Hi everyone and welcome to Blog number 2 #lovingallthingscountryandtrad
It’s been a whirlwind kind of a week, and I’d like to thank each and everyone one of you who have been in touch. We’ve had a great reaction to our new Blogs worldwide, so thank you!!
The purpose of this blog is to keep you updated with what’s going on in the music scene in Ireland at the moment. I am dizzy with the amount of news I would like to share, but unfortunately I can’t get to everything.
I think it’s important to achieve your dreams and I was delighted to fulfil one of mine this week. I got to visit Rome. Four days in an absolutely amazing city, full of history, unbelievable monuments, art, food, wine and lots lots more. I even found a Music shop near the Pantheon that had Johnny Cash and Enya CD’s for sale, and a brilliant Shoe shop selling a range of cow boy boots catering for all tastes!!
I have to admit I was a bit concerned about travelling this week as I’m sure many of you were the world over. The recent horrendous Terror Attacks over the past number of weeks, in particular the Manchester attacks have been very frightening.
In my opinion, Music is something that unites people, regardless of genre. There should be no discrimination when it comes to music. Everyone should be free to enjoy it. Everyone should be free to express their musical preference. Everyone should be safe attending a concert.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.
We all have dreams and hopes for the future. Many of them for you reading this page may be music related, whether it be playing, singing, or going to a concert to see your idol. So sticking with the theme of dreams, I have named this week’s blog
I am in awe of those of you out there who are indeed living your dream, you should be very proud. Again I can’t focus on everyone or everything, but I promise to get to as many stories as I can over the coming weeks.
Enjoy and remember as CS Lewis said
‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’
This week I have come across two inspirational ladies. The first one is Mandy Harvey. Now I know you’re probably saying she’s not Irish and has nothing to do with Country or Trad but the message in this video clip speaks for itself.
This youtube clip is taken from Mandy’s audition for Americas got talent. In my opinion she is one truly inspirational lady and shows the world what can be achieved if you believe in your dream.
Congratulations Mandy!! #livingthedream
Sabrina Fallon #livingthedream
For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Sabrina Fallon, I’ll be honest I didn’t know too much about her until this week, but let me tell you she is some woman!! I feel like we have known each other forever after our chats, and I’ve procrastinated on this write up for fear it won’t do her justice. Here goes.
Sabrina Fallon hails from Portumna, Co. Galway and comes from a family of seven children, all musicians. Her Dad, a drummer, performed with Larry Cunningham and ‘The Mighty Avons’. Her three brothers are also drummers, one of them drummed with the legendary Joe Dolan for five years. Sabrina grew up in a musical house, always sang but struggled to think she was any good.
When Sabrina finished college she travelled to San Francisco where she got married and had a beautiful little girl. Life dealt her a harsh blow when her husband passed away, so she returned home to Ireland with her daughter. She then found the courage to follow her dream. She went back to college and studied Textiles for five years.
Sabrina told me “she knew she had music in her system and wanted to put 100% into it”, so she busked Galway streets and says that’s were she found the confidence she has today.
She gained inspiration watching her first cousin Mike Denver grow as an artist, through his hard work and dedication, and Sabrina was determined to work hard at her music and her art.
Sabrina travelled to schools with a large textile piece she made when she was in college. This piece was based on Alcoholism, a subject very personal to her. She knitted 2000 stitches using hospital sheets and crutches. This piece represented 2000 hospital beds, used each night in A & E across Ireland for alcoholism related issues. She wanted to create awareness.
Below are a few photos of the results.
It was during this time she applied for a TV programme called Glor Tire.
She never told her cousin Mike that she was applying as she said that she didn’t want to put him on the spot. She was in San Francisco when she received the phone call to say she had secured a place, and that Mike would be her mentor. Sabrina told me “I cried all the way out in San Fran”.
Another dream was achieved for Sabrina; she told me what a beautiful journey she had on the show and how many lovely people she met along the way.
Here’s a clip of Sabrina with Mike Denver singing ‘Woodcarver’
Sabrina relayed how her Daddy took out his drums after twenty years for her first song recording ‘Deeper than the Holler’.
A self confessed ‘Daddy’s girl’, Sabrina told how it ‘melted her heart’ to see him in her first ever music video. Her parents are known as the Honeymooners and they also danced in the video.
I’m sure that her parents are very proud of their little girl. Not only is she still recording songs, and performing, Sabrina also has her own etsy shop. You can view some of the art work she has on offer at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SabrinaFallontextile
The following link will take you to Sabrina’s new song ‘Send it on down’.
Sabrina says this song includes a piece of her soul. She heard it first whilst travelling through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was eating a steak at a restaurant when the song was played. After hearing the first few lines of the song she stopped eating and cried. She had difficulty finding out the name of the song, but wrote down some lyrics. When she got back to the city she researched the song and swore she would record it some day. Sabrina says that she has buried loved ones due to alcoholism, ‘so the song cuts deep, It is from the heart. Exposed and vulnerable, I give you my rendition of Send it on down”
From my conversations with Sabrina Fallon it is clear she has a bright future ahead of her. She had a dream. She is now #livingthedream.
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish her all the best. If you want to follow Sabrina Fallons journey head to her face book page
Moving on to a young man we mentioned last week when we wished him a very Happy Birthday – It’s Nathan Carter.
Nathan is definitely #livingthedream at the moment; he even released a single recently entitled ‘Livin the dream’!
On 28th May he played a sold out gig at the London Palladium, what a way to spend his Birthday!
For those of you not yet familiar with this now household name in Ireland, you can be sure he will be playing at a venue near you soon!!
From a very young age, Nathan who originally comes from Liverpool but now lives in Ireland, started playing the accordion. He went on to win All Ireland medals for singing and playing. John Farry, a very talented singer song writer in his own right, took Nathan under his wing and he went from strength to strength.
Wagon Wheel was a huge hit for him in 2012
Since then he has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, has given countless interviews and released seven studio albums. He has also had his own TV series ‘The Nathan Carter Show’ with RTE, and has travelled to Nashville this year to record a documentary.
I have met Nathan, his family and his band mates on numerous occasions over the last year, and have to say he is a genuinely lovely friendly young man, surrounded by a great group of people. He always has time for everyone, and often spends hours after shows with fans, signing autographs and posing for photographs. He does quite a bit for charity as well and very kindly provided an interview for Global Christmas FM last year when I met him at the TLT in Drogheda before a gig. Less said about these questionable photos the better !!! lol
Today Nathan has announced that he will be doing his first North American Tour in September, details below.
I hope this tour doesn’t wear him out too much as lots of fans will be looking forward to seeing him on his Carter on the Costa Tour at the end of September. Details available from http://www.enjoytravel.co.uk/package/nathan-carter-on-the-costa
Here’s a clip of a video Nathan recorded in the Costa del Sol last year ‘Skinny Dipping’.
You can find details of Nathan's upcoming tour dates in Ireland on his website http://www.nathancartermusic.com/dates and if that isn’t enough of an introduction here’s a clip of his recent single ‘Caribbean Feeling’ which is taken from his new Album ‘Livin the dream’ out on 16th June.
Nathan Carter definitely is #livingthedream and is proof that hard work and dedication gets results!!! We wish him all the best for the coming year.
Sometimes all you need is that push to go out there and start #livingthedream, so if you’ve ever wanted to be a Country Singer here’s an opportunity to give it a go. Below is some details of a competition taking place in the Birds Nest Bar Bundoran, sent into us by Brian and Nicola Gavigan.
The 5th annual “Sounds like Country” singing competition starts on Tuesday July 18th at the Birds Nest Bar, and applications are being accepted now. This competition is all about recognising the country music talent that’s out there and giving performers a step onto the platform. Country music is hard to break into, so this is the opportunity to start, make an impression and make great contacts.
The prizes are amazing!
1st prize is a CD production of a song of the winner’s choice, recorded by Brian Kerrigan at Harmony Studios, Letterkenny. A video production by Steve Bloor, to be shown on all country music programmes and played on all the country music radio stations. Also included is a paid performance at The Birds Nest Bar and a weekend break for two. The winner will also perform at many award shows during the year.
2nd prize is the same as 1st Prize without the weekend break!!
The judges are all major figures in the country music scene. Previous judges have included Charlie McGettigan, John Farry, Jim Devine, Richie Remo, Paul Kelly, Packie Keaney, Anthony McBrien and many more.
Winner Lauren McCrory 2015
If you don’t want to participate you can come along and enjoy a great night’s entertainment, every Tuesday during July and August.
See The Birds Nest Face book Page for more details on
Watch out for ‘The Back Axels’ coming soon to a venue near you. Fronting this band is Stephen Rosney on vocals/acoustic guitar, along with David Hawkins on dobro/harmonica, Shane Dunne on double bass and Michael Devine on banjo/mandolin. Stephen tells how they were playing music around a fire at a traditional session of singing and storytelling when a local priest suggested the name. The music of Old Ireland plays a big part in bands music and song writing, and the band members come from all parts of Ireland bringing with them their own style of music.
Stephen is a rising song writing star, and has written recent hits like “Old Turf Sod” for his brother Ciaran Rosney, and “God Bless the Farmer” for Robert Mizzell.
“O’Reilly was a Hero” is the debut single from The Back Axels. The video was filmed in the deep south of the United States and has an American Civil War theme that makes for a beautiful and heart touching video.
The band previously known as “Roslyn” released songs like “Red Haired Mary” and “Maid in the Garret”
Further details can be found on the website https://www.thebackaxles.com/ or on their face book page https://www.facebook.com/thebackaxles/
There’s a lovely little pub on the south side of Dublin, in a place called Booterstown, called the Punchbowl. I would regularly go there on a Tuesday night, bringing along my guitar and take part in the open trad sessions. Everyone is welcome, regardless of talent and ability. No pressure, no stress, just sharing the love of music.
One of the regulars Lar Flynn (no relation), sings for a group of American Tourists who come to visit the punchbowl on occasion. He felt that the room upstairs would make a great venue for intimate gigs for approximately 70-80 people. He had previously seen John Spillane perform in a similar venue and made contact with him with a view to performing at the Punchbowl.
On April 23rd 2016 John Spillane played to a full house and the #seaviewsessions were born. John has been back three times since then. Mick Hanly followed, and in November 2016 the legendary Christy Moore was welcomed to the Sea View Sessions for a fantastic evening of music and song.
The Sea View Sessions provide an opportunity for singers and songwriters to show case their talents in front of an audience. Many of these people may not get the opportunity to do that too often alongside seasoned professionals, such as the great Wally Page. Support slots are given out to similar acts and Lar told how they had a 'Poetician' one night who brought the house down, the brilliant John Cummins.
Lar says ‘We have been very lucky with a very loyal, and local following with many people returning to gig after gig, and we are gaining plenty of newcomers with each show, and with help of The Punchbowl owners, Joe & Catherine O' Rourke, we will continue to bring the best of Irish talent to The Seaview Sessions’.
Mick Hanly plays Friday 7th July at 8.30pm Tkts : €15 on 0868659814 to reserve or for further information.
If you happen to visit Ireland and a Seaview session isn’t on that week try attend one of the sessions on a Tuesday night, tell them Deirdre said hi !!!
I had the privilege of seeing Ruaile Buaile support Nathan Carter at his weekend in the INEC Killarney lately, and they were spectacular.
Described as a young Irish based, four piece modern day trad/pop/folk group from Offaly, Ruaile Buaile are four friends; Niall on vocals/guitar, Arthur fiddle/banjo, Shane vocals/bass and Jack Cajun/banjo. Ruaile Buaile formed in 2011 and are going from strength to strength.
Gaining support from music fans and festival goers across Ireland, UK, Germany, Holland, France, UAE and America to date, there is interest from festival organisers in Sweden, Austria, and Australia coming on board next year.
They have their own style and released their first album ‘Commotion’ which entered the Irish ITunes Chart at number 3, within weeks of release. They have since recorded their second album ‘This Very Moment’, and have a very exciting year ahead.
Details of upcoming dates can be found here http://ruailebuaile.ie/live-dates/
Below is a link to their take on ‘Maniac’ and the classic ‘The Foggy dew’
Definitely ones to watch for the future #livingthedream
Another Irish Band #livingthedream at the moment are ‘The Whistlin Donkeys’, who have been on the road for the last five years and are also going from strength to strength. They have built a strong following throughout the north of Ireland, playing in clubs, music venues and large outdoor festivals. The Whistlin Donkeys have a unique sound. Fronted by Fergal McAloon, alongside Stephen Corrigan, Tomas Quinn, Oscar Bradley, Daniel McCormack and Michael Kerr, you will hear a sound rooted in their strong traditional Irish Basis; the sound of a banjo, fiddle, guitar, bass, drums and vocals.
Influenced by artists such as The Pogues, The Dubliners and Flogging Molly, The Whistlin Donkeys have been lucky to work alongside legendary celtic rock guitarist Johnny Fean of the Horslips.
Here are two of my favourite songs ‘Sweet Sixteen’ and ‘Grace’, beautifully done !!
The Band has travelled to festivals in the America such as The Boston Irish Festival, and the East Durham Irish Festival in New York. Coverage of them performing at the Park Fest 2016 can be viewed on their facebook page
When they come to a venue near you definitely go see them, you won’t be disappointed !!!
More details can be found on https://www.thewhistlindonkeys.com/
Last but not least on this week’s blog, I want to share details of a local group which I have been proud to be associated with over the years, Rinecoil Fingal.
The following short piece has been submitted by Paul Dowling, an extremely patient, kind and lovely man from Rineceoil Fingal.
Rinceoil Fingal is a non-profit organisation that promotes, teaches and performs Irish traditional music, song and dance. Rinceoil are based in the small seaside town of Rush, in north County Dublin, Ireland. The name Rinceoil is made up of two Irish words Rince agus Ceoil, dancing and music. The group is over twenty years old and has grown successfully during that period. There are now over 100 members of all ages involved in classes, workshops, dancing and performing. Rinceoil has performed at various events both in Ireland and abroad over the years.
A highlight was playing music and dancing for the Special Olympics when they were held in Ireland. We have visited and performed in Canada, Scotland, France and Belgium. Rinceoil Fingal has a proven track record in promoting Irish traditional music, song and dance, not only in Rush but also in the wider Fingal area. 2017 also sees us presenting our eighteenth “Scoil Samhraidh Chris Langan” (“Chris Langan Summer School”). This is an annual music festival in memory of Kitty Langan.
The main reason for visiting Toronto stemmed from our music connections. Chris Langan was a piper from Rush. He immigrated to Canada in the '50s and lived in Toronto up to his death in 1992. During his life in Toronto he spread Irish music and taught uileann pipe playing. He contributed hugely to the Irish music scene in Toronto and played a major part in establishing the Langan-Gorman Toronto Branch of Comhaltas Ceoilteoiri Eireann (Association of Irish Musicians). His house was always open to musicians to come and learn and play together, “Kitty’s Kitchen” as it was called. In order to honour his memory and contribution to Irish traditional music in Toronto, an Irish music festival is held in Toronto each year, the Chris Langan Weekend. This is a major festival attracting musicians from all over Canada and North America.
While we were in Toronto, Rinceoil gave performances at Yonge/Dundas Square and also at the Exhibition, The X, on the international stage. We also had some mighty sessions in the Galway Bay and Dora Keogh’s pubs.
This year Rinceoil won 1st place in the Rush St Patrick’s Day Parade with a Viking theme and some lively music.
The Annual Chris Langan Summer School takes place this year from Friday 23rd June to Sunday 25th June 2017.
For information see www.facebook/rinceoilfingal.rush or call Paul, 087-2308546Friday 23rd June: 7pm. St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, Official Opening by Mayor of Fingal followed at 8pm by Annual Rinceoil Gala Concert featuring pupils, Rinceoil and Tumbleweed. (free admittance)
Seisiún Cheoil 8.30pm till late, in the Michael Collins Bar, with CCE Craobh Seán Treacy, Rinceoil and guests.
Saturday 24th June: 1pm-5pm. Music, Singing and Dance Workshops in Rush National School, Millbank, Rush. Cost: 20 euro. Per workshop, reductions for families. Refreshments provided. Tutors; Sean Nós Dancing Ronan Regan, Singing Mary Murphy, Bodhrán Rob O’Connor, Flute/Whistle Mike Perigoe, Piano Accordion Seamus Meehan, Fiddle Imogen Gunner, Guitar Mairtín Ó’Muirí, Banjo Seán McElwain, Concertina TBC.
Seisiún Ceoil Mór in Rush Sailing Club, 9.00pm till Late. Hosted by Tumbleweed with special guests Craobh Seán Treacy’s. Everyone and all musicians welcome for what has always been a great night. Refreshments provided.
Sunday 25th June: Traditional Mass 11.30am. In memory of deceased members and friends. St Maurs Church, Rush.
A huge thank you to Paul Dowling for submitting that information. I took part in the Scoil last year and am really looking forward to it again this year. Over the years I have taken part in concerts with Rineceoil Fingal, learned the Tin Whistle with Lenny, the Bodhran with Paul and even attempted to play the fiddle at one stage. There’s a long story behind the fiddle classes and why I had to give up !
Groups such as Rineceoil Fingal play a vital part of small communities, and should be commended for the tireless work they carry out with children and adults, enabling all to #livethedream learning how to play traditional musical instruments.
I could have kept going but I think maybe I’ve overloaded you with news from Ireland for this week. Next time on #lovingallthingscountryandtrad I hope to bring you some more music profiles, news, single/album releases and gig guides. There is an event calendar being compiled as we speak which is pages long, so if you have an event you want to share please send me a pm or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add them to it for you. Also if anyone has any event videos or photos or messages for artists please drop me a line.
Until next time I’ll leave you with this one from Mark Twain, remember keep #livingthedream