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Archive for December, 2016

An Taoiseach launches Creative Ireland – a major cross-governmental initiative and legacy project of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, will today (Thursday 8th December) be joined by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, for the launch of the Creative Ireland Programme / Clár Éire Ildánach. The announcement will be made in the newly-restored Shaw Room of the National Gallery of Ireland.

Creative Ireland is the Government’s Legacy Programme for Ireland 2016. It is a five-year all-of-government initiative, from 2017 to 2022, which at its core is a wellbeing strategy which aims to improve access to cultural and creative activity in every county across the country.

Creative Ireland will prioritise children’s access to art, music, drama and coding; enhance the provision of culture and creativity in every community; further develop Ireland as a global hub for film and TV production; empower and support our artists; drive investment in our cultural institutions; and further enhance our global reputation abroad. From 2018, an annual County of Culture will also be held each year.

Creative Ireland is built around five pillars:
• Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child
• Enabling Creativity in Every Community
• Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure
• Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production
• Unifying our Global Reputation

Key initiatives to be delivered in 2017 include:

• The publication of a five year ‘Creative Children’ plan which will enable every child to access tuition in music, drama, art and coding
• Each Local Authority will appoint a Culture Team to drive local needs and will publish a Culture Plan for their own county
• A new annual cultural day, ‘Cruinniú na Cásca’ to be held nationwide on Easter Monday each year, replicating the very successful Reflecting the Rising event, which was held in Dublin this year
• The Departments of Arts and Social Protection will devise a mechanism to assist self-employed artists who have applied for Jobseekers Allowance. This would be a pilot scheme.
• A planned investment programme for Ireland’s cultural and heritage infrastructure, including our national cultural institutions
• An industry wide, long term plan to develop Ireland as a global hub for film, TV drama and animation

Creative Ireland will bring an enhanced level of coordination, focus and leadership to existing policies and initiatives across national and local government, State agencies, the arts and culture sector, Gaeltacht and Irish language organisations, and will provide linkages to the private business and NGO sectors.

Speaking at today’s event, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, said: “Creative Ireland is about placing culture at the centre of our lives, for the betterment of our people and for the strengthening of our society. Together we can do extraordinary things: we can make Ireland the first country in the world to guarantee access for every child to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding. We can make every local authority a dynamic hub of cultural creativity. We can unlock the huge potential of our people in the creative industries. And we can make an important statement to ourselves and to the world about the interdependency of culture, identity and citizenship.

Minster for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Heather Humphreys TD
., said: “Creative Ireland, as an Ireland 2016 legacy project, is inspired by the extraordinary public response to the Centenary Programme. This year thousands of cultural events were held around the country, bringing people together in shared reflections on identity, culture and citizenship that combined history, arts, heritage and language. We now want to build on the success of the commemorations and plan ambitiously for our arts and culture sectors for the years ahead. Creative Ireland will ensure that children can participate in the arts from an early age, and it will drive cultural engagement in every county nationwide. We want to make Ireland a global hub for film and TV production, while also investing in our cultural institutions. Creative Ireland puts culture and creativity at the centre of public policy, which will benefit artists and citizens nationwide This is a very ambitious public policy initiative; possibly the most significant for the arts and cultural sectors in a generation.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe TD
, said: “When we talk about capital investment we must think beyond buildings. We must think, primarily, about investment in human capital and human creativity. The Government recognises that high quality infrastructure is critical for a vibrant arts and culture sector and that such investment underpins social cohesion and supports strong and sustainable economic growth. I look forward to seeing imaginative, ambitious capital development plans for all of our cultural institutions that contain a clear focus on the element of creative human capital, and the good that our cultural institutions can do, beyond the confines of their physical buildings.”

Full details of the Creative Ireland Programme / Clár Éire Ildánach are available at
Creative Ireland is also the main implementation vehicle for the priorities identified in Culture 2025/Éire Ildánach, the draft cultural framework policy published by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in July 2016.

Pillar 1: Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child
Creativity begins in early years’ education. Children flourish through creative activities such as imagining and creating roles, scripts and ideas, sharing stories and symbols of their culture, and using the creative arts to express ideas and make meaning.

