The Dead Kings song by Irish poet Francis Ledwidge (performed by Lorcán Mac Mathúna)

The Dead Kings song by Irish poet Francis Ledwidge (performed by Lorcán Mac Mathúna)

 

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The Dead Kings artwork. 

I always think that the soul of Irish music is in the sean-nós style of singing. Why? Because it is a sound not like any other. It has that stillness that is both ancient and haunting. For someone to sing that, one has to embody the the atmosphere of the old Ireland. One song came to my attention recently and it is called The Dead Kings. Here’s a brief background provided by performer Lorcán Mac Mathúna. According to him, it’s a recently (live) recorded song by the Irish poet Francis Ledwidge, who died in 1917.

Complete soundcloud link-https://soundcloud.com/evolutionofsound/the-dead-kings

Ledwidge was known as the poet of the Blackbird. He was killed in the First World War in Paschendael on July 31 1917.

It is such an inspiration to see artists continue to perfect and pay homage to this wonderful musical art form. I would like to hear more of these.

Additional info: Recorded live at Musictown2017 during The Book of the Dead at The Chester Beatty Library. Written by Francis Ledwidge, music composed by Lorcán Mac Mathúna and Eamonn Galldubh. Performed by Lorcán, Éamonn, and Martin Tourish

 

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Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

Irish Music Trends:Sunnyside Sessions

I have to admit, writing about the new musical venture of Cathy Maguire was a challenge. How do you start writing about something totally different from what you are used to? I reviewed bands, I blogged about musicians and their albums,or even wrote about musicals but posting about a TV show was a challenge. But then again this is no ordinary TV show. It is about music and the Irish musicians that perform them.So where do I start? Of course, the music. The music will guide you through.

Sunnyside Sessions is an exciting venture that Irish singer-songwriter launched recently and it showcases talents based in the East Coast United States-the expats. Now I remember posting a video of HamsandwicH on my Facebook status and that’s  why the show’s title sounds familiar. I saw them perform in the Sunnyside Sessions with the rest of the talented people. My first impression: great location and set design.

I exchanged emails with Cathy Maguire and I discovered more about why everyone should check out Sunnyside Sessions. Here’s an excerpt from Irish Echo written by Sean Devlin:

Cathy Maguire is no stranger to new opportunities. In possession of a career decorated with accomplishments, including television appearances and multiple album releases, she has rubbed elbows with some of the best talent the country music industry has to offer. With “The Sunnyside Sessions,” she’s been branching out into a new TV venture, and embracing all the stops along the way.

With many amazing performers I am sure Sunnyside Sessions will continue to attrack audiences eom different demographics. Here’s an info I got from the press release as to what this show is all about:

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I think this is a fascinating show that everyone should support. We need more artists like hose that appeared in her show. May the force be with her!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The New Stars of Irish Music: The Led Farmers!

The Led Farmers: They have a likability that is instant. The music is full of vigour and wonderful melodies.

The Led Farmers’ website says they are touring around Europe but they will start their North American tour in the last part of August. There is no doubt they will fill venues with their energetic sound and a style that is homegrown as it is punk with its rebelliousness.

Katie is the latest album that landed on my speakers from Ireland. Caution: Their music encourages you to get up and move. . So who are they? The band is comprise of the following:Brendan ‘Dog’ Walsh: Banjos. Ross O’Farrell: Bass. Glenn Malone: Drums. Shay Long: Guitar.

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Share the Wealth is the latest single off the album. The music video shows the band playing in what appears to be a living room. There is an alternate scene(acted by the band members) of what looks like a money-lender making deals over the phone. First client comes in and signs a contract. He hands it back to the man who tears it up and laughs at his face while smoking a cigar.Then another appears, same thing happens but this time he puts an X on the paper to the dismay of the other guy. Third guy gets his paper crumpled. In the end he receives a termination letter. He packs his stuff and walks out of his office. Outside, he meets the men he conned. Their expressions say:” See what happens to greedy people?”
What I like about them as a band? The reviewers are right. They have this likeability factor. They’ve got  what you need in a superstar Irish band: Sound, looks, and stage presence. Any banjo fan will rejoice as this recording highlights the instrument very well. Guitars and bass have their moments. The drums are also mixed in a way that it doesn’t sound too aggressive especially in the faster tracks.
 Row by Row is my favorite as of the moment. It has all the elements of a timeless tune. The voices of the quartet blend well and I love the counter points in the chorus section. But this is not to say that is the only stand out track. There are many more. From Share the Wealth which introduces the mood of the album, to their beautiful remake of Star of the County Down, the funky Space to their rendition of traditional Irish music- everything you look for in an excellent Irish pop rock album is here.
Yes Katie is an album of fast tunes, but Foggy Dew and Ragland Road prove that they can be masters of  haunting ballads.
Read the press release that follows:

