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School’s out as music rules for Featuring X



Featuring X, from left, Dara Farrelly, Jenny McKeown, Niamh Sharkey, Sarah McLaughlin, Eleanor Rogers.

The young and upcoming Featuring X play The Victoria Hotel on Wednesday, July 23 as part of this year’s Galway Fringe Festival.

The Drogheda based outfit, whose influences include the Arctic Monkeys and the Black Keys, are on the road to celebrate the release of their new video and single, Wild Love. They also have another reason to celebrate – the five members of Featuring X did their Leaving Cert this summer, having formed while they were in Transition Year.

“We entered a competition that year, and then gig after gig followed. We met our manager and did an EP and single,” says lead singer Niamh Sharkey. “We were doing underage gigs and things like that. As we grew older, we started doing more pub gigs and late night gigs. Now we’re 18, the sky’s the limit!”

Niamh is joined in Featuring X by Dara Farrelly on lead guitar, Eleanor Rogers on rhythm guitar, Sarah McLaughlin on bass and Jenny McKeown on drums. Their recent video for Wild Love is a witty reprise of the clip for Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love. This time, the models in the iconic 1980s video who couldn’t play their instruments are replaced by the members of Featuring X, who can. The video was directed by Gavin Kilduff.

“He had the idea and he wanted to do it for so long but he just couldn’t find the right band,” says Niamh. “Then he found out we had this song, and it all fitted in. We did it all in one day. That morning we got up, got our hair and make-up done. We spent about six hours shooting.  We played along to the track and it came out that way.”

Standing in front of a camera for six hours could have been quite an intimidating prospect, especially for such a young bad.

“At first, we were a bit weary of it,” Niamh admits. “But we videoed it in a warehouse, it was empty, it was us playing our music, our videographer and our manager, and that was it. It was just like normal band practice, there was nothing to be uncomfortable about in that sense.”

Wild Love was written by Rea Garvey and Andrew Chatterly, but Featuring X also pen their own tunes, as they did for their debut EP last year.

“For our EP, Eleanor and Dara came to the table with these lyrics and riffs,” Niamh says. “From that we all built on top of it – Jenny got a beat for the drums, Sarah figured out a bass line and it all came together. This summer, we’re starting to write again. We’re hoping to incorporate more originals into our set, especially after the release of Wild Love.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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