A key objective of Pillar 1 is that every child in Ireland will have access to tuition and participation in art, music, drama and coding. Initiatives such as the Charter for Arts in Education will be fast-tracked and resourced. The Department of Education and Skills will be a key partner in implementing this pillar.

Pillar 2: Enabling Culture and Creativity in Every Community
Each local authority will be asked to develop a Culture and Creativity Plan, reflecting the overall structure and aims of the national strategy for culture and creativity. Each local authority will establish a Culture Team bringing together arts offices, libraries, heritage offices and archives, along with other relevant functions – thus maximising synergies and cooperation.

‘Cruinniú na Cásca’, an annual programme of arts activities and cultural reflection to be held on Easter Monday, will be developed – across the island, locally, with our Diaspora, curated by the national broadcaster and delivered primarily by the local authorities. Beginning in 2018, there will also be an annual County of Culture award. The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government will be a key partner in this pillar.

Pillar 3: Investing in our Cultural Infrastructure
High quality infrastructure is critical for a vibrant arts and culture sector and that investment in cultural infrastructure underpins social cohesion and supports strong and sustainable economic growth. Significant investment programmes are already underway or planned for the National Gallery, National Library, National Archives and National Concert Hall. A 3 year €9m capital investment scheme in regional and local arts and cultural centres is also underway. One of the significant legacies of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme has been the 9 “Permanent Reminder” capital projects.

The Department of Arts will work with cultural institutions and other key stakeholders to prepare investment plans to address infrastructure needs and develop an overall capital strategy for the cultural and heritage sector, to include digitisation projects and the building of national cultural collections. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be a key partner in this pillar.

Pillar 4: Ireland: A Centre of Excellence in Media Production

The overarching, long-term objective of this pillar is to elevate the creative industries (including media, architecture, design, digital technology, fashion, food and crafts) drawing together, on an all-of-government basis, State agencies, industry partners and those engaged in fostering innovation in enterprise. As an initial project, the key focus will be on Ireland’s potential to be a global leader in film production, TV drama, documentary, children’s storytelling, and animation for the screen.

Creative Ireland will develop a platform for a major initiative in this sector involving the Irish Film Board, RTÉ, the independent production sector, third level institutions, and other stakeholders to position and enable Ireland to be a leading international centre for media production.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will be key partners in this pillar.

Pillar 5: Unifying our Global Reputation
This pillar will seek to better align the work of the many bodies and agencies that project Ireland globally in pursuance of their individual mandates. Creative Ireland will develop shared strategic goals to maximise the impact and visibility of collective efforts and will create a communications programme based on an authentic representation of Irish culture and creativity, representing Ireland as a great place in which to live, in which to invest, to visit and in which to study. will be a national website for Ireland, a multi-sectoral gateway to Ireland with a supporting digital and social media programme. This initiative will be particularly important in projecting Ireland in the context of Brexit.

This Pillar will involve many Government Departments and Agencies, including the Culture Ireland Division of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who operate at an international level.

The National Gallery of Ireland

The Gallery’s major refurbishment project is one of the country’s major capital cultural projects, co-funded between the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the Office of Public Works.

The project is very close to completion. As soon as the buildings are handed back to the Gallery, there will be approximately another six months of complex tasks to be carried out by the Gallery, including re-hanging the collection, before it reopens to the public in 2017.

Keith Harkin hits #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart with new Christmas Album ‘Nollaig’

Blue Èlan’s own Irish troubadour, LA based Keith Harkin lands his second Billboard #1 World Music Chart debut with Nollaig, his holiday release. Nollaig, meaning Christmas in Gaelic, a festive set released November 11th on various platforms including iTunes, Amazon, etc, includes an eclectic assortment of memorable tunes set against a backdrop of pristine vocals and beautiful musical arrangements. Harkin’s informed selections feature a tender version of Joni Mitchell’s The River, alongside classics such as In The Bleak Mid Winter—Largo From Dvořák Symphony NO 9, the seasonal Irish tune, Arthur McBride and originals including Driving Home for Christmas.

