After a busy year touring their critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘Boa Howl’, Halves share two new professionally shot live videos from their Button Factory album launch. Filmed by Bold Puppy, ‘Hug the blood’ and ‘Drip pools’ document their current live show as a captivating blend of electronics, strings, brass, live visuals and dual drumkits.
Handprint is an exciting recital programme by Irish pianist Therese Fahy, born of the realisation that muchcontemporary piano music seems to be composed for pianists with large hands, to the exclusion of many female pianists. Therese has commissioned six major Irish composers to write new works for her, enriching the musical landscape by enhancing the piano repertoire with a highly innovative collection of piano pieces, the Handprint Collection, specifically designed for smaller hands – something which has never been done before.
The six commissioned works, by Irish composers Bill Whelan, Raymond Deane, Siobhán Cleary, Benjamin Dwyer, Grainne Mulvey and Michael Holohan, will receive their world premieres at a recital as part of the New Music Dublin Festival on Saturday 8 March. Ahead of this, Fahy and the composers will showcase elements of the new works in a series of public workshops in association with the Contemporary Music Centre, in which they will discuss the background and creative process from composition and pianistic points of view.
“Thérese Fahy is an established concert pianist both at home and abroad who has consistently supported Irish new music both as performer and as audience member. CMC welcomes this new project to actively engage with Irish composers to commission six new works, which develop repertoire for quite specific performers. CMC in partnership with Thérese and the composers commissioned, will host a series of workshops targeted at young composers and performers (open to the general public also) focusing on the creation of the new works and the artistic and technical challenges both to the composers and to Thérese. The Handprint workshops and performances create a rare opportunity for Irish audiences to immerse themselves in new and vibrant Irish piano music performed with commitment and respect by one of our foremost pianists.” – Evonne Ferguson, CMC
As well as workshops and premieres, the project will continue at the Hugh Lane Gallery with Handprint – Before and Beyond, a three-part concert series that will explore not only the commissioned music, but the repertoire that inspired it. Each recital will feature the work of two of the composers, alongside pieces chosen by each to shine a light on their own music – pieces that influenced them, move them or inspire them, including pieces by Debussy, Schoeberg, Ravel, Scarlatti, Messiaen and Scriabin. By marrying the old and new, contemporary and non-contemporary masterpieces can thrive together in performance, and that the new pieces, seen in this light, among the shining gems of the past, will be launched into the standard piano repertoire of the future.
“As a small-handed concert pianist, I have found that much contemporary music seems to be designed for large hands. Handprint is an exciting, challenging collection of newly-commissioned pieces written for my hands by six wonderfully diverse, major Irish composers: Raymond Deane, Bill Whelan, Siobhan Cleary, Grainne Mulvey, Michael Holohan and Benjamin Dwyer. I am very much looking forward to performing the world première recital of the Handprint Collection at New Music Dublin in March, 2014.” -Therese Fahy
Raymond Deane – Legerdemain
Siobhán Cleary – Leda and the Swan
Benjamin Dwyer – Étude
Grainne Mulvey – Calorescence
Michael Holohan – The Forge
Bill Whelan – New Work
Handprint Workshops, Kevin Barry Room, National Concert Hall
6pm, Jan 17 – Benjamin Dwyer
7pm, Jan 17 – Michael Holohan
6pm, Jan 30 – Siobhan Cleary
7pm, Jan 30 – Raymond Deane
6pm, Feb 8 – Grainne Mulvey
3pm, 8 Mar – New Music Dublin Festival, National Concert Hall
Handprint – Before and Beyond, Hugh Lane Gallery (Programme TBC)
12pm, May 4th
12pm, June 1st
12pm, June 29th
The national song contest to find Ireland’s entry in the Pan Celtic International Festival 2014 has just been launched. Following the success of the event staged in Carlow in 2012 and 2013 as part of the Pan Celtic Festivals the local committee has been invited to organize the national contest again and find the winning song to represent Ireland at the International Contest which will be hosted by Derry in 2014.
The competition is open to all genres from traditional to pop, country to rock. Songs must be in Irish with lyrics and music newly composed. Entries on cd must be with Glór Cheatharlach by Friday, 31st January 2014. With so many great songwriters and musicians in the locality it is hoped that the competition will attract many local composers. Entries will be shortlisted to be performed before a live audience and judging panel at a gala event in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow on Saturday, 8th March, 2014. The winning song will receive a prize of €1,000 and magnificent trophy and go forward to represent Ireland at the Pan Celtic International Song Contest to be held in Derry, 22-27 April where they will go head to head with the other national winners representing Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man.
