t biologically his relation.

Rather than fall into darkness, Tsumbu created music with joy, the first bit which you can hear in the above video by Ivan Cummins, a sparkling acoustic folk song ‘Kabembe’ with an almost tropical disco feel to it. He is joined by Feather, Loah, Paddy Groenland (Ensemble Ériu, Manden Express), Feather and Eamonn Cagney (of Treelan) on his own music.

RiZA play Africa Day on Sunday.

Posted on May 19th, 2015

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