Timed with Nollaig’s launch, Harkin returned to the road for a special Christmas House Concert Series. The sold-out shows hit top markets including Tampa, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Upcoming December cities include Denver, LA, among others. Demand for Keith’s performances drove additional shows in several markets. Additional tour information can be found on

Keith Harkin’s Nollaig release follows fan favorite and critically acclaimed Blue Èlan debut On Mercy Street. Harkin toured extensively this summer in support of the release as part of his 2016 Ball & Chain Tour, and was featured in high profile media outlets including Access Hollywood, Fox Good Day New York, The Art of The Song, The Mulberry Lane Show, NPR’s Irish Aires, among others.

The Northern Ireland-born, LA transplant, who, with his former band Celtic Thunder, headlined sold-out tours throughout the world, selling millions of albums and appearing on multiple PBS specials and major national TV shows, continues to please crowds.. Hailed by BBC Radio/Ulster as the “Irish Jack Johnson,” Harkin revealed, “The thing I know how to do best is sing and entertain…it’s what I love most,” he commented recently.

Dublin Bowie Festival | 5 – 10 January 2017

Bowie guitarist/musical director Gerry Leonard to play Dublin Bowie Festival 2017…

Long time Bowie cohort Gerry Leonard is joining the Festival the day after he plays the Celebrating Bowie Concert in London’s O2 Arena for a special performance in Whelans. Gerry worked extensively with Bowie featuring on the Heathen, Reality and The Next Day albums. He toured with Bowie on the Heathen and Reality tours, and was musical director for the Reality tour and DVD. He has the only original writing credits other than Bowie on The Next Day, for the songs “Boss of Me” and “I’ll Take You There”.

Gerry will be performing Bowie material with some special guests as well as his own Spooky Ghost solo output and the event will also feature a Q&A session chaired by Professor Eoin Devereaux whos book ‘David Bowie: Critical Perspectives’ will be launched in The Winding Stair Bookshop earlier that day.

Dublin Bowie Festival presents…
Gerry Leonard/Spooky Ghost/Q&A
Monday 9th January
Doors: 8pm.
Adm: €15 (online:

Circuits of Heaven – ‘Just Came Down From The Mountain’ EP is released 16th December via Inner Chapter Records

Circuits of Heaven is the indie solo project of writer-producer Kevin J. Power. ‘Just Came Down From The Mountain’ is a short yet expansive EP blending alt-rock and indie-electro. Conceived and executed in the Irish countryside, the songs deal with the tension between wilderness and civilisation, and the revelations that occur when stepping out of society.

Circuits of Heaven will be touring in support of the EP throughout 2017 while preparing a full-length debut.

For more info visit:

Ports Play Christmas Show At The Limelight 2 On December 18th

Derry four piece, PORTS are pleased to announce a Christmas show at The Limelight 2, Belfast on Sunday 18th December 2016. The band recently released their new single ‘The Few and Far Between’ and announced that the track has been chosen as soundtrack for the NI Tourism Discover Northern Ireland campaign for 2016/2017.

Tickets on sale NOW from Limelight Belfast, Katy’s Bar and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Northern Ireland customers can phone 0844 277 44 55 & Republic of Ireland customers 0818 719 300.

PORTS are a four piece band from Northern Ireland. They consist of Steven McCool (Bass and Vocals), Mark O’Doherty (Drums), Ryan Griffiths (Guitar) and Conor Mason (Piano). 2016 saw the release of their debut album “The Devil is a Songbird” which has been shortlisted for the Northern Ireland Music Prize. Having performed in Ireland, UK and Canada PORTS have gone from strength to strength after the release. Gameplay, the first single released from the album, made an impact after being used for MTV Teen Drama “Awkward”. That momentum has continued to grow with naming the band as one of the “Faces of 2016”.

The summer also saw them establish themselves as a main stage festival band at Festivals such as Stendhal, Moira Calling and Open House Festival
At Music City festival in May 2016 they opened the festival as support for the Mercury Prize Shortlisted band “The Villagers”

‘The Few and Far Between’ has continued that trend by being chosen for the NI Tourism Discover Northern Ireland campaign for 2016/2017.

You can follow Ports on Facebook and Twitter

David Hope Announces His New Single ”Christmas Day”

The man from Clare is back with new music and just in time for Christmas. ‘Christmas Day’ is the first single from Hope’s forthcoming third studio album ‘Tough Love’, which is due for release in March 2017. The track was recorded and produced by Christian Best (Mick Flannery / Marc O’Reilly / Jack O’Rourke) at the renowned Monique Studios in Co. Cork.

