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Archive for September, 2019

Tiz McNamara Shares ‘Days Like These’

Tiz McNamara is an Irish singer songwriter and drummer who has racked up over 7 Million streams on Spotify with his independent releases. Before his first birthday, Tiz lost his father and two brothers in tragic accidents which have shaped his debut EP, dedicated to his father and brothers, who’s anniversary falls on the release date.

Ahead of his forthcoming EP, ‘April Fool’, coming 2020, Tiz has released the first single, giving insight into this deeply personal collection of songs.

Speaking about this meaningful EP, Tiz says: “Before my first birthday, I lost my father and 2 brothers. My eldest brother and father died in a tragic boating accident, and my other brother David died of Cot death when he was just a couple of months old. I have always found this extremely traumatic, and for me, music was always my release and way of getting these feelings and emotions out.

Every year on April 1st (their anniversary), I release a new single in memory of them to make a difficult time of year into a more productive one. The latest offering comes in the form of a five track EP entitled ‘April Fool’, which I’ll release in 2020.

These songs are extremely personal and close to the bone, but for me that has always been what making music was all about. It’s about telling stories and hopefully giving comfort to others.

The EP was recorded in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and produced by Dan Ledwell. Tiz and Dan spent just over a week together in a cabin studio on lake Echo making the record.

McNamara’s songs have featured on UK TV shows Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, as well as gaining support from some of the industry’s heavy weights including BBC Radio 2, Amazing Radio and NME. Tiz has toured with BRITS ‘Critics Choice Winner’ James Bay. The Irishman was delighted to be asked to sing alongside one of his musical heroes Sir Paul McCartney, as well as Robbie Williams, and Shane McGowan under the name ‘The Justice Collective’.

2019 is set to be the biggest and most exciting year yet for Tiz McNamara with the release of ‘Days Like These’ out now, which will be followed by 3 more singles, culminating in the release of his debut EP on April 1st 2020.


Inhaler Unveil ‘Ice Cream Sundae Video’

Inhaler, Dublin quartet’s first release via Polydor, release the video to their new single ‘Ice Cream Sundae’. A shimmering indie-rock anthem, a sense of melancholia lurks beneath its gleaming exterior. “It’s about loss and gain,” says singer Elijah Hewson. “I like writing about normal teenage experiences that everybody can relate to. I’m just trying to write about the joy of being alive, being a teenager, and the bad things that can come with that.”

Produced by Antony Genn, ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ is the band’s third single, following on from the atmospheric pop of ‘My Honest Face’ and the expansive epic ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’. Hewson (vocals, guitar), Josh Jenkinson (guitar), Robert Keating (bass) and Ryan McMahon (drums) formed in school in Dublin and quickly set about writing tracks that pulled their influences – ranging from The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Interpol, The Cure and more – together and twisted them into a sound of their own.

Their songs have connected with a rapidly expanding diehard fanbase. Only a handful of tickets remain to shows on their upcoming tour around the UK, Ireland and Europe and ‘My Honest Face’ has been streamed over one million times on both Apple Music and Spotify. Their progress has been rapid; it’s just over a year ago that the band turned up to play at Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival in Hewson’s car with no crew and found a rammed tent waiting for them to perform. “That was the moment where we were like, ‘We can do this’,” says Jenkinson. ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ signals the arrival of a huge talent. “I want to ride this thing until the wheels come off,” says Hewson. Inhaler are on the verge of blowing up big.


Rotown, Rotterdam, NL (12) (SOLD OUT)
Appelpop, Teil, NL (13)
Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL (15) (SOLD OUT)
Auster Club, Berlin, DE (17) (SOLD OUT)
Reeperbahn Festival, Hamburg, DE (18)
MTC, Cologne, DE (20) (SOLD OUT)
Orangerie, Brussels, BE (22) (SOLD OUT)
Cyprus Avenue, Cork, IE (25)
Roisin Dubh, Galway, IE (26)
Whelan’s, Dublin, IE (27) (SOLD OUT)

Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (1)
Rough Trade, Nottingham (2)
The Cookie, Leicester (4)
Heartbreakers, Southampton (6)
Komedia, Brighton (7)
Waterfront, Norwich (8)
Camden Assembly, London (9)
Castle & Falcon, Birmingham (11)
Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester (12)
Exchange, Bristol (13)
Le Point Ephemere, Paris (16)
Arts, Liverpool (25)
Plug, Sheffield (26)
Cluny, Newcastle (27)

Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC, US (5) w/ Blossoms
Elsewhere, Brooklyn, US (7) w/ Blossoms
Mod Club, Toronto, CA (9) w/ Blossoms
Subterranean, Chicago, US (10) w/ Blossoms
The Independent, San Francisco, US (13) w/ Blossoms
The Roxy, LA, US (14) w/ Blossoms
Corona Capital Festival, Mexico City, MX (16)

Gorilla, Manchester (9)
Garage, London (10)
Button Factor, Dublin (18)
Button Factory, Dublin (19)

Photo Credit: Anais Gallagher

Mount Alaska Announce Details of New Record

Mount Alaska are delighted to announce details of their new record, ‘Wave Atlas: Season One’, released through 251 Records on Friday, November 15th, 2019.

