From his vantage point in Northern Italy, and by applying this outsider’s view of Irish Songwriting and how it is nurtured and perceived in Ireland, Dublin Songwriter, Ray Heffernan has created a podcast to examine the craft. By speaking with 48 other writers from all across the Island and further afield, from the absolute beginner to the internationally acclaimed, this 7-part podcast seeks to understand and reveal the history, motive, approach and inspiration as to why and how one becomes, and lives the life of, an Irish Songwriter.
To do this, Ray compiled a 49 question process that invites the writer to ask him or herself more difficult questions than those often answered in standard, press release based interviews. With the responses to these questions, and a selection of original songs by the particpant writers, he weaves together their different threads of thought to create an aural tapestry of today’s Irish Songwriting in a new and innovative podcast format.
This episode includes the input of such household names as Declan O’Rourke and Mick Flannery, alongside those of relative unknowns such as 21 year old Aoife Carton, cousin of Mic Christopher, who has just released her first e.p., through that of Jess Kav, the vocalist and frontperson of prominent Dublin band, Barq. All of these voices blend into one to narrate the story of songwriting in modern Ireland.
There are still a few places available and Hot Press are offering IMRO members a special discounted registration rate.
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.
Key subjects covered in the course include Music Online, Record Companies, Music Marketing, Publicity, Image Development, Music Publishing, Working with the Media, Management, Finance, Touring and Distribution.
MIX ’18 will run in Dublin City Centre every Tuesday at 7.30pm from February.
You’ll also get a FREE Hot Press subscription for the duration of the course. Simply quote the Promo Code ‘IMROMIX2018′ 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: Mark Hogan 01 24 11 509 of
On June 2 2018, legendary Cork band Microdisney reconvene after some 30 years for a one-off exclusive performance their seminal album, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs and more. For The Record sees NCH celebrate and explore the context of the key recordings in Irish music. A dark journey through 80’s emigrant London, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs has regularly been termed the greatest Irish record ever…
Described by John Peel as “the iron fist in a velvet glove”, Microdisney is defined by Cathal Coughlan’s intelligent articulate lyricism, with his and Sean O’Hagan’s sweet well-arranged pop melodies marking them as a band of fierce intelligence. Released on Rough Trade records in 1985 and reaching No 1 in the UK Indie Charts, The Clock Comes Down The Stairs is born of an insecure and troubled Irish emigrant experience of London in the 80s. Dark, acerbic, witty and yet swathed in lush pop, the album is one of the great Irish albums and one of the most critically acclaimed.
Microdisney began recording in their native town of Cork, Ireland. Their first including Pink Skinned Man, were released on indie label Kabuki records. The group moved to London, and signed to Rough Trade releasing their debut album, Everybody is Fantastic. This was followed by The Clock Comes Down The Stairs in 1985. The band then signed to Virgin Records and released the albums Crooked Mile and 39 Minutes. Their notable singles include the radio hit, Town to Town and Singer’s Hampstead Home. Following the break-up of Microdisney, Sean O’Hagan went on to work with Stereolab and form his own much-loved band, The High Llamas. Cathal Coughlan went on to form The Fatima Mansions and is a solo artist.
Microdisney perform The Clock Comes Down The Stairs:
Cathal Coughlan, vocals
Sean O’Hagan, guitar
Jon Fell, bass
Tom Fenner, drums
This event is now sold out
Room: Main Stage NCH
Prices: €38, €34, €29.50
“The Greatest Irish Album Ever? But the fact is, if my house was on fire, I would rescue Microdisney. I love it. I love Cathal Coughlan’s voice and Seán O’Hagan’s Beach Boys-infused melodies and brilliant guitar solos. Above all else I love Cathal’s dark, laugh out loud mischevious lyrics about the perils of being an Irish Catholic emigrant in a world gone mad. But while it rails at the absurdities of life, it is still a life-affirming joy.” Tom Dunne, The Sunday Times.
“Coughlan’s intelligence and passion are a rebuke to a vapid music industry, his chronicles of disaffection and disgust an inspiration.” The Guardian
IMRO | NCH Trailblazer Award 2018
Microdisney will be awarded the IMRO | NCH Trailblazer Award 2018 a new music award presented by IMRO and NCH celebrating seminal albums by iconic Irish musicians, songwriters and composers.
For The Record
Irish music has produced a wide and varied album output some of which is widely acclaimed and known yet much seminal work remains to be celebrated in the digital era. For The Record sees the album performed in concert and perhaps equally importantly it explores the artistic, social and political context of the release. For the Record looks at seminal recorded moments anew.
‘Foxglove & Fuschia’, the new album from Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh has just been released.
Every now and then a singer comes along that manages to distill time and make the listener feel at once rooted and in touch with the essence of the song. Former Danú front woman Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is one such singer. An award-winning musician from Corca Dhuibhne in West Kerry, she is a leading exponent of the sean nós style. Her repertoire also includes songs from a wide variety of folk and contemporary sources. Her childhood on the Dingle Peninsula Gaeltacht, saw her immersed in a rich cultural environment and vital living tradition, which was to be hugely influential on the foundation of her distinctive vocal and instrumental sound.“I live in Dingle, so there is music there all the time, the scene is so vibrant. It’s a musical Mecca. You couldn’t throw a stone down there without hitting a musician.”
