Album launch, great instruments and feeking around: The Feekers!
Album launchings online and offline are interesting. You always get to pick the unexpected. Such as the luck I found with Tarbolten. It’s the debut album from Dublin based duo The Feekers. Aside from the interesting album title and of course what their band name means, we find some interesting bits about these two musicians. They have such passion for traditional Irish music. And well, because it is the thing that they do best.
Traditional music has really achieved such soaring popularity lately. I think with the gap between the ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in the music scene has been narrowed down. It is only a matter of time when the world finally redefines what is considered as hip and what isn’t. Radio is no longer as influential as it used to be and more and more people catch what’s being streamed online or what they come across on blogs and websites. This where , social butterflies(those with over 2000 friends) and megaphones(those who love posting links to videos and music) in facebook come in.
So please have the pleasure of reading my Q&A with Darren Lynch. And I hope you get to spread this to your friends. Let’s put the spotlight to The Feekers.
What has happened to the trad scene for the past 10 years in your opinion?
Trad music has remained strong here in Ireland and continues to grow. Unfortunately, I don’t think there has been any recent bands that have broken the mould like the way some of the greats have done in the 60’s and 70’s folk revival. The final members of the legendry Dubliners and Clancy Brothers have unfortunately passed away in the last 10 years. I hope the passing of these legends will bring about a calling for more trad and folk music and maybe even another folk revival as people seek other bands to replace these.
What were the memorable things that happened during the recording of Tarbolten?
Recording sessions were very relaxed, with John and myself having very little planned beforehand. We didn’t record in layers or double track, so what you hear on the album is a direct recording of what and how we play. We think this gives the music more energy and a closer realism that represents how we sound at live gigs and performances. It was also less time consuming and allowed us to get more tracks recorded in a short time. Chris Marshall was our recording engineer in the Elektra studios in Temple Bar, Dublin. Chris has a very laid back attitude and left us to do things in whatever manner that made us comfortable while offering us his expert advice and guidance.
John plays the banjo and whistles while you play the octave mandolin and also do vocals. What are the things about playing the octave mandolin (or the instrument in general) that we listeners don’t know of ?
I play the octave mandolin, which some people call the Irish bouzouki. I play in a similar tuning to the mandolin and Irish tenor banjo so I think octave mandolin is more accurate name for my instrument. I find it to be an all round instrument, in that it can play both melody and a rhythm equally well.
Why did you choose the title Tarbolten for your debut album? And also why the band name The Feekers?
Tarbolten is the name of one of the tunes played on the banjo on the first track of the cd. It was recorded in one straight take and we thought it captured the energy and character of The Feekers.
We called ourselves The Feekers after a couple of years of going nameless. John suggested the name as a joke originally, and it grew and stuck over time. Feekers isn’t really a word, but the verb ‘to feek’ is a slang name Irish travelers sometimes use which means… I’ll leave it to your imaginations!
Please tell us more about the album and also the tracks in term of styles.
As a duo, The Feekers basically consists of John looking after the playing of tunes and melody while I look after vocals and rhythm. We wanted an album that had a good mix of both tunes and songs that represented us both as a band, so that’s why we put a 50/50 mix on it. The 10 tracks on the album consist of 5 songs, along with 4 banjo tracks, and we couldn’t resist slipping a slow air on the whistle in!
What can we expect from you guys in years to come in terms of your music. What is the next level for The Feekers?
This year is just really about getting our name out there. We have a few Irish festivals to play in 2012, which include the Ballinamore Festival in Leitrim, The Prosperous Festival in Kildare, and The Banjo Festival in Tullamore. Next year we plan to start recording our second album and spread our wings further afield and play a few festivals around Europe. Playing some Celtic and folk festivals around Europe is something we’d be really looking forward to.
You can buy or sample the music from Claddagh Records
Or their music page: http://thefeekers.weebly.com/audio-samples.html
Please add and say hi t them in facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefeekers
Short band bio:The Feekers are a traditional and folk music duo from Ballyfermot, Dublin.
Darren and John have known each other as teenagers when they hung around as friends in nearby Bluebell, but only met up again about 5 years ago to form a band after realising each other’s interest in folk and trad music.
Darren Lynch (Vocals/Octave Mandolin) and John Keenan (Banjo/Whistles) have played together for a number of years around numerous pub sessions, gigs and festivals, and plan to release an album in the near future.
Darren started off playing music after finishing a successful amateur boxing career with Crumlin Boxing Club. It was then in his late teens that he picked up the banjo and then later the octave mandolin and mandola. He
learned from some of the great folk and trad musicians in the area: that included Tom Moran, Liam O’Neill, Darach de Brun and John Lane. He then went on to play and record with the bands The Broadside Merchants, So-Ranna and Tam-Lin before forming Feekers with John in 2007.
Darren plays a mixture of folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and America, and is influenced by The Dubliners, Planxty, The Fureys and Sweeney’s Men.
John plays Irish tunes on the tenor banjo that he learned from his grandfather John Keenan Snr. John has been
playing banjo since the age of 10 and has also learned from his uncles who he has also played with over the years. John’s uncle Paddy Keenan plays the uileann pipes and played with the Bothy Band, and John’s other uncle Johnny is known today for his banjo playing and for the festival set up in his honor ‘The Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival’.This year, The Feekers are due to perform at the Ballinamore Festival in Leitrim, The Prosperous Festival in Kildare and The Banjo Festival in Tullamore.The Feekers form a unique and fresh folk sound that is rooted in tradition and this sound gets across in their first album ‘Tarbolten’ which was released on 1st May 2012. The album is available from Claddagh Records – www.claddaghrecords.com