Their new single ‘Back To The Land, My Love’, is out now on 251 Records, a partner label of Faction Records and home to Martin Hayes Quartet, The Redneck Manifesto, and Martin Hayes & Brooklyn Rider.

The album was written, recorded and produced by Stephen Shannon and Cillian Mc Donnell, in Shannon’s Dublin studio, Experimental Audio, and will be available on CD / digital.

The concept for ‘Wave Atlas: Season One’ came from a desire to create a soundtrack for a TV show that doesn’t actually exist,” says Shannon. “I’ve worked on film soundtracks for a few years and really enjoy the process of writing music to picture. It’s a completely different process.” Cillian adds; “The idea of presenting a soundtrack in isolation really appealed to us – it was an interesting challenge to deliver a body of work where the music is front-and-centre, but thenarrative and plot are secondary. So much is left up to the listener …
Wave Atlas: Season One is also an ode to some of our favourite composers: Max Richer, Ólafur Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Delia Derbyshire, Rival Consoles and Wendy Carlos,” says Mc Donnell. “Previous Mount Alaska tracks were created via dozens of draft versions, but for this album we decided to create the music quickly, using broad conceptual themes. We decided to restrict ourselves to just a few instruments for the making of this record – it made the process more challenging, and the overall sound more cohesive: a 1982 Roland Juno 60 synthesizer, an old piano, and Cillian’s kick-drum make up roughly 80% of Wave Atlas: Season One, with processed (found), vocal acapellas,” says Shannon.

About the first single, Stephen says; “Sonically, Back to the Land, My Love is a significant departure from previous Mount Alaska releases – it’s built around a melancholic solo piano line and synthesizer arpeggios.

Our influences, listening habits and studio work hasn’t always been represented by the music we release, so Wave Atlas: Season One is a good way of addressing that, and Back To The Land, My Love, is a great way of introducing people to a side of Mount Alaska they rarely get to hear,” says Mc Donnell. “It also leaves the door wide open, creatively and conceptually, for Wave Atlas: Season Two…

Wave Atlas: Season One track-listing:
1. Back to the Land, My Love
2. The Subterranean Heart
3. The Last Time They Met
4. Wave Atlas
5. Far from the Fjord
6. Polar
7. Lunar
8. On This Day, We Knew


Mount Alaska are Stephen Shannon & Cillian Mc Donnell

Irish Freemasons Young Musician Of The Year Competition Returns for Tenth Year

Recognised internationally, the prestigious Irish Freemasons Young Musician Of The Year Competition returns for the tenth year and is one of the most important dates in the calendars of young musicians who will be the future of classical music in Ireland and around the globe. 

This year’s Competition will take place before an International Jury, chaired by Jane Carty, as follows:

·         The Semi-Finals – Thurs. 10th October 2019 @ Freemasons’ Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 @ 1.00pm and 7.00pm

·         The Finals – Saturday, 12th October 2019 @ Freemasons’ Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 @ 7.00pm

The prestige of winning this competition opens many doors for these young musicians from high profile engagements to performing concerts, teaching internationally and holding positions with professional orchestras around the globe.  This competition is recognised internationally. 

How winning the inaugural competition in 2010 enhanced Macdára Ó Seireadáin’s career:   “Winning the competition was of great importance to me for a number of reasons – firstly the prestige and engagements that came with such an award helped a great deal in improving my artistic profile. In the years following on from the competition, I have gone on to perform and teach internationally, have performed concertos with a number of orchestras both in Ireland and Germany, and have gone on to hold my first position in a professional orchestra in Austria. Winning the competition helped kick-start the process which has led to all these things, and as such, I would have to say that its overall contribution to my professional development was of enormous value”.   Macdára is currently performing in Hanover where he is following his first love with a chamber music series with his own chamber group. He is also principal clarinet with the prestigious Tiroler Festspiel Erl Orchestra in Austria. He makes frequent visits throughout Europe, the United States and China and back to his homeland, Ireland, to play with the RTE Orchestras.    At the invitation of the Artistic Director of the IFYM, in view of his subsequent international career Macdara was a member of the Jury for the 2017 Competition. This is the first time a Winner was asked to do this. 

Alex Petcu, who won in 2013, is a brilliant young percussionist from Cork School of Music.  Alex was awarded the ‘Rising Star Award’ from the National Concert Hall, where he has since given a number of concerts and released a CD.

2014 winner Gary Beecher, a gifted young pianist, also from Cork, has been continuing his studies in Europe and playing in concerts both there and in Ireland. As part of his 2014 Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year prize, he made his debut concerto performance with the RTE Concert Orchestra, conducted by their principal conductor, John Wilson, at the NCH in August 2015, playing the Schumann Piano Concerto.   His performance was broadcast live on RTÉ Lyric FM. 