A popular television presenter, Muireann has hosted a range of programmes for Irish and Scottish TV over the past decade including Gradam Ceoil TG4 and the celebrated traditional music series Portwhich she co-presents with Scottish Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis. Having spent 15 years touring the world, she has decided to return to her roots, raise a family, recharge herself musically, live amongst her people and importantly as a creative artist, shape her sound.
“I want the album to feel like you’resitting in on one of my gigs here at home,where a few of us gather together and share songs and tunes, pretty uncomplicated and natural.”
Surrounding herself with an incredible cast of musicians such as Donogh Hennessy, Dónal O’Connor, Pauline Scanlon, John McSherry, Donnchadh Gough, Jeremy Spencer, Michael Rooney and in the full circle of traditional music, her father Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh, a fiddler with whom she started playing sessions when she was about nine.“In situations like that, you don’t just learn the tunes; you learn about the bigger picture, about life”. The album features songs collected from,and a duet with, the legendary Seamus Begley, some songs with old Irish lyrics that have had new melodies added by song master Gerry O’Beirne, who also plays on the album,and some newly composed songs. ‘Foxglove and Fuschia’ is a snapshot in time of an artist, both present and comfortable in her immediate environment whilst casting her net further afield and embracing new horizons.
“I just want to make a vocal album with some tunes as well, to reflect where I come from, but I want it to be really honest, simple and reflective of what I do.”
“One of the earthiest and most distinctive voices, not just in traditional circles, but anywhere”–The Irish Times
“I think she is singing more beautifully than ever. Mysterious perfection” Dónal Lunny
Multi-platinum international music sensation, Celtic Woman returns with the ultimate Christmas Gift: a collection of their very favourite Christmas songs. ‘The Best of Christmas’ is out now.
The album features 20 holiday classics including the celebrated version of Little Drummer Boy. The album includes performances by many of the former Celtic Women, as well as the angelic voices of the current members Susan McFadden, Mairéad Carlin, Éabha McMahon and the breathtaking new violinist Tara McNeill.
Following its debut on PBS in 2005, the group has achieved massive success encompassing twelve chart-topping albums, eight DVDs and nine public television specials leading to sales of over ten million albums, with platinum success in nine countries. Each of its CDs – including 2016’s Destiny which was also nominated for a Grammy – has debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s World Albums chart. The group has been named Billboard Magazine’s #1 World Albums Artist six times.
As a touring powerhouse, the group has performed for over four million fans across 23 countries and six continents, with an especially devoted following in America. The show is renowned for its high-quality entertainment, exceptional musical performances and stunning visual productions, enthralling audiences of all ages.
Stephanie Rainey has released a video for her brand new single ‘Sorry’.
Speaking about the video, Stephanie Rainey said: “I wrote this song for my best friend and this video is a gift for her“.
Stephanie Rainey continues her headline tour of Ireland this week and sees her play a sold out Whelans (Dublin) on 29th Nov and The Slaughtered Lamb (London) as special guest with Beoga on 30th Nov.
With ‘Sorry’, Stephanie Rainey returns with the heartfelt sound that propelled her into the spotlight with her self release ‘Please Don’t Go’ which has now accumulated some 10 million streams across platforms.
‘Sorry’ is the follow up to singles ‘100 Like Me’ which reached top 20 in Ireland’s airplay chart and ‘Nothing of You Left to Love’ which saw Stephanie Rainey rack up over a million Spotify streams in Ireland on their release.
Speaking about the track, Stephanie Rainey said: “When I wrote Sorry it reminded me of ‘Lean on Me’ by Bill withers. It has the same message and a little bit of the same vibe.
We were lucky enough to record this with some of the incredible singers from the London Gospel Choir. It was an absolute honour and definitely a stand-out moment for me from the past few years. Sometimes when you’re recording something, there’s just a vibe in the room, a real energy that everyone is part of and this was one of those tracks. It’s got heart and I’m really proud of it.
I’ve been excited about people hearing this song. There’s no nervous energy attached to it because it just feels very honest and raw. It’s taking me back to how this all began with Please Don’t Go and that feels good. We’ve had an amazing year with the last 2 singles connecting and I hope people get the feeling from this track that was intended,
My favourite line from the song is…
‘I’ve known you since our freckles faded,
So I know what you’re going through’
I always say to people, when you hear this song, think of someone. It could be your best friend, your partner, your Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, whoever. Keep them in mind. Or else think of yourself, and hear it as a sort of letter to yourself. It makes it feel very different”.