A special and separate Song Contest for entrants under 17 years is being held this year and it too will take place on 8 March with a prize of €200 & trophy going to the winning song.
Rules and entry forms are available on www.panceltic.ie . Full details also from Glór Cheatharlach email or phone 059 9158105, 087 2857048 or 085 1340047. Entries on cd together with completed entry form to: Comórtas Amhrán Pan Cheilteach 2014, Glór Cheatharlach, College Street, Carlow by 5.00pm on 31 January.
‘‘Disappear’ is the new release from Northern Irish based Singer/Songwriter Nina Armstrong. The acoustic EP, which exudes hints of Suzanne Vega and Joni Mitchell, includes two original tracks and Nina’s version of the 80’s song ‘Crazy’ by Seal.
‘Disappear’ is an imagining of what we might hope to hear from those we have lost if we were able to be with them one more time. The second original track, ‘This Could Be Something’ ponders finding love in a way that is simple and almost quiet, an idea that we are unfamiliar with in today’s world.
The strength of the recording lies in it’s simplicity as it consists of an acoustic guitar and a vocal performance which has been described by Jackie Hayden (Hotpress) as possessing “great warmth and expression”
Nina will be releasing the EP in January and to celebrate this will be performing live in venues in the North and South of Ireland in the coming months. She will launch the EP in the beautiful Grouchos Music Lounge in Richhill, Co Armagh and this will be followed by several appearances including the 10th Belfast Nashville Songwriting Festival and The Purple Sessions in Slane, where on her last visit her, ‘sweet voice and quick wit wooed the Purple Sessions audience into a stunned silence’
For more information on Nina and her upcoming EP visit www.ninaarmstrong.com
‘Red Dust’ is the second installment from director Aoife McArdle’s trilogy to accompany the release of ‘Post Tropical’. The first video from the trilogy is the current single ‘Cavalier’ which has been making major waves in the UK and proving a firm favourite with revered Radio 1 and Radio 6 DJs including Fearne Cotton, Annie Mac and Zane Lowe who described ‘Cavalier’ as “one of the best records of the year, hands down”. Post Tropical’ is set for release in Ireland on 10th January.
It was also announced today that tickets for James Vincent McMorrow’s third and final concert (February 6th) in the National Concert Hall have now sold out. James’ show at the prestigious Barbican Centre as part of his UK tour is also sold out.
Announcing the awards on his Ocean Drive show, host Shane Smyth said ‘Irish music continues to grow and it’s been a difficult decision choosing an Irish Single, Album and Artist of the Year such is the wealth of amazing talent that exists on the island. We are thrilled to reveal that the song which we have awarded Single of the Year to is “Catch Me If You Can” by Dingle based Walking On Cars. The distinctive voice of Patrick Sheehy along with the unique style on this track gave rise to fantasticly melodic pop song’.
‘We’d also like to congratulate Dublin based Kodaline as they have taken the title of Ocean FM’s Play Irish Album of the Year with “In A Perfect World”. Each song on this album is a hit and with songs like “Brand New Day”, “High Hopes” and “Love Like This”, it was tough to keep this album out of the CD player’.
‘Finally our Ocean FM Play Irish Artists of the Year” are a bunch of lads who have had a crazy year. They’ve performed all over the world and released their first album too. Congratulations to Josh, Pete, Evan and Ross – The Strypes. The boys are firm favourites on Ocean Drive and no doubt will be even more successful in 2014.
Tim Collins, Chief Executive of Ocean FM said ‘the Play Irish initiative is a very important part of delivering on Ocean FM’s commitment to developing Irish talent. Over the past two years we have been the leading station in Ireland in our commitment to Irish music and this is a core part of our public service broadcasting ethos. Shane’s knowledge and enthusiasm has been a key factor in the success of Play Irish on Ocean and we look forward to further developing the initiative in the coming years.’
Play Irish airs as part of Ocean FM’s Ocean Drive with Shane Smyth, Monday to Thursday at 6pm on Ocean FM.
Want to get ahead in the music industry?