2017’s winner Violinist Richard Thomas debuted playing the Sibelius Concerto at the National Concert Hall on his 22nd birthday with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.   Described as the next Nigel Kennedy Richard Thomas has delighted audiences in Ireland and the UK as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player.   He has co-led the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, lead the RIAM Symphony Orchestra and was also the inaugural leader of the RIAM Philharmonia, with whom he worked under Maestri Kenneth Montgomery, Andrew Mogrelia and Gerhard Markson. Richard is also a regular deputy violinist with the Ulster Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra, with whom he recently joined for a five-concert tour of China.    Richard currently plays on a beautiful 1732 Nicolaus Gagliano violin, kindly on loan to him from Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, made possible by the Irish Freemason’s Young Musician of the Year Award.

AMY GILLEN (23) (pictured), Winner of the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year 2018, performed with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra at the NCH in June. This performance was part of her prize for winning the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year Competition.

Amy, from Donegal, is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, and is currently studying for a Masters in Music Performance at the Royal College of Music in London.

Since becoming the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year in October 2018 she has performed extensively as Principal Flute with the RTE Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. In 2019 she has also won the McCullough Cup at the Feis Ceoil, the RTE Lyric FM bursary and the RDS Jago Award.  

It is important to The Irish Freemasons, as part of their community outreach, to recognise the longstanding association that Freemasonry has had with music.  Music has always played an important part of masonic life.  Many performers and composers have been members of the craft, including Haydn and even John Walter Bratton (who wrote the music to The Teddy Bear’s Picnic!)  Many people will know about Mozart as a Freemason.  Mozart wrote many pieces of music for use in Masonic Lodges.  

Members of the International Jury for 2019 are: Jane Carty (Chairperson of the Jury), Eric Kushner (USA)     Maighréad McCrann (Ireland),Andrew Mogrelia (U.K.), Michael Pugh (U.K.), and   Seamus Crimmins (Ireland),

Fifteen competitors will perform at the Semi Finals and four of these will then be chosen by the Jury to go on to the Final.  The Semi Finals on 10th October and the Final on Saturday, 12th October 2019 are open to the public. Tickets are on sale at Freemasons Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 from September 1st. The Final particularly sells out very quickly.

The Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year Competition Prizes to be awarded by The Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland are:

·         1st Prize:          €5,000

·         2nd Prize:         €3,000

·         3rd Prize:          €1,500

·         4th Prize:          €1,250

There are two extra prizes in addition:

·         ‘The John Vallery Memorial Prize’ (sponsored by Mary Beattie in memory of her husband, the viola player, John Vallery). This prize is €1,000 and will be awarded to the competitor (in either the semi-finals or the final) who, in the opinion of the Jury has given the best performance by a String player in the 2019 competition.

·         ‘The Conrad O’Sullivan Memorial Prize (sponsored by Mrs. Geraldine O’Sullivan in memory of her son, Conrad).   This prize is also €1,000 and will be awarded to the competitor (in either the semi-finals or the final) who, in the opinion of the Jury has given the best performance by a Wind or Brass player in the 2019 competition. 

The following will also be offered to the Winner of The Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year 2019 Competition:

·         A solo engagement during 2020 with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra

·         Submission of the recording (at RTE LYRIC FM’s discretion) of the Winner’s performance to the European Broadcasting Union New Talent Competition, as RTE Lyric FM’s entry for 2019. 

·         A Recital engagement at the National Concert Hall during 2020

·         An engagement at the ‘Music in Monkstown Festival’ in 2020

The patrons of the competition are: Jane Carty, Dearbhla Collins, Eamonn Lawlor and John Rowden. Full Biographies of the Patrons are available on the competition website which is 

The semi-finalists at The Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year 2019 Competition are selected by the Music Colleges themselves from the cream of their students.  Competitors must be full time students for the college year 2018 – 2019, pursuing a Degree in Music Performance at Undergraduate, Post Graduate or Doctoral Level, or a Post Graduate Diploma in Music Performance at the following Music Institutions in Ireland who offer Performance Degrees:

·         The Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin

·         The Technological University, Dublin

·         The DIT Conservatory of Music, Dundalk

·         The CIT Cork School of Music, Cork

·         The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick (MA in Classical String Performance). 

·         Queen’s University Belfast

Music has always played an important part of masonic life.   Here is an interesting list of Masonic Musicians:

Classical: Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Haydn, Emile Schikenader (Librettist of The Magic Flute), Jan Sibelius, Thomas Arne,  Johnann  Christian Bach (Son of J S Bach), Michael Balfe,  Luigi Cherubini, Charles Francis Gounod, Franz Liszt, Felix Mendelssohn,  Giacomo Meyerbeer,  Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (‘The Marseillaise’), Sigmund Romberg, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Samuel Wesley.

Popular:  John Philip Sousa, Louis Armstrong,  William ‘Count’ Basie, Irving Berlin, George M Cohan, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Al  Jolson, Paul Whiteman

And finally, John Walter Bratton (who wrote the music to The Teddy Bear’s Picnic!)

