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Archive for December, 2019

IMRO Award Presented to Mick Flannery

Mick Flannery joined us in IMRO today for the presentation of his IMRO Award in recognition of his No.1 self titled album. Mick was joined for the presentation by American artist Mary Bragg, who is currently on tour with him across Ireland.

The IMRO Number 1 Award was introduced to acknowledge IMRO members who reach number 1 in the album charts here in Ireland.

Mick’s sixth studio album is his third chart-topper in total, following 2012’s ‘Red to Blue’ and 2014’s ‘By The Rule’.

An award-winning, double-platinum selling artist, Mick Flannery’s self-titled sixth album, was released on Friday 5th July. Its chart results marks his continuing development as one of the very best Irish singer-songwriters of his generation.

Mick began to write songs as a teenager in his home of Blarney, County Cork. As musical influences from albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits seeped into his creative DNA, Mick absorbed, learned and honed the craft that would send him on his way into the world. The path was smoothed somewhat when, at the age of 19, he became the first Irish songwriter to win the Nashville-based International Songwriting Competition. By the time he turned 21, he had signed to a major label and released his debut album.

With his latest release, Mick touches on loose themes of ambition and the search for a meaningful life in the context of a musician’s sometimes feckless and dysfunctional lifestyle. The central character, he reveals, is someone like him, “although this person achieves more notoriety than I have. He is properly famous, and he has to deal with that.” The loose theme is just that, however. “I’m not going to hammer it home. Facets of the theme are on the album, but the storyline itself isn’t an overarching one – each song can stand on its own, and not need to be part of a narrative.”

Mick Flannery’s self-titled album out now via Warner Music Ireland.

PureGrand Shares ‘Flowers’

PureGrand ends 2019 with the release of his new festive single ‘Flowers’. 

‘Flowers’ is a wintery new years ballad about choosing to see the positives as a new year approaches as opposed to holding on to regrets and using it as a chance to start over.

Inspired by uplifting ballads from the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Carly Rae Jepson coupled with ABBA-esque melodies, ‘Flowers’ looks to the past for its synthy sonic palette but to the future in it’s lyrical outlook.

‘Flowers’ was entirely self produced and written by PureGrand (real name Luke Faulkner).

The Dublin native makes pop music of all flavours with a love of synthpop and a healthy dose of camp at its core, PureGrand tries not to follow trends unless he likes what is trendy.

2019 has been a busy year for Faulkner with the release of his Italo House inspired EP ‘Painkiller’ to positive press last August as well as radio play for its lead single ‘Last Bus’ from Tara Stewart’s show on 2FM as well as 2XM, DDR and 8Radio.

PureGrand has also spent this year creating colourful music videos for singles like ‘Pink’ and ‘Last Bus’, while also creating visuals and music videos for fellow Irish pop artists such as Jack Rua, LOGOUS and Babylamb as well performing across Dublin (Workman’s, Sin E, Drop Dead Twice) and at some of Irelands best homegrown alternative performance nights such as Glitter Hole, Avoca’s Queer Cabaret and has most recently supported Xnthony at the Dublin Fringe Festival as part of the Deluxe Access show.


Laura Elizabeth Hughes Announces Sound House Headline

Following the release of her latest single ‘For You (Home)’, Dublin songwriter Laura Elizabeth Hughes brings an amazing year to a close by announcing her first headline date of 2020 on Thursday 9th April at The Sound House, Dublin. 

Tickets priced €12.50 incl. booking fee are on sale now from

Hopeful and heartfelt, ‘For You (Home)’ showcases a lush balance between soaring power and tenderness, culminating in sweeping piano riffs and Laura’s inimitable vocals. It is this unique voice which has seen an ever-growing fan base from across the globe with over 2.5 million visits to Laura’s YouTube channel, including R&B star Joss Stone who posted the video to ‘The Dark’ across her own social media.

2019 saw the release of the anthemic ‘In My Defence’, marking an uplifting new direction while still holding that distinctive sound and heart that the songwriter has become known for. The song earned Laura a coveted place as a cover artist on Spotify’s “A Breath of Fresh Éire” playlist. This was followed up by a collaboration with 1,000 Beasts on ‘Because Of April’, a near six-minute opus blending minimal house sonics with nuanced ambient textures to provide the perfect canvas for Laura’s vocals. September’s ‘Straight For Tomorrow’, was a return to Hughes folk roots. Taken from 2018’s ‘Ceremony’ EP, the song was featured as part RTE Radio 1’s Recommend playlist upon release.

On stage, this year saw Hughes selling out her Dublin headline show along with playing debut shows in London and New York as well as sharing stages with Billie Marten, Little Hours and Cry Monster Cry. With new music and more shows to be announced for 2020, Laura Elizabeth Hughes is an artist fast establishing herself as a rising talent among a fresh new group of emerging Irish songwriters.

