J.P. Kallo and the Music of Sliotar (Interview)

J.P. Kallo  gives us insights into the Contemporary Irish Folk Rock band Sliotar.


Ray MacCormac (whistle, pipes, vocals), Des Gorevan (drums and percussion), J.P. Kallio (guitars and vocals).
J.P. Kallo  is always in a chatty mood. He is one of the nicest fellows around. His sense of humor is amazing. One of the things I love about Sliotar is that these guys create music that’s catchy. They have this natural telegenic quality too.

This is an insightful interview. I reviewed their amazing album called Fine Friends last time. It’s one of those Celtic albums that can sit side by side with your other Modern Rock albums due to its fresh sound, yet still maintain that very Celtic sound.

What defines the totality of Siotar’s sound?

J.P. Yeah, I have tried to analyze that in the past and find it difficult. In the traditional music world there seem to be lot of these restrictions, where you are supposed to play the music in certain way and there are things you should not do. In Sliotar we always had lot of respect for these restrictions, but took them very lightly :-D. We do relay heavily on strong rhythm and the deep bottom end of the acoustic guitar, which I tune to dadgad. Also Ray’s whistle style is very unique! But over all, it is very organic process of three guys from very different musical backgrounds playing music that just feels right.

Tell us the inspiration behind the making of Fine Friends your new album.

Fans of the music

J.P. In summer 2011 we were touring in Europe and there seemed to be something falling in to place with our music. Many sound engineers and festival organizers told us that that was the best they have ever heard us. So when we got back from the tour we set up to capture some of that energy. In my opinion Fine friends is the closest Sliotar ever got to capturing the live sound and feel in the studio.

You guys have this style. I don’t really know how to put it exactly but it sounds a bit like North American compared to say, UK.

J.P. Really? 😀 It’s always nice to hear how other people hear our music. The funny thing is that we get lot of inspiration from our travels. We have been all around Europe, but never made it to North America, not yet anyway 😉

Wow 16 years in the music business! How did you  and the rest of the guys, maintain the passion of sticking together and releasing a total of five albums.

J.P. Well, I am the second Guitarist, and I’ve been in the band for 12 years. Des and Ray have been there from the beginning. I think again it has been that organic growth that has kept things interesting for us. But I must say that after our second album Bi liom bi we took control of things and for the past 10 years the band has grown a lot and we have built much bigger following by spending lot of time on the road and working really hard on the live show.

Ireland has  a lot of great  musicians! Thoughts?

J.P. Yeah, there is so much great music here. It is really inspirational place. And the fact that we are part of a tradition that has gone on for hundreds of years, it really makes you humble.

One of those random self shots

How do you think is the best way for fans to support your band in terms of getting the album out? What is the best marketing tool for you?  

J.P. There are many ways. You can order Cds or download our albums from our websitewww.sliotarmusic.com We worked really hard on making sure that when the fans do decide support us, most of the money goes to us and back in to keeping us on the road, instead of half of it ending up to some middle man. We live for the live shows, and we are so grateful that so many people come to see us year after year. That is definitely one of the best ways to support us. Also there are small things like sharing our facebook page www.facebook.com/sliotar with your friends, re tweeting our tweets on twitter @sliotarmusic. And sharing our youtube videos. Also you can join our mailing list on our website, we don’t spam you much just the most important things like new album and the tours. But if you want to stay on top of what we are up to, facebook and twitter are good for that.

As to best marketing tools, obviously all the social media stuff is really helpful and we had quite good success with our youtube videos. But still our website is our most important place of business and the good old word of mouth has been good to us.

J.P. from Sliotar

June, 2012


According to Jeremy of Poitin:  They’re coming to the Czech Republic in July.

Two amazing bands meeting and jamming together. You people in Prague are so lucky 🙂

From J.PHey man. Here is our summer European tour schedule. There are still some extra dates on the way and few private shows that are not on the list. We’ll have a video camera with us, so I’ll keep you posted through out the tour:-)

List of gigs for July and August:

12th Porter House, Kortrijk, Belgium
13th The Black stuff, Luxembourg
17th Zach’s pub, Plzen, Czech rep.
18th Vagon music club, Praque, Czech rep.
21st Keltska noc, Plumlov, Czech rep.
26th Kurim Celtic evening, Kurim Czech rep.
28th Teirisch Irisch Keltisch, Tieschen, Austria
4th Prázdniny v Telci, (7.30pm) Telc, Czech rep.
4th Lughnasad, (11pm) Veveri castle, Brno, Czech rep.
6th Prázdniny v Telci,Nocturna club, Telc, Czech rep.
9th Killarney, Zweibrucken, Germany
10th Dudel sack, Bad Kreuznach, Germany

I love the fact that this site is becoming more and more interactive 🙂


About SliotarAfter 16 years, 5 albums and over 2000 concerts, Sliotar is an institution. It all started on Paddy’s day in The Porterhouse, Dublin in 1996 when three guys were asked to play music for the day. This led to a residency that is still going strong. Sliotar has toured Europe extensively and continues to do so on a regular basis. They have played in hundreds of venues, brought their mix of Irish folk music from Finland to Italy, from County Clare to Bratislava and everywhere in between.In these times when the music business is struggling Sliotar has broken the mould and gone back to basics by packing a van, hitting the road and building a following one concert at a time. Quarries, castles, theatres, clubs and pubs, Sliotar has done it all (even a Tesco’s car park). Their live show is legendary and has become an annual event in many places around Europe. They work with the crowd to win them over. They give people permission to cast aside everyday life and just live in the moment with the music.
Ray McCormac’s piping and whistle playing has unmatched fluidity and dexterity. Backed by the rhythmic play between Des Gorevan’s drums and J.P. Kallio’s guitar, the band can lift the roof off any venue. The tunes are based on Irish tradition but more and more originate from the band. The songs vary from JP’s modern folk songs to Rays haunting acapella renditions of age old traditional songs.
Individually, from the soundtrack of “Waking Ned” to guesting on a chart topping Finnish rock bands album, the members of Sliotar have done it all. Collectively the band has broken the mould time and time again.Driven by the positive feedback from their 2011 summer tour, Sliotar returned to the studio and started work on their fifth album. “Something gelled on this tour and the feedback from the crowd and organizers was that Sliotar has never sounded better. We are excited about the new material and can’t wait to get it recorded”. Sliotars fifth album, Fine Friends was released on 25th of January 2012.
In 2012 Sliotar will be on the road once again to promote the new album. This is already mapping out to be busiest year in the bands history and there has been busy ones before. So whether it is on a big festival stage in front of thousands of people or a small Irish pub in the beautiful countryside in Austria, be sure to catch Sliotar live.

Sliotar Irish folk band.
New CD out now and available at http://www.sliotarmusic.com/

Band interests

Gigging and Touring! Beer, Traveling, Sound, Good food, Pool and Swimming.


2 Replies to “J.P. Kallo and the Music of Sliotar (Interview)”

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