Jury Members 2019

Full Biographies and pictures of the jury are available on the competition website which is

JANE CARTY – Patron & Artistic Director and Chairperson of the Jury:

In June 2010 Jane Carty was awarded the highest honour the Royal Irish Academy of Music can give – The Fellowship Honoris Causa (FRIAM).   She was born in Dublin.  Having studied in Paris, Strasbourg and Perugia, Italy, she started her career as a teacher of Piano, Theory and Composition at what is now the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama. A singer, pianist and cellist herself, she presented and produced documentary music programmes for Radio from the major European Music Festivals during her subsequent career as Executive Producer for RTE. She organised and directed national competitions for choirs, singers, instrumentalists and composers, and was the Founder/ Director of the RTE Musician of the Future Festival.   See website for her biog:

Eric Kushner (USA) – Juror:

Eric Kushner was born in Louisiana, USA and began his horn studies with 12 years of age. At 15 he performed as a soloist with the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1979 until 1982 he studied at the New England Conservatory with Prof. Thomas Newel and continued in Detmold, Germany with Prof. Michael Höltzel. 1984 he became solo hornist of the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna. In 1986 he was appointed solo hornist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and held that position for over 30 years. In 2018 he moved down the section and is working in the Vienna Symphony as a low horn player. In recognition of his many years of service in the Vienna Symphony he was given an honorary Professor title by the city of Vienna. He has performed for many years with Concentus Musicus under Nikolaus Harnoncourt on natural horn and performs regularly in festivals throughout Europe, the USA and Japan. As a soloist he has appeared with the Vienna Symphony, the Tonkünstlerorchester, the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg the Wiener Kammerorchester under the conductors Fabio Luisi, Vladimir Fedosejev, Vaclav Neumann, Georges Prêtre, Hans Graf und Frans Brüggen and has recorded extensively for CD and radio productions world-wide.

Maighréad McCrann (Ireland) – Juror:  Maighréad McCrann has been Concertmaster of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra since 1993. In 1997 she was appointed Professor of Violin at the University of Performing Arts in Graz. During this time she has also enjoyed a versatile career as a soloist chamber musician and directing chamber orchestras from the violin. Her passion for teaching has resulted in many masterclasses and intense coaching with youth orchestras of Spain, Cataluña, Columbia, the Viennese Jeunesse Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute in Washington. Born in Dublin where she studied music with Brian McNamara, she graduated from Trinity College of Music in 1984 and commenced studying in Vienna with Ernst Kovacic, and further violin lessons with Sandor Vegh and David Takeno. She was a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and played baroque violin with Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Concentus Musicus.

Andrew Mogrelia (U.K.) – Juror:  British conductor Andrew Mogrelia has had an exceptionally versatile career as a prolific recording artist and conductor of both symphonic and ballet repertoire. He has conducted many of Europe’s leading orchestras including the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony in the UK, the RTÉ NSO in Ireland, Residentie Orchestra and Dutch Radio Symphony in the Netherlands and the Slovak Radio Symphony and Slovak Philharmonic in the Czech and Slovak Republics, among others.   Andrew has worked with ballet companies including English National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, both Australian and West Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre in venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican, Metropolitan Opera House (New York), and Sydney Opera House. He was Music Director and Principal Conductor of San Francisco Ballet from 2003-2005 and in 2009 was named Principal Guest Conductor of Queensland Ballet and returned each season before becoming Music Director from 2013-2015.

In 2016 he conducted the Australian Ballet’s performances of Swan Lake in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, returned to the RTE National Symphony (Dublin) for an Opera Gala with Celine Byrne and conducted concerts at Queensland Conservatorium and Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (both included Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird suite) and Nutcracker for Hong Kong Ballet with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta.    He was Conductor-in-Residence at the Birmingham Conservatoire (UK) from 1992-2002 and has worked with the National Youth Orchestra (UK & Ireland) and the New Perspectives Ensemble at the Royal College of Music in London. From 2005-2012 he was Music Director of the Orchestra at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, establishing a major programme of orchestral concerts, workshops with distinguished guest conductors and a week- long Residence for
composer/conductor John Adams. He conducted Adams’ Harmonielehre and Wound Dresser in the presence of the composer.   He has an extensive discography of some 30 recordings on the Naxos label and his recording of the complete Sleeping Beauty was Gramophone magazine’s “first choice among all available recordings”.   Contemporary music projects include Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Maxwell Davies’ Vesalii Icones), performances of works by Colin Matthews, Ross Edwards, Brett Dean, Steve Reich and John Adams and working with renowned bassist Edgar Meyer in Australia, conducting his 3rd double-bass concerto with the composer as soloist.

2017 engagements included concerts for the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and a performance of John Adams’ “The Nixon Tapes I” with Opera Australia Orchestra, Chorus and soloists in the concert hall of Sydney Opera House in celebration of the composers’ 70th birthday year. Works by Bryce Dessner and Jonny Greenwood were also featured.   2018 engagements included the Final of the Dublin International Piano Competition with the RTE National SO, a return to HKAPA and Giselle for HK Ballet. In 2019 he will return to the Dutch National Ballet for Swan Lake.

Michael Pugh (U.K.) – Juror:    After studying at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Michael came to international prominence by being the only British pianist in its history to be awarded the Prix d’Or at the Aarau International Piano Competition in Switzerland.    As a soloist his performances have captivated audiences both in the UK and abroad, from London to Osaka, collaborating with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop and Alexander Briger.

