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Choice nominees Cashier No 9 for Galway concert



Date Published: 11-Apr-2012

Purveyors of lush, harmony-laden songs, Cashier No 9 play Róisín Dubh on Saturday, April 21. The Belfast based sextet is led by Daniel Todd, who assembled the band from friends and musicians he knew from the city’s vibrant scene.

“It was a solo project for me at the start, I had a bedroom studio set up, working away, and then eventually someone booked me a gig,” Daniel says. “I roped in a couple of friends to help me out – James (Smith on guitar/vocals), who was playing in The Emperors at the time, and Stuart (Magowan on bass/vocals), who’s one of my best friends.

“It’s grown into a six headed beast now – a percussion player, a harp (harmonica) player, a keyboard player and I’ve got my friend Phil playing drums.”

Cashier No 9’s music has a classic sixties feel to it, with its expansive arrangements and layered harmonies. Was this something Danny had in his head when he started to work on the band’s debut, To The Death Of Fun?

“There was no real sound in my head, it’s just what I was working on at the time,” Danny says. “David Holmes produced the album for us – his sound linked all our songs together. He recorded with a lot of vintage gear.

“We went out to LA and recorded in Laurel Canyon, where The Byrds worked. We recorded in this old studio, that’s where the sixties sound came from. We’re all from Northern Ireland. You get out there, you stick the shades on, you’re up in Laurel Canyon – it’s not hard to get swept away by it all!”

David Holmes started out as Belfast based DJ, and was at the forefront of the city’s club scene. But after releasing atmospheric albums like 1997’s Let’s Get Killed he began to turn heads in Hollywood. He composed the soundtracks for the Ocean’s Eleven series, as well as Steve McQueen’s Hunger. Holmes had a clear vision for To The Death Of Fun, and called on some friends in LA.

“David has a lot of contacts from working in the movies,” says Danny. “Friends of his would drop by the studio, like [Beach Boyscollaborator] Van Dyke Parks, which was cool. And this guy Jason Faulkner, who plays with Beck, came down to do some stuff with us.

“This guy called Tommy Morgan, who played with The Wrecking Crew – these sessions players from the sixties – played the harmonica solo on Goldstar for us, and a bit on Lost At Sea. He’s this 75-year-old-guy who played on Pet Sounds.”

Between working around Holmes’ schedule and financing the album themselves, Cashier No 9 spent over 18 months on their debut. When it was ready they took it to some record companies, with Bella Union topping the list. The London based label, founded by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde, is home to stellar acts like Fleet Foxes, M. Ward and John Grant.

“We thought of what labels we were into, and Bella Union always comes top of the list,” says Danny. “We got in contact with them, and as soon as Simon heard it he said ‘yeah, I want to get involved’. I think within two weeks they’d put the record out.”

With To The Death Of Fun generating a buzz among critics and on music blogs, Danny and his band prepared to hit the road. Songs like Goldstar sound sublime on record, but recreating them live represented something of a challenge.

“It’s so lush, there’s so many layers,” says Danny. “I think on Goldstar there’s a hundred tracks on there. Between reverb, echo chambers, harps, percussion and all sorts of other stuff. It’s all pretty cosmic.”

On the day of the interview, Danny and Cashier No 9 have an unusual job on their hands. They will be playing with Daniel Johnston, a cult hero of American alternative music. The 2006 documentary The Devil And Daniel Johnston explored his struggle with mental illness, but also unearthed some great songs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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