 Biography: 

The Led Farmers are an Indie Irish Folk Rock band from Ireland. The group boasts a two-time All Ireland Music champion and many of it’s members have studied music at University level. They have toured the U.S. and Europe and are becoming one of Ireland’s best-loved live acts. 2015 saw them play over 80 concerts and 2016 looks to be something similar. While they love to play the Irish folk classics it is their own songs and fresh new arrangements of folk music that has seen them get attention of late. Their spontaneous nature and friendliness on the stage makes them a very entertaining live band.

What the media says:

‘The Led Farmers are the kind of act that you just want to see go far, they have a likeability factor and stage presence that just completely enhances their performance and makes them so distinctive in comparison to so many trad/folk groups out there at the moment’ – Dublin Concerts reviews

‘According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word ‘fresh’ has the following meaning: having its original qualities unimpaired, full of or renewed in vigor and not worn or rumpled… and here comes a band that seems to fit the bill… they are infectious likeably and distinctive, these are lads you might indeed want to join for a pint or two’ – Irish American News

The Led Farmers preserve the tradition of their own native songs while adding a decidedly unique perspective to it. I can see that if The Led Farmers can persist like the Clancy Brothers did. Maybe in 20 or 30 years it may be said that they helped set the new standard for traditional Irish Music’ – Paddy Rock

‘I like the vibe of The Led Farmers. They have an acoustic sound that reminds me of Dexys Midnight Runners. These lads have an energy and style that takes up where the Pogues left off’ – Christy McNamara

 

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

A New album and Single by James Vincent McMorrow is Out!

Today, we have a crossover post from my other blog. This singer-songwriter has appeared in The Celtic Connection and he is also very active in the Irish folk/indie scene.

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The Irishman with an exquisite and smooth silky voice is back! The new single is Rising Water released in early July this year. James Vincent McMorrow broke into the indie pop/folk scene with Post Tropical and Early in the Morning. His live performances duplicate the meticulous perfection of his studio recordings. And yes that remarkable voice has attracted 100 million Spotify streams!  Rising Water is taken from the new album We Move. Expect the album to sell like hotcakes. Check out the lyric video of Rising Water above.

Read further about the new release:

NEW SINGLE “RISING WATER” AVAILABLE NOW

James Vincent McMorrow, an Irish singer/songwriter from Dublin, has just released his new single Rising WaterThe single is the opening track of his upcoming album We Move, which is set to be released on September 2ndvia Caroline Records. On July 4th, Rising Water was premiered by Annie Mac on her program ‘Mac’s Hottest Record in the World’ on BBC Radio, listen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p040fl09.   After its UK debut, the single was released here in the U.S., which McMorrow called home for a few months while he recorded his new album.

In early 2015 McMorrow decamped to Los Angeles for four surreal months, wanting to experience something totally alien to any way he’d ever worked before. McMorrow explains “Making this album was about changing so many things. Physically changing where I was, mentally changing how I think about life, about myself, how I think about making music. Every time I’ve made a record in the past, I’ve walked to the edge of where I’ve wanted to be, I’ve gotten scared, and I’ve walked back to a safe distance.”

Rising Water is the perfect example of what the rest of the album holds. The single, along with the rest of the record, features production from Nineteen85 (Drake, dvsn), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna), as well as mixing from the legendary Jimmy Douglass (Donny Hathaway, Timbaland).