As a collaborative artist he has appeared in the QEH in London’s Southbank Centre, Salzburg’s Festspielhaus, Zurich’s Tonhalle and the Lund Art Gallery, Sweden, and performed in Metz, Paris, Berlin and Florence (with Amici di Toscana) as well as at festivals in Pienza, Montalcino and Rome, at both Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals, and with Graham Johnson’s Song Makers Almanac.    Media activities have included live broadcasts for the BBC and LWT, NKH Japan, Funen TV Denmark, Rai 3 Italy and ARVO Dutch TV.    His discography includes work for Miramax Films , Sony and EMI.    In September 2012, Michael was invited to join the staff of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Séamus Crimmins (Ireland) – Juror:   Séamus Crimmins was appointed Executive Director, RTÉ Performing Groups, in 2007, a position he held until his retirement this year.  RTÉ’s performing groups include RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and RTÉ Cór na nÓg – over 350 performers in all. His twin passions for music and broadcasting have resulted in him holding several other key positions in RTÉ: he has served as Senior Music Producer, commissioning Editor and, most notably, as the first Head of RTÉ lyric fm.

For more on Seamus see:

The Patrons

Dearbhla Collins – Patron is one of Ireland’s finest and most versatile musicians. As well as being an accomplished and prize-winning solo pianist with a distinguished performing career nationally and internationally, she is respected equally as chamber musician and vocal coach and musical administrator.   She is the Executive Artistic Director ofthe prestigious triennial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin.  She is a Patron of the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year Competition. 

Dearbhla was a member of the Board of the National Concert Hall, Dublin from 2010 – 2015 having previously served two terms as a Director of Culture Ireland.  She is also a piano teacher and Vocal Coach at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.  She often teams up with her brother Finghin Collins for 4-hand recitals and 2 piano performances.   Dearbhla has travelled regularly to China, where she has given performances with bass John Molloy, mezzo soprano Aylish Kerrigan and soprano Lynda Lee, including a recital of Irish music in the prestigious National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.  Dearbhla regularly plays for classes and masterclasses with Dame Ann Murray and has also played for lessons with Sir Thomas Allen, Sergei Lieferkus and Brigitte Fassbender.   Performances include concerts with sopranos Sarah-Jane Brandon, Anna Devin and Pumeza Matshikiza; mezzo-sopranos Tara Erraught, Rachel Kelly, Dame Ann Murray and the late Bernadette Greevy; tenors Paul Austin Kelly, Paul McNamara, Mark Padmore and Robin Tritschler; baritones Gavan Ring and Detlef Roth. These performances include engagements nationwide in Ireland, in the US, Germany, Tunisia, Paris and the Wigmore Hall, London. She has also toured the US with Tara Erraught and given masterclasses and recitals in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan in China.   She has worked with the NSOI, Opera Ireland, Opera Theatre Company and Welsh National Opera.  In 2006 she coordinated, in association with the Austrian Embassy, all major events taking place in Ireland to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart.     Dearbhla was the moving force behind the 2003 Dublin Hugo Wolf Festival, when under her artistic direction the complete songs of the Austrian composer were performed for the first time in Ireland. She curates Dublin Song Series with her brother Finghin in partnership with the National Concert Hall and the Hugh Lane Gallery.   Other projects included concerts at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin with Angela Brower, mezzo soprano and BBC 3 recordings with Egyptian soprano, Fatma Said.

Eamonn Lawlor – Patron: Before joining RTÉ lyric FM when the station opened in 1999, Eamonn was one of Ireland’s leading news and current affairs broadcasters. He was RTÉ’s European Correspondent for ten years and presented the ‘Six One’ news and ‘Prime Time’ on RTÉ One.   More recently he was the ‘voice of music’ on RTÉ lyric FM, presenting The Lyric Concert (Mon-Thurs, 8.30pm-11pm) as well as the regular Friday night RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra concerts live from the National Concert Hall.   He holds an MA in Modern English and American Literature from University College Dublin. Since his schooldays he has been passionately interested in the Arts, particularly music and literature. 

Since his retirement from broadcasting he has been actively pursuing his interests in Buddhism, languages, literature and music, and has appeared on stage as reader/narrator in Michael Murphy’s Stories, Poetry and Dreams and Simon Morgan’s Keep the Home Fires Burning

John N Rowden – Patron: started playing piano at the age of eight, realising his ambition by transferring to organ at the age of 16. He studied under W S Grieg at St Patricks Cathedral, Dublin, and then later became a protege of Ralph Vaughan Williams. He has played at the National Concert Hall Dublin, The Ulster Hall Belfast, The Guildhall in Derry, Notre Dame, Paris and Liverpool Cathedral, England; not to speak of most of the Churches in and around Dublin. He was accompanist to many Choral Societies including the Seafield Singers, and has been Grand Organist of the Grand Lodge of Ireland for over 20 years.


