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Iconic group reunites for Tuam’s Sugar Beat



Too Much For The Whiteman will play a gig at the Tuam Sugar Beat Festival

It’s been over two and a half decades since they stepped on stage together, so anticipation will be high for the return of Too Much For The Whiteman when they play the first day at this year’s Sugar Beat Festival in Tuam.

The event, which returns after a successful debut last year, takes place in Tuam Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23.

The impressive line-up includes Hometown, Ryan Sheridan, the sublime My Fellow Sponges and The Stunning.

For Too Much For The Whiteman, the concert will have an added poignancy following the recent passing of Dermot Holian.

“It was a sad day,” says lead-singer Mouse Mc Hugh.

“A couple of the boys were away [for the funeral] and they couldn’t get over for it. Der was the bass player after Stewy, Michael Stewart.”

Affectionately known in Tuam as The Whitemen, the band had their origins in the 1980s, when a young band from Shamtown left Ireland.

“We went over to England with All Cats Are Grey,” Mouse recalls.

“Myself, Cueser [Kevin McHugh], Turps [John Burke] and Alan Flynn. We were living in high-rise flats in South West London, there was a Rasta next door booming out reggae night and day. They’d all be playing records and other guys would be toasting over it. So I started toasting with them and it was great fun.”

The Cats were fired up by this new sound. “Everyone eventually wandered back from London and we started jamming,” Mouse says.

“There was a musical on in the Presentation convent and they were looking for a backing band. The Whitemen more or less started out of that!”

From the moment they arrived, Too Much For The Whiteman had a major influence locally. Noelie McDonnell, a musician who would go on to record three solo albums and be part of the acclaimed folk trio The Whileaways was a young fan.

“We used to jam in our grandfather’s house on the Weir Road, and Noelie used to sit outside on the wall and listen,” Mouse says.

“He said to me once ‘I heard you boys in there and all I wanted to do was get a guitar’.”

Further up the N17, Mouse and the band were making a noise in Galway city.

“We used to play in The Stroll Inn in Salthill every Sunday afternoon,” Mouse says.

“Great craic! There was nothing like us, no bands doing anything like that in town at all – reggae influence. We were doing a few of our own, a couple of covers.”

The band went on to record in Landsdowne Studios in Dublin, and penned a real classic in Put Your Mind at Ease. Derek Cronin eventually replaced Dermot on bass.

In 1988, Too Much For The Whiteman were handed a big break when they were given a slot at Radio 2’s Beat On The Street shows.

“We got on the bill for that, and Leo Moran from The Saw Doctors was with us then,” Mouse says.

“The Waterboys were playing and they were short a guitar player so Leo did it and I came up and did some backing vocals.

“We got national publicity because of that. We were on the front of The Irish Times. Too Much for the Whiteman – I think everyone was intrigued by the name.”

Indeed. It’s a moniker that must come with a story. “It actually comes from a Spanish saying that John Brogan (a member of the original line-up) brought back from there,” Mouse says.

“When the sun gets too much, when it all gets hot and heavy. And it t had a double edge.

“I have a great friend, a black guy who lives in London,” Mouse adds.

“And he used to be going ‘oh whities, oh whities’ and I said ‘Simian, will you stop going on about the whities!’

And he said ‘Why Martin?’ – he wouldn’t call me Mouse because a mouse is a nasty thing in Trinidad. I said to him ‘I’m white’. And he says ‘Martin, you’re not white, you’re Irish!’”

For more about Too Much For The Whiteman see this week’s Tribune


Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be



Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce.

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

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All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh



Most of the competitions for young musicians will take place this Saturday in Dunmore Community School. All the competitions are open to the public.

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


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Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday



Pianist Cédric Pescia.

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, 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.

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