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12 Irish acts we can’t wait to see @ All Together Now + a 60-song playlist

12 Irish acts we can’t wait to see @ All Together Now + a 60-song playlist

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One of the key draws of this year’s rejuvenated All Together Now Festival, taking place in Curraghmore, Co. Waterford on the July Bank Holiday this year, is its significant strand of Irish artists who are a big part of the appeal of the lineup.

There’s something for everyone this year, and a lot of great Irish bands and acts who are well capable of being your festival highlight this year. It’s a testament to the curation this year, that I left out some of the bigger Irish names (Sinead O’Connor is playing) and those that have grown in stature since the last All Together Now in 2019 – like Denise Chaila, Pillow Queens, Gilla Band and Gemma Dunleavy who are also all playing the festival.

But first, here’s a playlist of 60 Irish acts playing to show you the breadth on display:

I picked out 12 of the Irish acts, besides those, I’m very excited to see this summer at ATN… starting with another artist who made the most of the pandemic.

1.

CMAT

Ciara Mary Alice Thompson has become a pop star on her own terms.

It only took two years for the rest of the country to catch up with the unique appeal of CMAT, Ireland’s country pop personality and top songwriter, but she’s still come a long way since the release of ‘Another Day (KFC)’ in April 2020.

With a gift for songwriting, a deep lyrical prowess and a cabaret-style charming wit and persona, it’s no wonder the debut album If My Wife Knew I’d Be Dead went to number one, the week of release.

CMAT’s show at All Together Now will likely be her biggest festival show yet, a countrified celebration and victory lap for one of Ireland’s new musical heroes.

2.

John Francis Flynn

One of Ireland’s new trad voices.

Before mentioning John Francis Flynn’s fine debut album that was one of our favourites of last year, the Skipper’s Alley musician has also become a key spokesperson of the Dublin Is Dying campaign and a representative of the community under threat from a proposed hotel development at The Cobblestone trad pub in Smithfield.

But that debut album?  I Would Not Live Always takes songs from Ewan MacColl, settled Traveller Paddy Quilligan, Shirley Collins, Frank Harte and pushes them into a bold sonic tapestry with tape loops by Ross Chaney, production by Brendan Jenkinson and playing by his Skipper’s Alley bandmate Ultan O’Brien.

Flynn’s cavernous baritone anchors a record, that feels as much a take on Animal Collective’s pastoral textures as it does trad sometimes, and it’s the latest in a line of Irish records that are doing fresh things with the form.

And live, it soars, so you’ll want to see this in Curraghmore.

Photo: Katelyn Markham O’Halloran.

3.

Negro Impacto

Get on the next wave from Dundalk.

Dundalk duo producer Laurence Kapinga (StrangeLove) and vocalist Chi Chi are Negro Impacto, and they are one young band I’m hugely excited about.

Their debut EP is a fine collection of R&B and pop with verve and tropical vibes, and the accompanying Strange Luv Edits offered alternative takes from the producer’s perspective.

They’re a tight little funky fun outfit live too.

4.

NewDad

Galway’s next big thing are here.

The Galway indie band NewDad are one of those bands who somehow had a good couple of years during a pandemic.

We named them one of the 40 best new Irish bands of 2020, and they’ve since taken their dreamy indie rock music to SXSW and on tour in the UK, with lots of BBC 6Music support.

Apart from a few sold out shows around the country, ATN will be one of the first opportunities for many to get a look at this burgeoning new band.

5.

Aby Coulibaly

One of two Chamomile Records artists on this list.

Since talking to us about quitting her day job and building a rep during the pandemic, Aby Coulibaly has gone from strength to strength, with releases on London’s AMF Records (home to Loyle Carner and Greentea Peng), 2 million streams of her songs and sold out Dublin and London shows.

The 22-year-old R&B artist is writing representational songs of her life with and she’s really only getting started.

6.

Acid Granny

For fans of silly songs and synths.

You know that band with the shopping trolley full of synths you’ll see around Dublin city who have songs about the Brits and Irish dairy? Yeah, that’s Acid Granny, the nomadic messers with the echoed microphone who make radio plays and release compilations of music called things like Urban Hurling.

Live, is where they thrive and you might hear songs like ‘Respect The Garda’, ‘Would You Be My Landlords?’ or ‘The Power of Irish Dairy’.

7.

Adam Mohamed

Ballymun spoken word artist.

Adam Mohamed is an Irish/Sudanese spoken word from Ballymun in Dublin, who went viral for a song which explored heart-on-sleeve exploration of being mixed-race and mixed religion.

An artist, mentored by the likes of Maverick Sabre, Damien Dempsey, and Stephen James-Smith, Mohamed’s recent track ‘Me & I’ was more of a fully-produced song about the challenges of putting yourself out in the world, the fear, and hope, and the ties that bind us from expressing ourselves fully, with a tense, jazz-flecked and rhythmic production backing his searching words.

ATN will be opportunity to see how far Adam’s work has come since.

8.

AE MAK

Aoife McCann’s artful electro-pop.

Aoife McCann’s avant-pop electro music has recently been anchored by the artist’s self-productions and live show collaborations with Glasshouse Ensemble (who are also playing All Together Now btw). You can trust McCann to put on an ever-evolving live show, with dance movements and bright and shining music.

9.

Citrus Fresh

He started as a rapper but the Limerick artist is evolving into something eh, fresh.

It’s a pity that Citrus Fresh’s debut album Operating System dropped in December 2020 as it was missed in the deluge of end of year lists that year, and didn’t get as much attention as it deserved.

But the Limerick artist’s album (produced with Danny Lanham and 40Hurtz) has been a sleeper hit and accompanying shows with a full live band have brought these ruminating songs of mental states and personhood to full life.

Citrus Fresh’s pal Hazey Haze is also playing All Together Now and is very likely to join him on stage.

10.

Cormac Begley

Ireland’s most imaginative concertina player.

There’s no-one who make magic with a concertina quite like Cormac Begley. The Kerryman is about to release a second album entitled B, aimed at exploring the “Bass and Baritone concertina range,” and the B also stands for “‘Bass’, ‘Baile’, ‘Beaglaoich’, ‘Begley’, ‘Blueprint’ and a list of insults in both the Irish and English language.”

Live, Begley makes the concertina sing that sends people into raptures.

11.

Silverbacks

Dublin and Kildare art-rock band.

Across two great indie albums so far, Silverbacks have shook their art-rock post-punk a little differently than most. Approaching the music, with depth of knowledge of the music it emulates (Talking Heads, Television, Stereolab), lyrics that sidestep the trap of irony without genuine humour and warmth; twin vocalists in Daniel O’Kelly and Emma Hanlon and intertwining guitar lines.

Check out this year’s Archive Material and the 2020 debut Fad and listen out for those Daniel O’Kelly one-liners at the live show.

12.

Monjola

The Dubliner’s light is shining.

As part of the Chamomile Records crew (a label started by Monjola and his brother Moyo), alongside this list’s Aby Coulibaly, Monjola is one of Dublin’s brightest new R&B talents, with tracks that just have a higher calibre than most emerging artists.

Show your work. The beautiful vibey melodic collab with Coulibay ‘Where You At’? while the single ‘Pain Don’t Die’ cuts deeper than most in terms of production and delivery.

Who knows what the next few months for Monjola will bring before his All Together Now show, but we’re betting it’s good.

All Together Now

Tickets are currently priced at €235 including booking fee.

See alltogethernow.ie for full info.