The song is a modern twist on the classic Christmas story of the nativity, mixed with the eternal struggle of travelling home to be with family and loved ones. Hope has left down his trusty acoustic guitar in favour of a more electric, robust pop orientated sound.

‘Christmas Day’ was chosen as the RTE Radio One song selected for the European Broadcasting Union Christmas Music Project and will feature on a playlist across all member states. The single will also feature on RTE Radio One’s Christmas Playlist 2016 and a number of stations in Germany and Austria.

A new music video was shot on location in Hope’s native County Clare, produced by award winning Limerick based cinematographer, Steve Hall.

David Hope, the Irish folk troubadour with the infamous Celtic growl hails from County Clare in the West of Ireland. Over the past 13 years, Hope has performed and toured extensively in both his native Ireland and mainland Europe, averaging in excess of 200 shows per year. During this time, Hope has built a reputation as one of the very best live performers on the touring circuit today.

The new single ‘Christmas Day’ available on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify now.

You can follow David on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

IMRO Job Vacancy | Marketing & Membership Assistant | Fixed Term Contract

Application: Please send a CV and covering letter to ei.ormi@nosnhoj.htiek
Salary: On Request
Deadline for applications is midday Monday 12 December 2016

Job Description

Marketing & Membership Assistant | Fixed Term Contract 

1. Purpose of Job
To contribute to the provision of an efficient membership service by administering various systems relating to members’ profiles as well as liaising with members both proactively and reactively in order to build and maintain strong relations between IMRO and its members. To raise awareness of IMRO in the marketplace and promote effective communication methods with our customers and potential customers.

2. Organisation Chart


3. Job Context and Content
There is one job holder who is assigned to the Marketing & Membership Department.

4. Principal Accountabilities
• Guiding members through any documents or procedures they need to complete in relation to their membership and ensuring that members understand what they need to do to benefit fully from their IMRO membership.

• Entering data in relation to members and maintaining information to ensure accuracy of IMRO distributions e.g. member info, bank details, etc.

• Dealing with general queries from IMRO members and passing information on to the Team Leader of the relevant distribution team to ensure that mistakes are rectified and solutions are put in place to avoid repetition of the error.

• Contacting members in a proactive manner to ensure that their international live / broadcast performances are tracked accurately and to work closely with the International Department to increase overseas income.

• Contacting members in a proactive manner to inform them of any IMRO events which may be of interest to them and acknowledging any achievements made by the member.

• Organising and speaking at events such as songwriting workshops, seminars and showcases to create a higher awareness of IMRO.

• Maintaining IMRO websites including, its various social media sites, the Music Matters website and ensuring content is monitored and updated regularly.

• Involvement with IMRO’s sponsorship and advertising activities in relation to music events such as festivals, awards, etc.

• Administering IMRO advertising assets, both print and online, and ensuring that the content of the advertisements is kept up to date.

• Continuous monitoring of members and licensees through surveys to gain feedback on our relations with these groups.

• Raising the profile of IMRO with customers and potential customers through events and campaigns directed at IMRO customers and through attendance at industry trade fairs.

• Undertaking such other duties as may be assigned by management from time to time

5. Principal Working Contacts
• Marketing & Membership Director
On a daily basis re personal and department targets

• Distribution Team Leaders & Officers
On a regular basis in relation to royalty queries and general issues regarding members.

• Affiliate Societies
On a regular basis in relation to writer member transfers to or from affiliate societies.

• IMRO Members
On a daily basis re member queries. Also proactively seeking work registrations, set lists or other information from members required to complete a distribution.

• Major User Groups
Eg. LVA, VFI, Irish Hotel Federation as required in relation to advertising campaigns.

• Music Bodies
Eg. First Music Contact, Contemporary Music Centre, Filmbase, the Arts Council, The Association of Irish Composers, IASCA, etc. in relation to organising events or schemes relevant to the particular body.

• Press Contacts
As required in relation to sponsorship, advertising and promotion of IMRO.

• IMRO Customers
From time to time at events organised to acknowledge our customers.

