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Paul Brady tour to end on high note in Galway



Date Published: {J}

A true force of nature will sweep through Galway when Paul Brady plays the Radisson on Sunday, May 2. The Strabane born singer is one of Ireland’s most enduring talents, an artist who comfortably flits between folk, rock and traditional music.

Hooba Dooba is Paul’s latest album and has been met with much acclaim since its release earlier this month. The title sounds like a reference to early rock and roll but it’s actually something the singer came up with himself.

“It’s just a phrase I used to use – or still use if I get a bit over excited!” he explains. “The art director who was working on the sleeve of the album was showing me stuff and I came out with ‘hooba dooba’. He said ‘is that the album title?’ and I said no and he said ‘it should be’.”

Hooba Dooba was recorded in Dublin, about as close to home as Brady can get.

“I have a studio in the garden and put it together there. I went to London for one day to put a couple of backing vocal singers on it. Otherwise, the whole thing was recorded [in the studio] at home. It’s a pretty well-constructed, state-of-the art studio so I can do what I want there.”

Given how intense the recording process can be, did he find it difficult to switch off?

“Yes and no!” he laughs. “The fact that it’s in the back garden, and you can always go to it when you want, allows you to take some time off. The difference between that and, say, hiring a studio is if you hire a studio you have to hire it a certain time, for a certain period. That means you have to work then!”

One of the stand-out tracks on Hooba Dooba is Rainbow, where a lover is seen through a prism of colour.

“I have used that before, in a funny way, in a song I wrote called Blue World back in the mid-90s on an album called Spirits Colliding,” Paul says. “It was the first time I used the image of colours to describe emotions. I don’t know whether I forgot about it but that song wasn’t in my mind when I finished writing Rainbow. Somebody pointed out to me that I’d used that kind of device before.”

Paul Brady is blessed with one of the most distinctive voices in Irish music, an instrument that has endured through 45 years of singing. What does he do to keep it sounding so good?

“Ignore it!” he says. “I basically do nothing to look after my voice. It’s a strange thing but I never seem to have any problems with it. I don’t sing from my throat anyway, I tend to sing from down in my diaphragm. I’m not really putting a lot of strain on the vocal chords themselves. Sometimes, singers will sing from their throats and that puts a lot of strain on your voice-box.”

But, surely, someone with such a powerful voice would have to some vocal warm-ups to reach the pitch he does in concert.

“I never bother! It’s not a very subtle instrument, my voice. I wasn’t trained as singer, in the sense that I don’t have a lot of vibrato; I’m not worried about not being able to hit certain notes. It tends to be natural with me.”

Paul Brady plays the Radisson, Galway on Sunday, May 2. Tickets €38.70 from Zhivago, Shop St or

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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