‘Sorry’ is available for download across all digital platforms now
Upcoming Live Dates:
Wednesday 29 November – Whelans, Dublin (SOLD OUT)
Thursday 30 November – The Slaughtered Lamb (London) special guest with Beoga
Thursday 14 December – Mike The Pies, Kerry
Nathan Carter, Ireland’s number one entertainer, releases his new single ‘Christmas To Me,’ as a download on iTunes from Friday 24th November. ‘Christmas To Me’ is set to be the sound of the season for music lovers across the country this year.
While fans don’t have long to wait until the happiest season of all begins, this is a recording the Liverpool born singer has been looking forward to working on all year, Nathan said. “Christmas is definitely my favourite time. I first heard this song earlier in the year. As soon as I listened to it, I couldn’t wait to get in to the studio and start working on my own version. I’m delighted with how the single has turned out and we’ve had great fun putting it together – recording a video in the very snowy Swiss Alps was a band trip to remember! “Like most people, Christmas is all about family for me. I was really taken with how well this song captures the magic of the season and how precious time with those we love is at this time of year. I think it’s something everyone listening will relate to as well.”
The popularity of the star shows no sign of slowing down. Following a sell-out arena tour earlier in the year, his new live CD and DVD is already top of Christmas wish-lists across the world. With his own primetime show ‘Nathan Carter Live’ currently airing RTÉ 1 TV, as well as a nationwide Christmas concert tour, it’s set to be a busy December for Nathan and the band.
As he looks back on an incredible year, Nathan wouldn’t have it any other way saying. “The Arena Tour early in 2017 was one of the highlights of my career and I’m so glad we took the opportunity to record the 3 Arena show. Our live DVD and CD captures the sights, sounds and atmosphere of that incredible night, so even if you missed the show, you can relive it in your own living room.
“I’ve also been honoured to front my own show on RTÉ this year and it’s a challenge I’ve enjoyed immensely. With guest artists including Mel C, Shane Filan and Una Healy, I admit I’ve been star-struck myself more than once! We also recorded a one-off Christmas special which I hope will get everyone singing and dancing along at home.”
With so much going on though, how does Nathan plan to spend the festive season? “This year, my whole family are coming to spend Christmas with me in Fermanagh – and I’m cooking! We’re looking forward to plenty of sing-songs, some good films on the TV and a few of the usual squabbles over board-games – so no different from every other home really! We’ll be packing in the miles on our concert tour before then, so I’m looking forward to it already!”
Brian happily admits that in the past he’s had a love/hate relationship with the festive period with all of its pressures. But, as the years have gone by he says it was the soundtrack of Christmas music that eventually seduced him. So much so that Brian has carefully put together his first ever collection of his beloved seasonal songs on his album ‘Christmassy’, It will be released worldwide on Friday 24th November 2017 on his own label BK records and it was recorded in Dublin during late 2017 with longtime producer Billy Farrell.
‘Christmassy’ includes Brian’s unique versions of classic Christmas songs like “Silent Night/ Oiche Chuin” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “In the Bleak Midwinter”. He has also put his original stamp on more recent festive favourites like the haunting “River” by Joni Mitchell and a tribute to the late George Michael with “Last Christmas”. He also revisits an old friendship in Kirsty MacColl with “Fairytale of New York”, and he couldn’t resist Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody”. There’s even an original song written with Brendan Murphy [ The 4 of us] called “Christmas Morning”. Brian will perform songs from ‘Christmassy’ at a special concert in St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, Dublin on December 11th, tickets on sale now from tickets.ie
The Tommy Halferty Trio launch their new album ‘Station Midi’ on Wednesday 29th November with a a gig in Arthur’s Blues n’ Jazz Club, Thomas Street, Dublin. Tickets for the show are €10 with doors at 8.30pm.
The highly anticipated album release by LRP Records, feature’s exciting new original compositions by Guitarist/Composer Tommy Halferty & features the experienced rhythm section of Dave Redmond – Double & Electric-Bass & Kevin Brady.
Their original blend of improvised music, swing, rock & blues has been critically acclaimed internationally.
Halferty is one of the leading exponent’s of Jazz Guitar Improvisation & tuition from this country for many years, having performed for over 35 years with many of the World’s stalwarts of the improvisational music scene.
A night of music not to be missed & to be celebrated! Album available for purchase on the night.
Featuring 24 songs across two discs from the last 3 years, ‘On The Road’ is the collection of songs that Christy has made his own through more than 50 incredible years of live touring.
Recorded in venues from London to Westport, and from Glasgow to Galway, the album features new song, Lingo politico, as well as many perennial live favourites.
This is the first time all of Christy’s biggest songs have been available on one album.
“I have been fortunate to gain many new listeners over recent decades. Many enquire about a collection of the most popular songs. With that in mind, I have taped all gigs over the past three years. From these recordings I have chosen 24 tracks from 17 different venues around Ireland and the U.K. It’s been a fulfilling project, comparing different versions, hearing old songs with new arrangements and different musicians. It’s a great buzz for me…. to have such great listeners, to be still out here ‘On The Road'”.
Christy plays Vicar Street on the following Dates: 11/12/19/20 December 2017 & 2/3/10/11 January 2018