6. Challenges Faced
To ensure that any queries raised by members are rectified and responded to as quickly as possible.

To generate an enhanced level of satisfaction within our membership with regard to service levels provided and the value of royalty payments made.

7. Planning and Organising
The overall planning is decided by the Marketing & Membership Director. However, the holder is expected to be self-motivated and show a high degree of initiative.

8. Direction Received
Job holder works within the guidelines set out in the current Marketing & PR Plan. Difficult issues are referred to the Director of Marketing & Membership

9. Knowledge and Experience
Job holders should have strong organisational abilities and possess keen attention to detail.

The holder is also required to have excellent communication skills.

Familiarity with all elements of Microsoft Office is required and some web design and digital marketing experience is desirable.

Holders should be able to work as a team as well as working on their own initiative.

A firm knowledge of music and issues relating to the music industry, both domestic and international is essential.

10. Review of Job Description
This job description relates to the position as it exists in December 2016. It will be reviewed at the end of each year at the annual appraisal and quarterly appraisals will also be carried out.

IMRO at Other Voices 2016/Day Three

The end of the final day of Other Voices is always one of reflection and consideration: how did the weekend go? Was it any good, did you see and hear new things, or was it too familiar for you? What were the good points, the bad points, the in-between points, the need-to-fix-it points, the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it points?

Whatever you feel about the aforementioned queries, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that once again Other Voices pulled the rabbits out of the hat. There were two most obvious reasons why. The first was the virtually all-Irish line-up in St. James Church. Not since the early years of the annual music festival has Other Voices so steered its course towards home. There are likely reasons for this, and we’re guessing it’s because of the event’s recent visit to Austin, Texas, where they staged an OV shindig that focused on US artists. A strategy evolved out of that meeting of musicians, and so instead of having – as per usual – an international line-up at the church interspersed with Irish acts, the opposite happened. No doubt we will see the two worlds combine in 2017, when the televised results of the two events on each side of the Atlantic will be broadcast. The second most obvious reason was the emergence of the Music Trail as a standalone reason to visit Dingle.

Now in its fourth year, the Music Trail started off as an adjunct to the church performances – a small series of gigs benefitting those people that couldn’t get into St James for love or money. And yet within a very short space of time, the Music Trail took on a life of its own – first doubling and then trebling the band count. This year, over 70 music acts performed all across Dingle (and even beyond, due to the inaugural Music Trail West, which took bus loads of music fans out beyond the town’s boundaries to venues in the likes of Ventry, Ballyferriter, and the Blasket Islands Centre), and there was hardly one pub or bar that wasn’t utilised in some way to provide a stage or a pulpit. This year, also, the gigs along the Music Trail were rammed to the rafters, which indicated one and one thing only: what was once the best kept secret in Ireland is a best kept secret no longer.

What happens next is anyone’s guess, but we can be reasonably sure of one thing, and that is – as far as we’re familiar with the laws of physics – Dingle can’t get any bigger. In other words, any fears we might have of the event – by virtue of its success – biting off more than it can chew is contained by the town’s literal size and infrastructure. There are only so many hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs with only so many rooms. It is important to remember that unlike, say, Sea Sessions in Bundoran in June, no one in their right mind is going to camp on Inch or Ventry beaches in December just because they want to be Other Voices. In other words, the numbers can’t rise too much because the town in the depths of winter can only receive so many visitors.

Of course, this is semi conjecture based on loose theory. The fact remains that Other Voices is still the best small music festival most of us have ever been to. It has aspects to it that we just don’t experience elsewhere: great contemporary restaurants, fantastic authentic pubs, an increasing number of cool coffee places, very welcoming people, a real sense of well known people walking its streets and frequenting its hostelries without fear of being shoehorned into a corner for a selfie – and the best concentrated level of music in the calendar year. Yes, it is a music fans paradise, but it is also a musician’s retreat. On the three nights I had dinner in three different restaurants, you had the likes of Imelda May, Glen Hansard, Rusangano Family, Kojey Radical, Lisa Hannigan, Annie Mac, and All Tvvins happily sitting down eating their meals without worrying about being bothered. That says a lot about the convivial nature of Dingle, and it says even more about the casual overseeing demeanour of Other Voices. Everyone is here to enjoy themselves as themselves, not to get caught up in the often silly intricacies of the fame game.