Full Biographies and pictures of the 2019 Semi-finalists are available on the competition website which is

Claire Austen                 Piano                            RIAM
Murrough Connolly        Classical Guitar             Cork School of Music
Robert Finegan             Saxophone                   TU Dublin
Ben Gannon                  Oboe                            RIAM
Oran Halligan                Piano                            RIAM
David McElroy              Violin                            Cork School of Music
J.J. McNamara              Piano                            RIAM
Connor McQuillan          Piano                            Queen’s University Belfast
David Mitchell               Flute                             Queen’s University Belfast
Molly O’Shea                Violin                            Cork School of Music
Kieran Sharkey              Trombone                     TU Dublin
Louise Sullivan              French Horn                  Cork School of Music 

Soda Blonde Announce Whelan’s Date

Exploding onto the Irish music scene this year, Soda Blonde are back with a highly anticipated live show at Dublin’s iconic venue, Whelans, 15th December 2019. Tickets are now available from and outlets Nationwide, costing €16.50 inclusive of booking fee.

Soda Blonde is the new alt-pop musical venture of Dublin artists Faye O’Rourke, Adam O’Regan, Donagh Seaver O’Leary and Dylan Lynch. Emerging from the ashes of internationally acclaimed Little Green Cars. The band have quickly built up a loyal fanbase who embrace the new sound, seamlessly weaving together influences from Fleetwood Mac, Little Dragon and Kate Bush. The result – enticing and dreamy alt-pop.

The new collection of songs were written by lead singer Faye O’Rourke throughout her early 20s, where she honed in on her unique lyrical style of gritty kitchen-sink realism, evoking the tragic beauty of Karen Carpenter and the pop sensibilities of Annie Lennox. Throughout their repertoire, O’Rourke’s powerful and hauntingly unique vocal marries hard-hitting, atmospheric grooves to birth a new wave of pop that is both emotionally provoking and deeply satisfying.

The band hit the ground running with the release of debut single ‘Swimming Through The Night’ – an ambitious track which establishes their authority within the genre and marks a promising future. The single is not only a triumphant anthem, it also showcases the stunning artistic talent of the collective who self-produced all aspects of their work including visual concepts.

Guitarist Adam O’Regan directed the video for the track, explains: “‘Swimming Through The Night’ was filmed over the course of three nights. We had no budget, but through the immense talent, effort and love of some close friends we’ve created a video that we are very proud to share with you. We were inspired by the works of Jean Cocteau, Hayao Miyazaki and Stanley Kubrick in finding the story’s visual language. We invite you, the viewer, to draw your own interpretation of its meaning.”

The Irish quartet have carved a distinct identity for themselves without compromising the musical integrity and charm that saw their previous project skyrocket to success. With a collection of brand-new music waiting in the proverbial wings and an array of live shows expected throughout 2019 and 2020, the future looks bright for Soda Blonde.

Tickets for SODA BLONDE in Whelans are available now

All usual Ticketmaster outlets Nationwide

24hr Credit Card Bookings 0844 277 4455 (ROI) / 0844 277 4455 (NI)

Book online

SIIGHTS Return With ‘Shoulda Been’

Hot off the back of their recent successful singles ‘Tell Me Lies’ and ‘Broke It With Me’, which spent 9 weeks in Ireland’s Shazam ‘Top 10’ and 5 weeks in Spotify’s ‘Viral Top 50’ charts, Irish-Scottish Duo SIIGHTS return with irresistible pop bop ‘Shoulda Been’ recently released.

Teaming up with UK label LAB records, ‘Shoulda Been’ is the first release from the Duo’s much-anticipated debut EP, scheduled for release early next year. Marking a new development in their sound & direction, ‘Shoulda Been’ depicts the nostalgic idealism sometimes experienced when reminiscing on a previous relationship. It questions how things could have turned out differently & how, with hindsight, you can see things in a new light.

SIIGHTS say, “Most people will look back on a heart-break & overthink what they could have done differently. The song is about someone you had a strong connection with but the relationship didn’t work out for whatever reason &andknowing that we are probably not alone in that feeling.”

‘Shoulda Been’ features muted organic guitar riffs with a sound that could be likened to artists Chelsea Cutler, Sasha Sloan & Lauv. Since its release, the track has been added to Spotify’s New Music Friday UK & New Pop Revolution playlists, boosting their collective streams to over 3 Million!

The Duo has been hot-tipped as the breaking artist to watch in the coming months by DiscoverNü & have previously featured in the likes of Clash Magazine, & The Irish Times. 2019 also saw SIIGHTS become the #3 most played Independent artist on Irish Radio, reach #2 in the Music Week Commercial Charts and their most recent collaboration has surpassed 1.5 Million views on YouTube.

With live shows at Kaleidoscope, supporting Shy Martin and a sold-out debut headline gig in ‘King Tuts’ Glasgow combined with backing from Elton John & The Chainsmokers & more new music leading up to their debut EP in their back pocket, SIIGHTS are well on their way to making their mark in the pop world! 

‘Shoulda Been’ is OUT NOW via LAB Records.

Paul Noonan Shares ‘Glaciar’

Paul Noonan shares a new track ‘Glacier’, which is out now.

The song was recorded between Dublin and New York with producer Thomas Bartlett.

The video is directed by Locky and shot in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The composer and musician Clive Wearing suffered massive memory loss after a brain infection, to the point that he sometimes couldn’t remember what he’d being doing seconds ago…

As if each blink was revealing a new scene.

His ability to perform learned tasks like speaking and walking remained intact, but experiential memory was gone.

