A lot music from Ireland and Northern Ireland comes Nialler9’s way and every week, we listen through it all and select the tracks from emerging artists and some established acts that deserve to be heard by you.
Under Your Garden
Eunice Saraiva, the singer with Off All Living Things, released a solo EP of music influenced by the ambient folk, ethereal and textural sounds of artists like Cassandra Jenkins, Indigo Sparke and Sea Oleena called I know now I didn’t know, what it meant to really go last week.
The Irish-based Portugese artist wrote the three-track EP with sound engineer/ producer Ber Quinn, and the opener ‘Under Your Garden’ is a song which unfurls in a suspended fashion.
The project name Calmea is a made-up word, similar to the Portuguese adjective ‘calma’, meaning to be relaxed and at peace.
“During the first lockdown, I went back home to Portugal for a couple of months and, while dealing with feelings of estrangement, rented a small house in the countryside. I was alone, doing a lot of introspection on what it means to belong to two different homes and yet to feel so isolated. After weeks of not being emotionally able to create, these songs happened all at once on the morning of my last day there. They belong to each other.”
The Libyan-Irish singer and composer Farah Elle is set to release her long-awaited debur album Fatima on October 7th, an album named after her mother, Fatima Hamroush; who returned from Ireland to Libya in 2011 to become Minister of Health in the Libyan Transitional Government after the fall of Gaddafi.
With that in mind, ‘Laundry’ is a moving tribute to her mother.
“The thing I really love about ‘Laundry’ is what it represents. It’s one of the only love songs I’ve ever written and it’s about how I learned what real love is from my mom,” says Farah. “I came home exhausted from playing a festival one day, and I knew I already had a huge pile of laundry waiting! When I opened my bedroom door, to my surprise, I discovered that my mom had already done all of my laundry and left it folded neatly on my bed. At the time, I was going through a rough break-up and was wondering what love was all about. That day, I realized what true love is. It’s legit when you come home and find your laundry done – just because someone wants to make your life that little bit easier. This is a song for the people out there who do the most.”
Anna Mieke has a new album called Theatre on the way on November 18th on the Nettwerk label, and the third single from it compounds what previous songs ‘For A Time’ and ‘Twin’ suggested, an artist making their own individual shapes in the world of folk music.
‘Mannequin’ (lyrically inspired in part by the Jane Kenyon poem Otherwise ) comes with a stunning video directed by Anna Heisterkamp, who says of the video – “I wanted to look at the stark contrast between nothing and something slight, the feeling of falling and watching someone fall, distortion of the natural.”
“The first line of the song is one that repeats in the poem. There’s a feeling of being an observer, a witness, of being observed in performance, a play, and the rituals of moving through life. An acknowledgement of things coming to an end, and how nothing is meant to stay the same. A kind of imagined underworld exists in this song, too: it lives in a hot climate and I imagine a jungle, desert, tropical birds when I hear it. There’s a sort of darkness present: porcelain eyes, staring; blood; being consumed; a gun. I’d barely finished writing the song and hadn’t practiced it a whole lot when we recorded it, and Matt and Ryan, who play on the live core take, had barely heard it before, so there’s a sort of tension there—a hanging on to an edge. One reference I had for the arrangement of this song was the music composed for ‘Peter And The Wolf’ by Sergei Prokofiev.”Anna Mieke
Dublin artist Christian Cohle is giving James Blake brass vibe on ‘Another Life’ an epic track that serves as a taster from his Wetlands album due in 2023.
Great cinematic video too by Tristan Heanue.
“Another Life to me is about love and time. While making the track
itself I had this idea of creating an acapella but pitching, bending and making my
voice sound so gnarly and disconnected until it became something else. It allowed
me to connect with the song in a really profound way, by getting out of my own way
with it. I was also listening to Yves Tumor’s, Safe In The Hands of Love at the time,
which I think had a part to play too in inspiring the energy of Another Life.”
Súil Amháin’s fruitful collab with producer Bantun continues apace.
OMG what an Aisling Banger.
“The Aisling is a vision or dream poem, which developed in Gaelic poetry in Munster during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The first rapper I ever heard invoke a river in this tradition was Dyrt Davis. Rivers are often used as a personification for the struggle of the people .i. ‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’ – the powerful song by Fermanagh/Listowel bard Mickey McConnell being a relevant example.
I’d always wanted to compose verses to the River Feale. But you can’t compose an Aisling – it has to hit you in a flash-vision, in time of need.
AISLING FHÉILE is an invocation of a new sense of identity,
in a time of alienation – a call to artists across Cúige Mumhan today.”
Rainbow Language (is for Losers)
Brighton-based wonky hyperpop merchant Meljoann (it’s pronounced Mel- Joe- Ann) follows up 2021’s album H.R, with ‘Rainbow Language (is for Losers)’ , a song concerned with “the artist’s darker days of growing up Pansexual and marginalised in the theocratic rural Ireland of the 80s and 90s.”
Meljoann plays Servant Jazz Quarters, London on October 25th alongside Video Blue and Noah Yorke.
First Snow (feat. Aoife Power)
Speaking of Video Blue, aka London-based Irish producer and artist Jim O’Donohue Martin, here he crops up with sparkling indie song featuring Aoife Power of WhenYoung.
The song is “an ode to keeping your head, coming together with a loved one, and weathering the challenges life throws up jointly,” says Jim.
‘First Snow’ is the second piece of new music released from Video Blue in 2022, which you can hear live both at London’s Servant’s Jazz Quarters and Dundalk’s Spirit Store, the week before on October 18th, when he supports Trick Mist.
The Waterford Anomaly producer Evan Miles has released ‘Presence’, a billowing instrumental track with soft sounds baked in.
Miles also dropped this Fontaines edit as part of his Burnt Out Edits Vol 3 remix package which you can hear here:
Loving this electronic pop song from the 21-year-old Kildare producer and DJ Malachy Sammon, who says he was inspired by The xx and Roisin Murphy in the execution of ‘Waterfalls’. Good vibes.
Fiona Sharkey is an Irish producer who has a background as a classical pianist and making music for the past 10 years. ‘The Party’ is an sprightly electronic pop song that serves as the artist’s second release.
Noted influences include Burial, Clannad, Kiasmos, Nils Frahm, Confidence Man and Talos.
I’m an entirely self-made musician, my genre is electronic/pop. Influences are or the past 10 years.
At The End (feat. Saoirse Miller, Téga)
20 year-old producer D*mp released this raspy ethereal tune with vocals by Téga and Saoirse Miller last week, a song that sounds like it’s burning in the ashes of flames.
Dublin band Akrobat released this catchy indie-rock tune ‘Basquiat’s Widow’, a song which is reminscent of the band’s stated influence – Sonic Youth.
The tune is taken from a forthcoming record entitled Jammed
Space Movement, out on November 5th digitally, which was recorded at The Meadow in late 2021 with acclaimed producer Rian Trench.
The track is based on the tumultuous and passionate relationship between American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and his lover and muse, Suzanne Mallouk. On a broader and more contemporary note, it’s a reflection on segregation, racism towards people of colour and prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community.
For more extensive Irish and new music coverage, hit up the Irish section for individual track features
For this and more Irish songs, follow the Nialler9 New Irish Spotify playlist.