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Superb single and new album on way as Cathy Davey plays Town Hall



Date Published: {J}

Sometimes waiting for a good song to come on the radio can be like looking for a needle in haystack. But, every so often, a track will come along to clear the dross out of your head. Cathy Davey’s latest single Little Red is one such tune, a joyful burst of music that is surely one of 2010’s best tracks. And the good news is that the Dublin-born singer plays the Town Hall, Galway on Saturday, May 8.

It has been two years since Davey released the hugely impressive Tales Of Silversleeve and dominated the airwaves with the infectious Reuben. Is Cathy happy with her soon-to-be-released third album The Nameless?

“Happy? Happy seems a little too simple,” she says. “I think the songwriting and everything is good. I’m always, forever, disappointed with what I achieve in the end. It’s such a long project and I only have myself to blame for what comes out in the ending. But I’m happy that I gave it my very best shot and you have to abandon it at some stage.”

In the period since her last album, Cathy has again become an independent artist after parting ways with EMI. The singer reacted quickly to the situation by doing what she does best: making music.

“The first thing I did was to get out of the house in Dublin, because it’s too expensive for me!” she laughs. “I went to the country and I started recording. The first thing I felt was ‘well, I’ll never have to give them songs and have them not react to them’ . Which is the worst way someone can react to songs! So that felt good.”

Cathy enjoys being away from the pressures an artist feels when they are signed to a huge corporation like EMI.

“I know for a fact that I’m not suited to a major label at all,” she says. “The thing I didn’t get when I signed to them was in order [for them] to put in X amount of money to record and promote the album, I have to make double the amount back. Or they’re not happy. The only people who are going to do that are people who are a very different breed to me entirely.

“I just want to record at home and do things quietly,” Cathy adds. “I don’t want to dress up in ‘fashion clothes’ and I don’t want to do things that jar with my sense of integrity. Trying saying that to record executives is very hard.”

Unlike some acts which have been let go by their labels, Cathy Davey isn’t bitter about her dealings with EMI.

“I was absolutely fine; it wasn’t a surprise. They were dropping a lot of people. It’s all fine, I don’t blame them – they need to make a lot of money, because they invest a lot of money. I wasn’t doing that for them.”

Seeking to recharge her creative batteries, Cathy went to the small town of Albi, near Toulouse in France.

“It’s a tiny town and really pretty, but it wasn’t for the prettiness,” she explains. “It was just somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and I couldn’t speak the language. I got down to work for a month.”

Like anyone travelling on a budget, Cathy had to be wary of baggage restrictions.

“I brought small instruments! I brought a tiny drum kit in a suitcase, like a toy one. I bought a mandolin and tin whistles and had to come up with new songs with those. Anything with mandolin was written there. Little Red, The Nameless, Wild Rum – they were all written there.”

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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