Emotional memory remained intact too – he knew he loved and was loved by his wife Deborah, and he would greet her enthusiastically anew if she left the room and came back, or if she wasn’t in his field of vision for a while.  

This is a beautiful idea I think…

Paul approached me a few months ago with the track and I knew straight away it was something I wanted to collaborate on. I’ve been a huge fan of Paul’s since I was a kid so it was a bit of a no-brainer. Glacier came from a really honest place and I think when you get a song that’s as truthful as this it makes it so much easier to craft a meaningful story.

Paul wrote the song based on the lives of Clive and Deborah Wearing. Clive contracted anterograde and retrograde amnesia from a herpes simplex and essentially lost his ability to retain memories. On top of that he also couldn’t create no memories and had no recollection of his past. However, his emotional memory remained intact. He knew he loved his wife and kids and remembered who they were for the most part. He also could play music from memory but when asked what he was doing he would instantly forget.

It’s a really fascinating story and one I was really eager to bring to life.

There’s something so beautiful and admirable about someone living through frustration and loneliness to be with someone they love in the face of an illness like that. And they had many beautiful moments amongst the hardship which is something we really wanted to capture.

Our two leads Derbhle Crotty and Donncha Crowley do an amazing job of really capturing that loneliness and frustration that comes with such a horrible situation.

I really wanted to shoot this in such a way that meant our focus was always on Derbhle and showcased the ways that Donncha was fading from her. We placed Donncha in shadow or away from camera where possible and purposely framed him out of focus or slipping from her to represent what it must have been like for her.

We had a really lovely, tight team on this and it was a great shoot. Thanks to everyone for helping us pull it together.” – Locky

The single ‘Beautiful Phones’ was released earlier this year. Toward the end of last year Paul released ‘Moth To Your Flame’ and before that the Side 4 Collective released ‘The Flood’, a song penned by Paul. Also last year, he teamed up with Daithi on the atmospheric ‘Jesus, Take The Wheel’.  One of Ireland’s most respected songwriters, Paul has also released music under the Printer Clips handle as well as co-curating shows such as Starboard Home and the Imagining Ireland series at the NCH.

Sept 21 – Clifden Arts Festival
Oct 25 – Westival, Westport
Oct 25 – Sligo Live

Dáithí’s ‘Perfect Harmony’ Out Now

Dáithi’s latest single ‘Perfect Harmony’ is out today.

As Daithi explains of the new single – “’Perfect Harmony’ is a track built around the fear of losing someone, and eventual acceptance that someday it will happen. Orla Gartland, the vocalist on the track, based her lyrics on the fear of losing her grandfather. The lyrics are some of my favourite I’ve ever had on my tracks, especially the line ‘Thicker than water, you’ll leave all your sons and your daughters, but you’ll live in the stories you tell, and I’ll pass it down to everyone else.’ Perfect Harmony was mainly recorded in rural France along with the rest of the album (L.O.S.S.), And you can actually hear the bird song from outside my window at the start of the track.”

L.O.S.S. will be released on 18th October and will be available digitally and on vinyl.

This is Daithi’s second album, which follows on from a few years of releasing singles and EPs and more recently, the singles ‘Take The Wheel’, ‘Orange’, ‘Submarines’ and ‘Nobody New Around You’.

The 10 tracks will include contributions from Sinead White, Paul Noonan, Ailbhe Reddy, Orla Gartland, Tandem Felix, Sacred Animals, Ryan Vail & The Sei.

Daithi has performed at some big festival slots this summer including All Together Now, Forbidden Fruit, Pride, and the Galway Arts Festival.

The two-time Choice Music Prize nominee builds on a signature unique formation of house music with a series of singles that mark the most ambitious and personal adventure to date.

This latest project was unearthed in isolation in rural France as communication with friends, family, and an all-consuming social media expanse was placed on pause. Time to breathe.

I was at my lowest point, feeling like nothing would ever be okay again, and found myself writing all sorts of melodies and chords as a form of therapy, but at first couldn’t imagine getting to a place where I felt comfortable making songs out of them. This project scared me, but I’m also more proud of it than anything I’ve ever done.”

Blessed with a spellbinding vocal turn from Bell X1 leader Paul Noonan, ‘Take the Wheel’ marks brave territory for Daithí as the track traverses haunting terrain where battered flags once laid down by Cave and Cohen thrash ominously in the distance.

‘In My Darkest Moments’, meanwhile, takes the listener on a more insular journey, with a maze-like build that bursts into a sea of opaque colours. The track was accompanied by a stunning video created in the west of Ireland, winning 3 shark awards and an emerging director award for Lochlainnn McKenna.

‘Orange’, featuring long-time collaborator Sinead White, is an honest open exploration of heartbreak, laid bare in stunning clarity with Sinead’s incredible vocal. 

‘Submarines’ features Irish songwriter Ailbhe Reddy. With its pulsing house beats and the sampling of Irish instruments, it makes for a powerful summer tune, full of energy.