Any more thoughts? Just this one: thanks to Other Voices’ partners such as IMRO, we are able to enjoy the best small music festival in Ireland, and one of the best of its level in the world. That’s a fact, and I’ll arm wrestle anyone who disagrees with me. Oh, and one more thing – we’re already looking forward to next year’s IMRO Other Room. Prepare to be impressed – again.

Tony Clayton-Lea

IMRO at Other Voices 2016/Day Two

Day Two at Eir Other Voices means a full afternoon at An Chonair Bar, where the IMRO Other Room plays host to six Irish music acts that are way past the Battle Of The Bands stages in their career, and where even the most casual of music lover can determine that what they’re listening to is of a definite quality.

Starting proceedings is Dublin indie/folk singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy, who was the winner of this year’s public vote for inclusion at IMRO Other Room. Reddy has been mooching around the fringes of something bigger than the usual level of acceptance for some time, and judging by her performance here she is clearly on the right path to gaining a wider audience. Songs such as Jackie, Distrust, Enough, and Disconnect highlight a knack for well-constructed tunes that are given weight by lyrics that seem much more personal than usual. Reddy’s stage presence is also firm and assured, and the overall impression is of an up-and-coming talent ready to run away with the prize.

Reddy was followed by Fangclub, and you really couldn’t get two more diverse and polar opposite acts (this is a good thing, by the way – variety being the spice of life, etc). Fangclub? Frankly, there are few enough really good rock bands around. By good, I mean the kind of bands that are well versed in song construction and dynamics. Too many musicians in too many bands make the mistake of hurriedly filling in the spaces between the notes, but not Fangclub. From North County Dublin, this three-piece avoids clutter like the plague. All of their songs might reference bands we have heard before (Foo Fighters and Nirvana spring to mind), but there’s something particularly brilliant and different going on here. Whether it’s the perfectly placed wiry guitar lick (so good it makes you smile each time you hear it) or the strategically situated monster-riff, Fangclub’s songs are terrific.

After a batch of rock music so hard hitting, you’re wondering what comes next. A new band? A new name? Moon Looks On is exactly these. Less than a year ago, they played their first gig as a band, and while for some they may have been unknown quantities, they won’t be for long – simply put, this was a revelatory performance. The easy outline for Moon Looks On is a bit of Van Morrison mixed with a bit of The Waterboys, stir, bring to boil, simmer, and serve. In other words, there’s a swagger to the way they walk, and there’s a structural looseness to the songs that’s always on the right side of looseness. Songs such as Gypsy Fires, Bobbing On A Wave and Come Lay With Me are underpinned by chiming keyboards, wayfaring fiddle runs, and the highly engaging front-of-house vocalist, Stephen Gormley.

Next on the line-up is Cry Monster Cry, a sibling band (Richie and Jamie Martin, take a bow) that know how to engage an audience – “come up closer to the stage, and make room for people in the back,” advised the singer, communicating effortlessly in a way that makes you think he was born to be a performer. Cry Monster Cry’s songs are the epitome of really good and likeable pop/folk (of which I’ll Be Here When The Morning Comes is a fine example) that rolls along like a well-oiled truck. What’s more than worthy about a band like this, however, is that there isn’t a pretentious bone to be found (believe me, I looked). We need bands like Cry Monster Cry, frankly, because they focus on the here and now, and of what matters, in a way that’s readily understandable. And besides, what’s not to like about a band that covers a Beach Boys song in December?

What’s also not to like about a band that has taken its name from a Pink Floyd song (in this case Echoes, from PF’s 1971 album, Meddle – although the lyric itself is associated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner). One of the few bands around that add something to the intricate matrix that is post-rock, Overhead, The Albatross play to a totally stuffed IMRO Other Room. The extent of their popularity is such that the demographic is much broader than you might think, and so we have music fans of all ages shaking a limb to the band’s amazing fusion of multi-layered music that interlaces developing streams of electronics, fluid guitar and a skintight rhythm section. The result is widescreen, soaring melodies that make your head float. Truly remarkable.