McMorrow’s 2010 debut ‘Early in the Morning’ achieved platinum-status and reached #1 in his home country of Ireland. His “Breath-taking” (VICE) second album ‘Post Tropical’ was nominated for the Choice Music Prize, and led to sell outs at the biggest venues of McMorrow’s career including two nights at Sydney Opera House, and London’s Barbican & Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Earlier this year, McMorrow surpassed 100 million Spotify streams, recorded a cover of “Wicked Games” for a trailer of season six of Game of Thrones, and was featured on “I’m In Love” off Kygo’s debut LP ‘Cloud Nine.’ 

Purchase ‘Rising Water’:

iTunes: https://smarturl.it/RisingWater

Amazon MP3: https://amzn.com/RisingWater

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

The Narrowbacks:A Hot Surprise This Winter

nar·row·back /ˈnæroʊˌbæk/ [nar-oh-bak]
–noun Slang.
1. Disparaging. an Irish-American.
2. a person of slight build who is unfit for hard labor.

The brain child of a future banker and a drop out bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new. After some late night sing songs, a couple whiskeys and a few lost jobs we came up with a young punk attitude that found itself running through the veins of an old time folk band.

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the 5 boroughs, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks.

If you have devoted your life supporting Celtic music then you’ll know that the world never runs out of great talents. There will always be amazing bands from any time, any place. They just need a good channel to get exposed to enthusiasts.

Such is the case of The Narrowbacks from New York. For those who are not aware New York has offered us great bands since the 90s like the October Project and Black 47. There are more though they escape my fingertips as of the moment but yes, New York is an amazing place when it comes to unique bands. And the musical energy of the place is a big influenced to these musicians behind the band. They have their own eclectic styles and influences and they all bring it to the band. So what you get is music that seems to come from many sources yet so distinct and so exclusive to the Irish musical culture.

They are adept in performing old a new tunes but they have a knack for great arrangements that the old and new songs can sound as if they all came from the same era. When it comes to energy well, they have it all as all bands celebrating the spirit of Irish rock. Fans of Barleyjuice and Dropkick Murphy’s will love their style of music.

I really enjoyed listening to their songs especially the crowd rouser Paddy’s Field.

Check out the press release:

Releasing new single ‘Shannon’ Friday February 19th prior to album release in April!

If Joe Strummer, Shane MacGowan and Bruce Springsteen survived a drinking session through the five boroughs of New York City, the hangover would be called The Narrowbacks. The brainchild of a future banker and a bartender, The Narrowbacks are a fresh voice for songs and stories old and new.  The band is currently winning over audiences with their high energy set of tunes and over the top performances.  They have played gigs at notable venues such as The Stone Pony, Webster Hall and the Bowery Bal1room.  They have shared the stage with Flogging Molly, Black 47 and The Dropkick Murphys.  But maybe their most note worthy shows have been in support of The Ice Bucket Challenge, performing at many charity events to raise money for the cure of ALS and their dedication to the cause has helped fuel their notoriety and is taking them nationwide.

The band has been brewing on the East coast and developing their own unique style of ‘Celtic Rock’.  Not to be stuck in that genre the band can rock out with any of the best players out there.  Music writer Colleen Taylor of The Irish Echo says of the group, “Their music is literally and figuratively electric and it sounds best live… The Narrowbacks fill the need for a young Irish-America that knows how to rock.”   They receive constant rotation on radio stations such as WFUV in NYC and Sirius XM on Larry Kirwan’s ‘Celtic Crush.’

After a few years recording their own versions of traditional Irish and folk songs and anthems, the band will be releasing an album of all original tunes in April. To get a taste of the music they will be premiering a single called ‘Shannon’ on February 19th on iTunes.  Disc Jockey Bruce Swan of WPKN radio says, “The new single ‘Shannon’ from The Narrowbacks is classic storytelling, genre-bending and non-stop great.  If this is the start of what is yet to come, the new cd from The Narrowbacks will kill it.”

The band is gearing up for the St Patrick’s Day season with a March tour and show dates include March 16th at The House of Blues in Boston opening up for The Dropkick Murphys and March 17th at Webster Hall NYC.

The new single, ‘Shannon’, will be out on iTunes on Friday February 19th. We can send on an MP3 if you are interested for review and airplay.

For more information and full tour dates go to:  http://www.narrowbacks.com/

MEDIA CONTACT: Anita Daly / Daly Communications / 212 772 0852 / anitadaly@yahoo.com

 

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

Na Fianna: Celtic Rock, powerful  and contemporary take on songs old and new!