// LIVE //

September 19th – Roisin Dubh, Galway (Live Band Show)

September 21st – Dolans, Limerick (Live Band Show)

September 27th – Achill (Battle For The Lake)

September 28th – Connollys Of Leap (Live Band Show)

October 19th – Button Factory, Dublin (Album Launch)

November 15th – Cyprus Avenue, Cork (Live band Show)

Dashoda Releases ’38 Long’

Finding beauty in the mundane is one of life’s little victories, one that we can all achieve. Turning that beautiful mundanity into art, however, is a skill most can only aspire to. When Dashoda (Gavin MacDermott) picked up his old, scarcely worn blazer in 2016, he didn’t just see it as it was, he saw it as what it could be. 38 Long was not just the blazer’s size, it was a statement.

Dashoda’s music exists in two worlds. The seen and the unseen. ’38 Long’, the Wexford native’s sophomore single, exemplifies that trait. It’s a journey into the unknown. A sonic representation of the graceful swan gliding over the water, while, beneath the water, its feet are paddling frantically. A story of the well-presented exterior bravado of a man who is anything but on the inside.

Painting the setting for ’38 Long’, bedroom-based producer Dashoda says: “I had this new group of friends and I was living in Dublin again. So, there was this feeling of newness and big energy and definitely a lot of confusion about what the hell I was doing with my life and, naturally, a lot of procrastination. I was in a space in my life where I had great anticipation and so the song came out of that feeling…I wanted to capture the tension of my life at that moment in the song. There is a devil may care throw-away attitude, confidence and also fear. Accompanying this is a frantic energy.”

’38 Long’, which is set for release on September 18th, is an up-tempo, catchy indie-pop bop produced by Darragh Nolan (Sacred Animals, Ailbhe Reddy, Basciville) at Asta Kalapa studios. The two took inspiration from Daft Punk among others, particularly on the drums, which were magically transformed by Nolan to sound like a drum machine, rather than the real drums used in recording. It’s this kind of alternative thinking that separates Dashoda’s music from so many of his peers.

The release will be accompanied by a lyric video, before the official video for the song is set free on September 26th. Having worked with him on the video for his debut single ‘In Between’, Dashoda partnered once again with director Conor Donoghue on the video for ‘38 Long’.

Playing on the message of the song, Donoghue decided to take the idea of existing between two worlds, one of chaos and one of sanity, and run with it. “I thought it would be fun to make a video in which we took a very nice-looking blazer and gave it a new life. Dousing Gavin and the blazer in lots of colours seemed like the best way to do it.” The video truly reflects that idea through the striking contrast created as it alternates rapidly between an all-white scene and a multi-coloured Mad Hatter’s tea party scene.

With a small budget and DIY approach, the video was filmed in one take in a friend’s back garden, Donoghue explained, “Since the song has a repetitive beat I thought it would be good to cut on every beat to keep with the energy of the song. I thought having two timelines – One going backwards and the other going forwards – would be intriguing to the viewer. The video was extremely fun to make and I really felt like a child again throwing all that mess at Gavin.”

With debut single ‘In Between’ achieving success across the airwaves in Ireland on 2FM, BBCRadio Ulster, FM104, KCLR, WLR, 2XM, PlayIrish and more, as well as coverage on, GoldenPlec, The Last Mixed Tape and Broadsheet, Dashoda is already well on his way to being one of Ireland’s most exciting new acts. ‘38 Long’ reaffirms that potential and looks set to send Dashoda’s career into orbit.


Delorentos Mark Decade of ‘S.E.C.R.E.T.’s and More

Delorentos will close the decade with four shows in Ireland celebrating the 10th Birthday of their best-loved composition, ‘S.E.C.R.E.T.’ Spawned in 2009, included on the Dublin combo’s second album, released as a single at the same time and accompanied by a low-budget, perfectly judged video that helped it become an instant live favourite, a cult radio hit and a much-anticipated regular closing song for the band’s live shows worldwide.

The shows promise an opportunity to grab a first listen to some of the new songs the band have been working on in 2019 as well as a chance to check out reworkings of old favourites and some forgotten classics along the way. And expect some special surprises that hint at the band’s next direction!

Delorentos’ determined rise has been a wonderful (and, at times, tortuous) chaos – break-ups, labels collapsing, reformations and critical awards, worldwide tours and packed houses. Throughout the 4 school friends (aided and abetted by a host of unseen others) have strived to better themselves with every step they take. 5 studio albums (and one acoustic album) have seen them achieve critical acclaim and 5 consecutive Top 10 Chart Positions in Ireland. 100s of live shows – from Mexico City to Munich, Moscow to Madrid, Memphis to Milan (and all the other letters of the alphabet inbetween) – have seen them thrill audiences the world over with electric and acoustic shows, and they’ve loved (nearly) every minute of it!

Film and TV syncs have been regular occurrences and they are currently “the sound of Ireland” courtesy of “Home Again” having been chosen as the theme tune to Tourism Ireland’s global advertising campaign. In a world where so much emphasis is placed on “brand new” they continue to revel in writing albums and playing live shows that are ever more passionate, raw and exciting! With 5 top 10 studio albums under their collective belt already they’re still champing at the bit and looking for the next challenge!

“A Decade of S.E.C.R.E.T.s (and more)”
18 December – Cyprus Avenue, Cork 
19 December – Dolans, Limerick
20 December – Roisin Dubh, Galway
23 December – Whelan’s, Dublin

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