Forbidden Fruit is fast approaching.
The May bank holiday is just a week away and June 1st to 3rd will see the grounds of Kilmainham play host to a lineup stacked with international talent. Names like Skepta, Jon Hopkins and Earl Sweatshirt draw the eye straight away but if you dig a little deeper you’ll notice the superb cast of Irish acts performing this year.
We’ve been doing our own digging and we’ve picked out our 10 Irish acts to check out at this year’s festival. With so much on offer we wanted to make sure our list catered for all tastes. We also made sure that our choices came from each of the three days during which the festival takes place – so no one is left out.
Weekend and day tickets for the festival are still available on the festival’s website.
You can check out the day by day breakdown and stage times here.
GlassHouse Ensemble (Monday)
Based in Dublin, art music ensemble GlassHouse have built their reputation around interpreting the work of a popular artist and translating it into an orchestral setting. Previously, the group did a string of shows (a couple in collaboration with Nialler9) based on Sufjan Stevens’ discography. Combining more traditional elements like strings, horns and vocals with contemporary material and electronic additives GlassHouse Ensemble are among the highest calibre of musicians the nation has to offer. Their Forbidden Fruit performance, titled Holocene, will be centred around Bon Iver’s three albums.
Fontaines D.C. (Monday)
Irish rock group Fontaines D.C. have been a highlight of new Irish music in 2019. Building upon two years of writing and relentless touring (just check out their schedule) , their debut album Dogrel has been making waves internationally. The group recently appeared on Jimmy Fallon. Signed to Partisan Records, the group have creatively evolved the vintage rock influences which obviously permeated their early records. The finished product on Dogrel was a visceral blend of beat lyricism, punk brevity and noise rock aesthetics. Their last-minute addition to the FF lineup will be sure to please many headed to Kilmainham on Monday.
Kojaque and Softboy Records have, for some, become synonymous with the recent boom of Irish hip-hop. While this would be a decidedly narrow point of view, it’s undeniable that the MC & visual artist offers a distinctly high-quality output. Kojaque’s tunes are unmistakably his own. His 2018 album Deli Daydreams was Choice Music Prize nominated, a high achievement for a totally independent artist and label. The MC began this year with a string of performances at SXSW, followed with a stint in the UK. The video for ‘Flu Shot’, his most recent single, is a great example of the visual aspect every bit as important to the Kojaque brand as the music. Live, the duo of Kojaque and Kean Kavanagh bring heart, soul and a lot of authenticity and with youngster Luka Palm making on-stage appearances along with a couple of new unreleased songs that suggest the next steps are even more exciting, the Soft Boy flag will be flying at Forbidden Fruit.
Emma Garnett’s work under the Fehdah moniker dances between the world of Afrobeat, house and pop music. The Irish artist taps into her Sierra Leonian heritage to craft heavily syncopated grooves backed with futuristic synth production. Her most recent single ‘Buffer Fly’, featuring vocals from her sister Loah, is a perfect example. Held aloft on the strength of the vocal performances within, the instrumental wonders through jazzy tangents – detouring from the otherwise heavy electronic production.
Sim Simma Soundsystem (Sunday)
Sim Simma’s resident producers Ben Bix & Semi-D managed to pull together one of the finest largescale Irish collaborations in recent memory on Sim Simma Soundsystem’s self-titled EP. Featuring God Knows, Denise Chalia, Chilli Cherry and Breezy Ideygoke on vocal duties, this dancehall-inspired hip-hop project is full of gold throughout its five-track runtime. The name would indicate that the whole crew will appear at their FF set. If that’s the case, their Sunday set is absolutely not to be missed.
Long Island Sound (Saturday)
Tim Nolan and Rob Roche may have followed so many young Irish creatives over to more affordable, less invasive Berlin in the name of perfecting their art. Yet, the house duo’s popularity and influence among budding Irish producers remains palpable. The project is around five years old and in that time the name Long Island Sound has become a go-to for Irish dance producer recommendations. Their most recent EP Initial Ascent hears the duo incorporating spacier textures and UK-inspired rhythms into their house blend.
Saint Sister (Monday)
Dublin and Belfast folk duo Saint Sister continue to grow since Choice Music Prize nominated LP Shape Of Silence, which was in constant rotation at Nialler9 HQ, resulting in an in-depth review and 2nd place in our favourite Irish albums of last year. If anything, Shape Of Silence has gotten better with age, offering a ton of material to appreciate on repeat listens.
The group have been touring over Stateside and just about everywhere else too since the album’s release, gradually building an international following. Their new single, aptly referencing the festival area ‘Kilmainhaim’, is a gem.
Fia Moon (Saturday)
Fia Moon came to our attention last year with the release of ‘Settle Down’, the second in a slew of singles the vocalist released in collaboration with producer Dan Dare (Charli XCX, Wiley). Alternating between Dublin and London, Moon’s recorded material speaks to an easy mass appeal, with contemporary pop production making it an easy fit for playlists and radio stations alike.
Galway producer and DJ Daithí underwent a bit of a transformation last year. 2018 heard the release of two double singles, ‘Take The Wheel’ and ‘Lavender & Orange’. Both of these double sides saw the producer collaborate with vocalists (Paul Noonan & The Sei to name a couple) and hone a darker, more sombre tone. That material was stunningly hypnotic, a sure fire treat in a live setting, especially with a full live band in tow, as is promised.
Marcus Woods (Saturday)
Burner Records man Marcus Woods stands out as one of the nation’s most exciting emerging producers. Originally releasing on the now defunkt District Recordings, Woods released his EP Demo last year. The EP showcased Woods direction and influences, spanning from vaporwave through contemporary classical and future garage. With new material on the way and a new label of peers to back him, expect Woods’ push on hard over the coming months. His FF performance on Saturday is the perfect time to get a live introduction.