Next weekend sees the kickoff of Clonmel Junction, a multidisciplinary arts festival that draws music, comedy, dance, visual art and installation from all over the country to Clonmel and the wider South Tipperary area. A whole host of attractions are lined out for the festival, running from July 3rd to July 10th, and picking a handful of sights to see is tough, but here’s our personal selection of some must-see gigs happening throughout.
Thursday July 6th, 6pm @ Baker’s Bar, free
Everyone loves Caoilian Sherlock. Absolutely everybody. No exceptions. The handsomest boy in Cork music has worn many a hat in his time among the city’s musical rabble: as a DJ, one of the curators of Quarter Block Party, one of Southern Hospitality Board, and as one of the lads from Leeside psych-pop combo The Shaker Hymn. Criss-crossing the roads of Ireland on his lonesome for new project Saint Caoilian, Sherlock taps into his inner troubadour to sweet, injured, almost heartbroken effect.
Friday July 7th, 8pm @ Mulcahy’s, €20
The artists formerly known as Lynched have been on the ascendant in recent years, combining respect for a vast array of musical traditions with a distinctly relevant socially-conscious edge. They combine distinctive four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of uilleann pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar. Having appeared on Later with Jools Holland following the release of their first album Cold Old Fire, the band were also nominated for three gongs at the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and have signed with Rough Trade for their second long-player.
Friday July 7th, 8pm @ Mitchelstown Cave, €30, with Peter Broderick
Meanwhile, over at Mitchelstown Cave on the same evening, one of the vanguard of the new wave of Irish artists takes to stage. Sallay Matu Garnett, aka Loah, is a now well-established presence in Irish music. The Sierra Leonean/Irish singer has been a lifelong musician, classically trained in piano, violin and voice. Her time at Trinity College yielded collaborations with future members of the likes of Little Green Cars, Slow Skies and I Have A Tribe, while subsequent ventures have seen her co-write music on Hozier’s platinum self-titled record, and finish her debut E.P., showcasing her folkish brand of self-named “art-soul”.
Saturday July 8th, 6pm @ Phil Carroll’s, free
The improvisational project of musician/artist Irene Buckley and producer/GASH Collective head Ellen King (aka ELLL), Wry Myrrh weave together off-the-cuff electronica with brooding, foreboding drones and textures. Debuting in January of 2016 at Cork’s Community Print Shop, the duo have since shared a stage with Sophie Cooper, MMOTHS, and the Tor Invocation Band.
Crash Ensemble & Sam Amidon
Saturday July 8th, 8pm @ Old St. Mary’s Church, €30
At the bleeding edge of contemporary Irish music for twenty years this year, Crash Ensemble have been pursuing a number of special events and collaborations. For this event Crash Ensemble will be joined by American folk artist Sam Amidon, who reworks traditional folk melodies into new, indie-friendly forms.
Tickets for all events above are available now at junctionfestival.com, along with info on the full programme.
Galway International Arts Festival have announced its lineup for mid-July and it includes a new opera by Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh. Music-wise Brian Wilson was already announced for the Absolut Big Top while Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Passenger, Gavin James, The Coronas, and Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s Dance Anthems are on the bill.
A lot of the music events take place at Roisin Dubh and there’s some sweet gigs lined up including a rare James Lavelle presents UNKLE Sounds event.
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.
‘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”…
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also of music interest at LIF? Ryan Gatiss’ Lost In Music this Sunday. It’s a musical journey through his acclaimed new novel All Involved, a kaleidoscopic tale of race, revenge and loyalty set during the 1992 LA Riots.
Ryan plays the songs that feature in the novel – everything from Cypress Hill to The Supremes – and explains how they inspired the characters and scenes.
Whelan’s Says YES for Equality this Friday night in conjunction with Radiomade, The Last Mixed tape and Straight Up For Equality. Delorentos, R.S.A.G., Wyvern Lingo ,Twinkranes, Elaine Mai, Attention Bebe and Plutonic Dust are all set to play. Tickets €15 with proceeds going to the Yes Equality campaign.
Down With Jazz is back in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar on Sat 30th & Sun 31st May 2015 this year. Performers at the tongue in cheek-named festival include modern and classical jazz like Louis Stewart, Isotope, The Ceo Experiment, Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, Mixtapes From The Underground and Manden Express with djembe and n’goni player Sidiki Dembélé. Tickets
20 acts including Bitch Falcon, Profound, Dear Desert, Booka Brass Band, Wyvern Lingo, Loah, Pockets, Rocstrong, Buffalo Woman and more are featured. Check out the mag edited by Phil Udell, designed by Simon Roche with great photography by Olga Kuzmenko, Ste Murray, Debbie Hickey, Sean Clarke and Mark McGuinness.