Red Bull Music have announced their ‘Free Gaff’, a three-night event across three floors taking place from March 30th to April 1st at a secret location in Dublin city centre. Nialler9 will DJ the launch on the Thursday.
The line-up across the three days looks like this:
AE Mak have become known for their energetic live performances that incorporate visuals and dance, mediums that enhance their bright style of music. ‘Glow’ is influenced by the emotions that surround arguing with those close to you and embodies a powerful energy with emotive synths, tribal beats and soul-stirring vocals from Aoife McCann. – This is the band’s first release since the departure of Ellie McMahon and it’s a dynamic return.
Fontaines D.C – Chequeless Reckless
Fontaines D.C are a band that reflect Dublin city in all its glory and defects through their own unique essence of rock and roll. ‘Chequeless Reckless’ is the first release from their forthcoming double A-side, a lyrically-focused and melodically infectious two-minute track with an underlining pensive mood.
The video was shot by JustGrayce ( that’s me) and edited by Conor Dockery.
Loah – Unveiled
Irish Sierra Leonean singer Sallay Matu Garnett or Loah categorises music as ‘ArtSoul’ which is certainly an accurate description for latest release ‘Unveiled’, as a follow up from her last track ‘Nothing’ this track sees Loah in a much more stripped back setting that shows off her hauntingly beautiful vocals accompanied by soothing acoustic guitar.
The video for Unveiled furthermore enhances the beauty of the track and is by Ellius Grace.
Laoise – Bother
Galway electronic pop artist Laoise’s follow up to ‘Rich’ is a much more upbeat pop track with dance elements that continues to show off her strong vocal abilities. It was produced by Chris Bubenzer of Diffusion Lab.
Old Hannah – Follow
‘Follow’ is the first single from Sligo group Old Hannah’s debut album Borealis which will be released later this year. The track shares a new sound for the band as they take a step away from their folk roots into an upbeat, catchy and harmonious flow.The single launch takes place on Thursday March 15th at The Grand Social. Tickets priced at €10+ are available from Eventbrite.ie.
Brién – Heaven
Multi-instrumentalist Brién’s ‘Heaven’ is the second release from his EP entitled Tandem released on Soft Boy Records. The track has an early Mount Kimbie sound with atmospheric visuals in the video filmed and directed by Clodagh Farrelly.
EOMAC – Resist All Dogma
Dublin-based electronic producer Ian Eomac or EOMAC (one half of Lakker) latest track is from his album Reconnect which will be rreleasedon March 9th. It was mastered and cut by Helmut Erler at Dubplates & Mastering and will be available for purchase on vinyl on Rubadub.co.uk. Disclaimer – this track is not for sensitive ears.
I adore the Mura Masa / NAO / Bonzai family (they share management) and this is a perfect marriage of NAO’s impossibly serene and effortless songwriting and vocals and MM’s production. This tune is so vibey they released it twice – it appears on both MM’s first mixtape and his debut album from this year. I blared this on the way to pretty much every festival this year.
Nai Palm – Crossfire/So Into You
Hiatus Kaiyote’s mesmerizing frontwoman released a solo album this year and this was one of the leading singles. For many, I’m sure one of the greatest elements of Hiatus is Nai’s songwriting – so harmonically exciting and rich so it’s a pleasure to have it so exposed and intimate – almost demo-like – with all the glorious vocal harmonies front and centre. I particularly love when it morphs into the Tamia cover at the end (1998!).
Sequence – TNM
This song has not left my head since I first heard it, a perfect little slice of absolute tune. The sequence is channelling a fresh wave of dancehall/afrobeat / Naija sounds through an Irish funnel, I love his flow and I’m super excited for where his career takes him.
Davido – If
I’m feeling Naija Afrobeat in a big way – I could have an entire Afrobeat playlist tbh but I just chose one of my absolute favourites from this year. Davido’s hooks are large, he throws out absolute hits like it’s nothing.
Floor Staff – Mold
I discovered this track a couple of months back and I find it so haunting – made on our shores no less, I feel transported to an alternative universe where the 80s reign supreme again, it’s pure class. Excellent production and the vocal is perfect.