It is great to have an insider’s view of this interesting band that everyone is talking about. The band is Na Fianna from Ireland-which is also my spiritual home. They have several songs out via YouTube, various sites and social media. Better check them out because you don’t know what you are missing. And yes, they have great advice for their fellow musicians as on how to be in top shape, musically!Xd6cd1Ay.jpg

1. Congratulations for releasing the new exciting album called Unearthed. What’s the story behind the album’s title?

Thanks very much, it was hard work but thoroughly enjoyable to record. The title “Unearthed’ was chosen because it was perfect for where we were and what we were doing at the time. We were hidden away with all these musical ideas for a long time and it was time to unearth them to the world.

2. There are four of you : Ciaran, Hugh, James and Peter. Did you invite other artists to the recording sessions?

We had invited a drummer, ‘Binzer’, to collaborate with Peter in the percussion department to elaborate our ideas more in the songs. There also was our producer and musician Bill Shanley who we worked with to bring this sound out even more. He played some bass and guitar in the backline to collaborate with Ciarán in the strings department.

3. This album has a strong impact to many listeners. I noticed you have passionate and supportive fans especially in the social media! Do you have plans of putting up an ‘acoustic’ session and invite fans over, and have it filmed and released in video format?

That’s a good idea, we would love to do that. You know, we already have done an impromptu gig with such a setting in Boston and it was received very well. Nothing is impossible in the future. It reminds me of when Incubus did the Morning View Sessions. A great recording. We’re up for it.

4. The current single off the album is Toora Loora Lay . I noticed the strong rhythm right away, on top of the strong melody. Can you tell us a it about the recording of this song?

We wrote it in Pink Floyd’s Britannia Row Studios in London with friend and super talented songwriter Don Mescall. We sat down with ideas and put our heads together and wrote Toora Loora Lay. So we had a demo done from there, then we brought it to Bill Shanley’s Cauldron Studios. The song flowed so nicely it was quite fun to record but it was also intense as we knew the song had a shot at becoming iconic in the folk world.

5. Any plans to tour? Where’s your first stop?

We’ve had many mini tours and once off gigs in Europe and America so far. We have a great desire to tour a lot, but we want to record a little more material and spread our name throughout the world through social media etc. then we can tour in peace of mind that people will come see us. Saying that, we like to work fast and anything can happen so quickly. This year however, first stop is The Dubliner in Oslo, Norway. Follow our events on for more gigs and tours.

6. Bill Shanley produced this album. Can you tell us how it’s like working with him and his amazing talent?

Bill Shanley is an outrageous talent. We heard he is the best at guitar accompanying….and producing, we can swear wholeheartedly he is up there with the best in the world. Working with him in the studio at close quarters is an amazing experience. He’s always very calm and he has the best ideas to promote our own for the good of the song. His musical ear is phenomenal. If you’re out of tune by a minuscule, he will hear it. The whole process of working with such experience will stand to us forever more. We can’t wait to record with him again this year in Cauldron Studios.

7. Drunken Sailor is my personal favourite. It’s really fast. How do you guys manage to keep in top shape musically?

We keep in top shape musically because we are always playing music. We play small gigs in duets and solos every night and day in Dublin on top of Na Fianna rehearsals. Also we like to challenge ourselves as much as possible in each song. Leaving your comfort zone makes you better.

8. Your message to fans?

Our fans are the greatest in the world, no joke. We have loads more songs to give them this year and many years to come. We love this journey we’re on and they are with us every step of the way. Thank you kindly.

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Voice of the Heart:A Mother’s Embrace by Tom Phelan and The Martin Healy Trad Band

 

In the end, memories are all that we shall have. It’s almost three years and I still cry at the passing away of my mom. Well, not as often as before. But we all have our moments. I think, when we deal with the passing away of someone we love, it’s always the feeling that we didn’t have more time speaks louder. Not all of us live lives ideally. Though it is what we aspire to have. But when everything is silenced by distance and time, one thing remains: love is the  most powerful thing in the universe. Love creates a bond that is stronger than death.

