The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – email@example.com
What do you get when you cross trad with salsa? Find out when Baile an Salsa play Monroe’s Live on Saturday next August 24. The ten-piece band is made up of lead singer Andres Martorell, Alan Preims (congas), Antonio Aguilar (bass), Michael Chang (fiddle), Frailan Moran (Bata/percussion), Peter Brazier (mandolin/guitar), Ger Chambers (accordion), Brid Dunne (piano) Rags Ferguson (timbales/bodhrán) and Gabriel G. Diges (flute and bouzouki).
Baile an Salsa is the brainchild of Uruguayan native Andres and the singer recalls how the notion came about.
“I had the idea five or six years ago,” he says “We used to play salsa in Massimo’s [on Sea Road], and we used to go to The Crane Bar for a pint on our break. I told Alan and he said it was a good idea, so the two of us started to pick up people from different places. He contacted Mike, and then we called Antonio and different people and we put it together like that.”
“I know Andres from the salsa band,” continues Antonio. “I was playing piano at that time; Alan was also part of the band. When Andres asked me to join the project, I was playing the double bass. I said ‘well, I’ll do that for the band’.
“I’m originally from Mexico, so I’ve played some Latin music in the past,” Antonio adds. “It’s great to be part of this; there are a lot of similarities between Irish traditional music and Latin rhythms. 6/8 rhythms are also very common in Afro-Cuban drumming.”
Alan Preims is Baile an Salsa’s conga player. What challenges does the band present to him, as a percussionist?
“I think the challenges are to choose the right Latin/Afro centric rhythms and not to be, I guess, repetitive,” he says. “You can put something together quickly, but if you don’t give it thought they can kind of neutralise each other.
“I think selecting the rhythms that we put together from the Irish with the salsa is the challenge, to keep the Afro- Cuban elusive, so that it’s supporting the Irish.”
The band started to rehearse last summer, and began working on a four-track EP shortly after that. When did Anders know that band were ready to start gigging?
“I don’t think we are ready yet!” he laughs. “We believe that it’s going to work, but we still have a lot to do. We did the first EP in a bit of a hurry, just to show the music that we do. The first songs we put together were the four songs we put on the EP.
“We have way more things now that, I believe, show the band a little bit better. The EP didn’t do too badly, we’re very happy with it.”
They may have fleshed out their set since then, but the EP gives a good sense of what Baile an Salsa are about. Some bands are overly fussy about their debut recording, but Anders and the band were keen to get some music out there.
“We recorded it in Nenagh, in record time!” he says All the instruments in one day – ten people. In three or four days we had the whole thing done.
“We had a lot of discussions with the traditional musicians [in the band], because I would consider myself a Latin musician,” adds Antonio. “Half of the band have their roots in Irish music, so we’re always trying to make this vision work, how to bring certain motifs of Irish music into Latin, and vice versa.
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.