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March 30, 2011



Date Published: {J}

Goldray, a London based rock quartet, play their first Galway show in Monroe’s Live on Thursday, December 13. The band is the brainchild of guitarist Kenwyn House and vocalist Leah Rasmussen. Kenwyn is also the guitarist with Reef, the English rock band who have enjoyed a loyal following since scoring hits like Place Your Hands and Come Back Brighter in the nineties. He explains how his latest venture got off the ground.

“We’ve been writing on and off, while I’ve been doing Reef stuff as well, over the past four years,” says Kenwyn. “But the Goldray thing started with me and Leah deliberately deciding we wanted to write an album about two-and-a-half years ago. We’ve just been writing and recording since then, getting a band together. Andy Treacy, from Faithless, joined us about a year ago. And we’ve recently recruited a guy called Geoff Laurens, a young guy from Camden. We now have the full, complete band.”

Goldray have recorded most of their music in Kenwyn’s home, but to get the drum parts right the band went elsewhere.

“The drums we’ve done in three different studios; Metropolis in London, a small place in Kent called The Granary,” Kenwyn says. “We’re the process of doing the last couple of drum tracks at Olympic in London – not exactly an unfamous studio, considering the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin made a lot of their records there!”

Speaking of Mick Jagger and co, did Kenwyn have a spare grand to stand in the front row at The Stones’ reunion gigs in London recently?

“No, I didn’t!” he laughs. “It’s funny; when we were with Reef we supported the Stones for a couple of nights. They did some warm-up shows in the Brixton Academy in ’96. It was funny, because they gave us the broom cupboard – we got this one little room with buckets and mops in it, and they got every other room!”

The Stones, at their peak, had Bill Wyman on bass and Charlie Watts on drums. Does Kenwyn value the power of a rhythm section?

“Oh, it’s vastly important,” he says. “Me and Leah are vocals and guitar, and you’re going to write the songs with those, or piano. Then you’ve got to turn what you have in your head to something that works in a room with a drum kit and a bass guitar. Some ideas work better than others, but bass and drums together – it’s what allows people to relax when they listen to you.”

Goldray’s drummer, Andy Treacy, has been vital in pushing the band forward.

“He’s played with Groove Armada, Moby and Faithless,” says Kenwyn. “So he’s spent a lot of time doing dance based stuff but his heart lies in late sixties/early seventies rock like The Band, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Jimi Hendrix. So me, Leah and Andy all have a similar taste from that era, a Zeppelin/Doors kind of vibe.”

Why does Kenwyn believe the influence of bands from the Flower Power era has endured for so long?

“That was very revolutionary era, both musically and in the world,” he says. “It was a time when great freedom came to the world, generally. It was like John Lennon said ‘before Elvis, there was nothing’. Imagine living in a world before Elvis Presley – people did, apparently!

“In the sixties there was a lot of freedom, and I wouldn’t want to go back to a world without it,” he adds. “And at this moment in time, I think that freedom is being challenged and I think we should stand and be free. That sound and the music of the time reminds us that’s what people like us should be doing. I just don’t see us living in a free world. I see more and more CCTV, ID cards – this is not the sign of a free society.”

As a member of Reef, Kenwyn has toured all over the world and played to full arenas, living the life of a successful rock musician. With Goldray, he has gone right back to the beginning, grafting and playing club shows. How does it feel to be starting all over again?

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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