This is what this song is all about. Love-a mother’s love. I stumbled upon it and the thought behind the music is captivating:

I love the candid simplicity of the style.

This brought me to this idea that no arrangement is lofty enough. No poetry is ever adequate. And no eloquence is fervent enough. A son’t love to his mother could never be measured by anything..other than the feeling itself.  And this song speaks that sentiment of longing. And no matter who or what we are, loss is a great equalizer. And love is love regardless of the style in which we sing it.

Don’t forget to check out more amazing songs from this band via YouTube.

Here’s an info about the trio:

The colourful trio include Martin; Tom Phelan, a Jesuit brother based in Dublin’s Gardiner Street: and Kerryman Niall Brosnan, who plays the accordion.

 

 

The marriage between trad and electro:Jiggy the Band

Jiggy is the name of the group!

I got a surprise via Soundcloud. I heard this cool group from out of the misty universe which is the internet.They call themselves Jiggy. It seems that they are the answer to my longing for the fusion of electronic beats and traditional music. Perhaps there are very very few bands doing that these days, a kind of style started by The AfroCelts in the 90s.

So who are the artists behind this fascinating group? According to their website:

“New Irish band Jiggy put some serious pep in the step of traditional Irish Music.”      Irish Central

 

Jiggy is a very groovy collective!4f3805_e87d8b99cc764d7fa0fbe281a6b65af5

 

Featuring the talents of traditional musicians; 

Daire Bracken (fiddle), Aoife Kelly (fiddle), Éamonn Galldubh (uilleann pipes), Éamonn De Barra (flute & whistle), Robbie Harris (percussion), Niwel Tsumbu (guitar & Vocals) and Yoshi Izumi (bass) who have teamed up with DJ Jack on the decks. 

 

Jiggy has developed a sound unlike anything else, fusing vocal lilting & beatboxing, Irish traditional music, hip hop dance grooves, world music rhythms and harmonies. Expect a thrilling live set of original music and traditional dance tunes. 

 

Jiggy also features special guest beatboxer MIC Bandit.

 

Jiggy have collabrated with producers Steve Lynch (Stellarsound), Mark Murphy (Sound Butlers) and Sam Jackson. Mastering is done by Fergal Davis.

Oh so that’s it! Sounds like they have many exciting things coming this year. Is there a studio album that we can buy? Here’s another info from their website:

Jiggy are in the studio recording and mixing the new album!

 

Jiggy have just released ‘Laethanta Saoire’

Laethanta Saoire is composed by guitar ledgend Steve Cooney and out now on iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. 

Produced by Sam Jackson

Mastered by Fergal Davis.

 

Buy now on  iTunes 

Ok I gotta go back to my dancing. I can’t stop!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Wow it’s really 2016. More exciting things happening in music. There many bands lining up to be featured, and so many tunes to be savoured. Yes you will hear then soon. I just keep them in my ‘drafts’ section and I am not revealing yet as I want to keep the suspense 😉

So for starters let me wish everyone a great new year and the best in 2016. Here are the picks of the day :

 

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

Na Fianna -Making Modern Irish Music That’s Very Catchy

If traditional-based Irish music needs a wake up alarm then leave it to the members of Na Fianna. Their energy is punk-like but they owe most of their aesthetics Irish music like the ballads of Christy Moore and the melodic wonder of The Clancy Bothers and Dropkick Murphys. They play lively tunes that are so catchy Thin Lizzy will be proud of them. 11223581_10155793250160504_1664260918107804656_n

I became familiar with the band’s name after browsing Reddit and see them trending under ‘Celtic’ category. But even though the musical identity of Na Fianna is distinct, their sentiments are inclusive and that makes their music universal.

Still not convinced? Go ahead and listen to their new single via YouTube and you will know what I mean:

 

There are four people in the band comprising of:

Hugh Finn: Banjo & Vocals

Ciaran Finn: Guitar & Vocals

Peter McMahon: Percussion & Vocals

James O’Connor: Accordian & Vocals

Unearth is the new album and it has twelve songs. There are traditional songs that are familiar like Step it Out Mary, Star Of County Down, The Lakes Of Pontchartrain and more. Fans of Christy Moore and Luka Bloom will love both this album and these four lads. Check out the EPK below: