The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell
Guinness Live returns to Galway’s Latin Quarter on Thursday next, September 26, and runs until Saturday, September 28. There will be free shows from The Complete Stone Roses, Kila, Simon and Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene and a DJ set from Snow Patrol. On Saturday, September 28, Bipolar Empire play the King’s Head.
The young Dublin based band are currently working on their second LP, the follow up to 2011’s Feel That You Own It. The band’s as-yet untitled sophomore effort was recorded in Metropolis Studios in London.
“It was quite an exciting place to go, we were fortunate to record there,” says Callum McAdam, Bipolar Empire’s gregarious drummer. “Freddie Mercury’s piano is in there, Cream used to do a bit of recording there – our bass player [Joe Leech] is a massive Cream fan. I think the Stone Roses did an album there; the Black Keys did some mixing there.”
Bipolar Empire’s line-up is completed by leadsinger and guitarist Shane O’Reilly and Mark McGuire on guitar/vocals. What were the quartet’s aims for this record?
“We’re looking to have a more mature sound,” says Callum. “We did the first album quite young – not as young as The Strypes! – but we didn’t know exactly what we were doing. For the second album, we had more control in the studio.”
“We went in with the songs, and the producer we worked with came up with some harmonising ideas. Joe and me went in on the first day on drums and bass, and knocked out the 10 songs on the album in 5 and a half hours.”
Since they released their debut, Bipolar Empire have played in Europe, the UK and Brazil. Callum feels this experience has benefited the band.
“We’ve had so many years of gigging and festivals and playing in different countries that we’ve got better at our instruments,” he says. “I think we had more technique to give to the recording process, rather than just going in and recording songs we’d written in a shed the year previous.”
“It was a more mature approach to recording, which I think we all needed to feel good about all the work we’ve put in over the last couple of years.”
Bipolar Empire spent six months living in London and make regular trips to the English capital. Their drummer enjoys the buzz of the place.
“I think London is an amazing place,” Cal says. “We have a lot of mates over there; we’re really good friends with Morrissey & Marshall, they’re a two-piece acoustic act, and the lads play a little bit them.”
“We’d walk around Camden and get merrily drunk; there’s a great music scene. In Ireland, it’s a shame because there’s so many great bands and not as many people giving a shit. But over there, there’s more people approaching you and going out and listening to your music, getting involved. It can be tougher, because there’s so many bands doing the same thing as you, but a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune
Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be
Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.
The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.
It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.
Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.
People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.
The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.
The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at Eventbrite.ie.
All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh
Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.
It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.
The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023. Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.
Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.
Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.
On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.
Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.
For more information on the County Fleadh, go to www.galwaycomhaltas.ie.
Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday
Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.
This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.
This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as ‘language and movement at the same time’.
Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31. These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.
■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at www.musicforgalway.ie, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.