Brought to you by Hot Press, the MIX course is aimed at musicians who want to learn more about the music industry, management, media, publicity, promotion, publishing, record labels and lots more. It’s for musicians who want to maximise their income.
There are still a limited number of places available and Hot Press are offering IMRO members a special discounted registration rate.
The course provides opportunities for musicians to learn from music professionals covering vital areas relevant to songwriters and recording artists.
It is a 13-week lecture based course (one each week) by top industry experts from the Irish and International music industry, past lecturers have included Mark Crossingham (MD, Universal Music), Steve Averill (U2 Designer), John McMahon (Head of RTE 2FM) and many more.
Speaking about the course, director Mark Hogan says, “The Music Industry Xplained course is designed to give musicians a comprehensive insight into all aspects of the business. The lecturers are among the leading professionals in their field and so participants have access to an extraordinary level of accumulated knowledge and experience.”
Key subjects covered in the course include Music Online, Record Companies, Music Marketing, Publicity, Image Development, Record Production, Songwriting, Music Publishing, Working with the Media, Management, Finance, Touring and Distribution.
MIX ’14 will run in Dublin City Centre every Tuesday at 7.30pm from January 28th.
You’ll also get a FREE Hot Press subscription for the duration of the course. Simply quote the Promo Code ‘IMROMIX2014′ to receive a special €50 IMRO discount.
For more information go to www.hotpress.com/mix
To secure your place and avail of this IMRO member offer, contact: Elena Healy at Hot Press on (01) 241 1500 / (086) 389 4988 or email
‘Hard Times In Dublin Again’, a new track by singer-songwriter Paul Hourican, is the tale of Ireland’s economic woes as seen through the eyes of the new diaspora. It documents the fallout from the Celtic Tiger years and subsequently examines themes such as dislocation, displacement and the close relationship that the Irish in particular have with home. Crucially this is set against the backdrop of Christmas, the time of year where being home is most important to us all. It is sad, it is angry, it is joyful and it is celebratory of all things great and green about the Ireland of the past, present and future. It is also a calling to people that we may come to our senses and come back to our core values and beliefs.
“Sad and Blue” is the first single from Willowjack, an Irish song-writing duo (Donal Byrne & Hugh Doolan), who between them have backed the likes of Björk, Primal Scream and Christy Moore, and have been pure stalwarts of the music scene for over 25 years.
A catchy guitar-driven pop song with a reggae dance beat, Sad and Blue combines this with a killer-sweet melody creating an instantly unforgettable hit.
The accompanying video on YouTube is a pure delight with heaps of style and quirky animation. “Sad and Blue” is a sure fire classic in the waiting for this dynamic band. More singles are expected next year along with some festival dates and an album set for early autumn.
IMRO member Richard Abbott has written a book about songwriting. Richard who is also a music publisher with IMRO has been working freelance in media education and it was this experience that inspired him to write the book.
Richard says “There have been many books written about songwriting but Musical Conversations is different. The books about songwriting are either academic theory manuals or workshop guidebooks detailing the craft and tricks of the trade. I just felt that what was needed was ‘a songwriting book for dummies’ and that’s what I’ve tried to write. The academic and instruction books are very good but they can be confusing because they mix up the creativity with the craft. Also, I have been working with songwriters for many years and the level of ignorance about all things legal is astonishing. So I’ve written a couple of chapters with the key elements the songwriter needs to know about copyright.”
Musical Conversations demystifies songwriting and explains how songs just arrive as if from nowhere. It does this by examining the creative process and telling the stories of how some well known songs just happened. It also contains some pointers on the art of songwriting and demonstrates how the creativity and the craft are quite separate, thereby bringing simple clarity to the whole process. Written in conversational language it examines the creative process and gives good tips on how to get into the right frame of mind to write a song. There are also two chapters dealing with key elements of copyright. This gives the songwriter information on a need to know basis. Musical Conversations is a book for anyone who has never written a song and would like to understand more about the songwriting process. Equally, for the career writer they will have their innermost thoughts confirmed and this will give them more confidence in their writing. In summary, the Music Industry books concentrate on the craft of songwriting and tricks of the trade and not the how to understand and connect with the creative process. Musical Conversations focuses on the spontaneous nature of songwriting and brings a clear simplicity to the whole process of creating a new song.
Musical Conversations is available on Amazon as an e-book and paperback.