Frank Ocean – Biking (ft Jay Z & Tyler the Creator)
Frank has been teasing out singles all year and Biking is a glorious showcase of his flawless lyricism and wistful nostalgic songwriting that makes everything seem both urgent and laid back all at once. The verse features by Jay Z and Tyler are slick but to be honest, I just want to hear Frank over and over, and thankfully there is a solo version for those obsessives just like me…
SZA has had an incredible year, well deserved. Her capacity to deliver such poignant vulnerability and give-no-fucks sexuality in equal lyrical measure delivered in her glorious alto gets me every time. Scott’s feature is really tasteful on this too.
Discovered Ships properly late in the night at Body and Soul festival this year and have been a fan since – their album Precession that came out this year is worthy of every accolade given and this tune buried deep within it is for me the pinnacle of their emotive electronic disco glory.
The Scratch – Punisher
The Scratch were sent to us to completely toss music and our approach to it upside down – this tune about party punishers is so completely compelling, irreverent, well observed and crafted, in a sound I haven’t reached for in years and yet find myself rediscovering as a result. As an aside I find their music to be dramatically mood-shifting – they literally cure ‘bad buzzes’ and live their energy is incredible – as former metallers they really bring it. I’m not alone in thinking this as their first solo headline show set for January 2018 sold out in a single morning. Watch this space.
Irish Sierra Leonean singer Sallay Matu Garnett or Loah takes you on a journey of self-discovery with her new track ‘Nothing’.
“Being a woman in the world has often been a fraught and tense experience. Battles with self-worth, feeling like my body is not my own and a sense of worthlessness outside of relationships culminated in the need for me to create this work. This is not just my experience. Our outer political and cultural world often reflect this. Becoming more conscious and confident has enabled me to use my power to make more informed, positive choices for myself and my community.”
The video was directed by Mark William Logan and is split into four different sections which represent four different realities of the self, the subconscious, the confident self, the insecure self and the reality, taking you on a journey through these realities from darkness to light.
The St Patrick’s Festival have announced ‘Equivalent Exchange’, a collaborative evening of music with DJ and composer Kormac, The Irish Chamber Orchestra and special guests in Vicar Street on Sunday 18th March 2018.
Over 30 musicians will take part on the night including Kormac’s Big Band, Irish Sierra Leonean singer Loah, conductor and composer Eimear Noone and many more to be announced.
“The principle of Equivalent Exchange states that in order to gain something new you must first sacrifice something of equal value. I’ve applied this to my own writing process, forgoing my usual way of working but also in how I’m working with the artists I’m collaborating with for the show, bringing them songs and ideas at an earlier stage than I normally would. In this way, I’m giving up my usual level of control over the songwriting, allowing the collaboration to develop something completely new. It has also been a dream of mine for years to write an album’s worth of material for an orchestra and I’m so delighted I’ve been given the opportunity to actually do it. I’ve been working on this for the last 18 months and can’t wait to perform the full show with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, my big band and so many of the country’s leading vocalists, musicians and artists at St. Patrick’s Festival 2018.” – Kormac
Tickets for Equivalent Exchange priced at €24+ go on sale this Friday December 8th from Ticketmaster.ie.
The first bands to play the eir Other Voices Festival in association with Heineken in Dingle from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd December have been revealed.
Adding to the magic in Dingle will be:
Come On Live Long
Waldorf and Cannon
Mango and MathMan
The 13 venues used in the town are An Díseart, Nellie Fred’s, An Droichead Beag, John Benny’s, The Marina Inn, McCarthy’s, An Chonair, Dingle Brewing Company, Paul Geaney’s, Adams, Bean in Dingle, Kennedy’s and Murphy’s.
More music Trail acts will be announced in the coming weeks. There will be 70 free events as part of the festival (head to www.othervoices.ie and register for Festival wristbands).
Venues will be hosting the eir live-stream from the main filmed gigs from St. James’ Church.
Jim Carroll’s Banter will return and is set to feature conversations with playwright Enda Walsh, Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis and Jeannette Lee, documentary director Emer Reynolds, AVA Festival’s Sarah McBriar, cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell, writer Sinead Gleeson will present the arts review of the year and Caitlín Nic Gabhann and Ciarán Ó’Maonaigh will be exploring traditional music in contemporary times.
The Dingle Cookery School are organising food stalls in the town also for the weekend.
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.