Bringing it down a notch, and also bringing the six music act afternoon to close was Roisin O, a singer and songwriter that, possibly, has the highest profile of today’s batch. Sometimes, it’s better to take the softly-softly approach rather than by the get-’em-quickly method. A case in point is Roisin, who has balanced ambition with patience in a way that others should take notice of. That she has also more than successfully shrugged off her family connection (unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, you’ll know that her mother is acclaimed singer Mary Black, and her brother is Danny O’Reilly, of the equally praised Irish rock band, The Coronas) is more than admirable. The music, then, is as you would expect: really well formed pop/rock delivered with a sure touch and with suitably professional composure.

Tony Clayton-Lea

IMRO at Other Voices 2016/Day One

Another year, another Other Voices event, and what do we have? You would have thought – reasonably, fairly – by now that there were no more surprises in the Other Voices bag; that in the event’s 15th year (or is it 16th – time passes so quickly), there wasn’t much more to do except trade on former glories, trade on its name, depend on old reliables to turn up, deliver the goods and then get the hell out of Dodge (or Dingle) before anyone copped on that they’d just witnessed the same-old/same-old. Yet as we have seen, year after year, surprises keep being delivered.

The first interesting shock of this year is the line-up of the acts performing at St James Church – In many ways, this year’s Other Voices directly references its early Irish roots with a predominantly native line-up. The amount of Irish acts in the church is revealing – it highlights just how genuinely vibrant the Irish music scene is. The acts include Lisa Hannigan, All Tvvins, Imelda May, Rusangano Family, Le Galaxie, Saint Sister, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh & Cormac Begley, Girl Band, Rejjie Snow, and Pixie Geldof (she’s definitely one of ours, so no arguing!). The only non-Irish acts of the weekend performing were on Friday – California’s Margaret Glaspy and London’s Kojey Radical, more about which later.

I was at the church last night (the only time I go to church is when I’m in Dingle), and watched in awe and admiration the blend of cultures, music and mindsets. The evening got off to a brilliant native start with Caoimhin O Raghallaigh and Cormac Begley, two young Irish musicians that are making sure to ruffle feathers with traditional music that is rooted in the source but which is invested with the kind of current why-the-feck-not attitude of young bucks. That they are able to plough two furrows at the same time isn’t necessarily alarming, but it is pretty damned brilliant. Trad music for people who think they don’t like trad music? Bring it on.

And then arrived the enthusiastic and effusive Californian singer-songwriter, Margaret Glaspy, who delivered a really smart set of alt.pop at the church, with all manner of good pop vibes filtered throughout the short gig. Glaspy – looking uber smart in a shiny jacket that sparkled under the spotlights – performed superb songs from her recently released album, Emotions And Math, concluded her set with a Lauren Hill song (Ex Factor) that was both subtle and spectacular. Not much of that about these days, is there?

The second half of the church gigs featured two musicians that came from different ends of the spectrum but which produced thought provoking and terrific displays of talent. London hip-hop/spoken word performer Kojey Radical delivered righteous and thoughtful hip-hop with precision and passion, all of it underpinned with an astute and intuitive sense of jazz-driven melody that referenced Bruce Hornsby as much as Steely Dan.

Pixie Geldof, on the other hand, performed several songs that simmered under the church lights. Unlike her famous Irish father, she wasn’t very talkative, but her seductive and subtle songs made up for the lack of between-song banter.

Of course, before and after the church gigs there are the many gigs in many of the town’s pubs and bars. You can see that this year in particular the Music Trail has come into its own, and is now such an integral part of Other Voices that if it were, for some unexplainable reason, to disappear off the face of the Earth, then Other Voices simply wouldn’t be the same. It kicked off on Friday at 5pm with the soulful Farah Elle (at Nellie Fred’s) and concluded with a surprise appearance at An Chonair Bar at 1am with The Rusangano Family. One word: Jaysus!

Today (Saturday) is when IMRO gets involved. IMRO has been a supporter of Other Voices for many years, and IMRO’s Other Room once again allows Irish acts to shine brightly. In tomorrow’s blog post, I’ll be reviewing all of the IMRO Other Rom acts (Aibhle Reddy, Cry Monster Cry, Fangclub, Overhead, The Albatross, Moon Looks On, and Roisin O) performing at An Chonair Bar.

Until then, take it easy, drink wisely, and dance responsibly!

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