‘For You (Home)’ is available across all streaming platforms. Tickets for The Sound House are on sale now from

Listen on Spotify | Watch on YouTube

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Bill Whelan’s ‘Lift The Wings’ Reaches #1 in China

Last week saw Cai Chengyu’s version of Bill Whelan’s composition ‘Lift the Wings’ (the main song from Riverdance) go straight to No. 1 on QQ Music in China. QQ Music is one of the leading Chinese music platforms, a freemium music streaming service owned by Tencent Music, a joint venture between Tencent and Spotify. As of 2018, the service is set to reach over 700 million users with an estimated 120 million subscribers

Performed by tenor Cai Chengyu, a member of the classical group Super Vocal the latest singing to Universal Music China. Super Vocal rose to fame on Hunan TV’s talent competition, the Chinese equivalent of The Voice/America’s Got Talent, featuring classically trained singers singing both operatic and musical pieces. Hunan TV is China’s leading entertainment television show. The quartet of singers in the group are Cai Chengyu, Tong Zhuo, Gao Tianhe and Ju Hongchuan.

Listen To the exclusive Chinese version of ‘Lift The Wings’ Here

This version of the track is sung by Cai and features on the exclusive Chinese version of Riverdance 25th Anniversary: Music From The Show, which went straight to number 1 last week on QQ Music Chart


Tickets for Dublin and Belfast are available now

3Arena, Dublin 6 – 9 February 2020
The SSE Arena, Belfast 19-23 February 2020

Westlife Iconic Croke Park Concert to be Released on DVD

Following their sensational return to the top of the UK album charts, Westlife have just announced they will release a brand new DVD featuring this summer’s iconic Croke Park comeback concert in Dublin.

Shot across two nights in-front of 160,000 fans, the spectacular live show captures the climax to the Twenty Tour which saw Shane, Nicky, Mark and Kian reclaim their position as national pop music treasures in an adrenaline-filled homecoming performance.

The show features the global pop kings at their very best as they perform their greatest hits including  ‘Swear It Again’, ‘Flying Without Wings’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’ as well as hit songs from their recent Number 1 album ‘Spectrum’ such as  ‘Hello My Love’ and ‘Dynamite’ to a capacity crowd with spectacular staging, lighting and effects.

Croke Park was the best concert of our lives. It was so special to conclude the Twenty Tour, our most successful tour to date, on home ground. It is amazing that the whole show is being released on DVD so that our fans can relive the memories. We’re looking forward to watching the show again when it is released,’ say the band.  Available on DVD, Blu-Ray and deluxe edition DVD+CD format which features a 13 track CD of the live audio from the show of Westlife’s greatest hits, plus their three new tracks live, Hello My Love, Better Man and Dynamite.

The release follows a remarkable comeback for Westlife which included their fastest-selling tour of all time. The ‘Twenty Tour’ sold a record 600,000 tickets across 27 cities and 13 countries. 

The Irish pop superstars have also announced a new tour for 2020 covering some of the Ireland & the UK’s largest outdoor stadiums. It will also include their first ever Wembley Stadium show and two performances at Cork’s Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Last month Westlife returned to the top of the UK album charts for the first time in a decade with their new album ‘Spectrum’.

Westlife have sold over 55 million records worldwide, and are the only band to have their first 7 singles enter the UK chart at No.1. They also have the most singles of any artist to debut at No.1 in the UK. Overall the band have had an incredible 14 No.1 singles, behind only Elvis Presley and The Beatles. They have had 33 No.1 albums worldwide.

As a live act Westlife have sold over 5 million concert tickets worldwide.

The Twenty Tour – Live from Croke Park is available for pre-order now, released 13th March 2020

Mick Flannery Announces Vicar Street Headline

An award-winning, double-platinum selling Irish artist, Mick Flannery’s latest self-titled album debuted at number one in July 2019.

Today, Mick announces a headline show for Vicar Street, Friday 20th March 2020, this follows the news of his last run of Dublin shows all sold out, which included a four night residency at Lost Lane and Vicar Street in May. Tickets €34 on sale this Friday, 13th December at 9AM.

While County Cork singer-songwriter Mick Flannery is outwardly reserved his songs are fluent in expressing layered aspects of the human condition its flaws, triumphs and general uncertainty. 

Tickets €34 on sale this Friday, 13th December at 9AM

Adrian Crowley at the IFI

Can a film ever truly reflect who you are? Irish singer/songwriter Adrian Crowley becomes a ghost visiting his own life, imagining what a documentary about himself would be like, blurring the lines between documentary and fiction, reality and imagination, subject and director in The Science of Ghosts.

Director Niall McCann further explores the playful territory he mapped out in his first two films, Art Will Save The World and Lost In France, reimagining the parameters of the musical film form and the nature of documentary itself. The film is filled with the sonorous vocals and beautiful melodies of Crowley, snapshots of family life and lush landscapes, and includes stunning performances from Radie Peat of Lankum, Brigid Mae Power, the Crash Ensemble and words from Irish writer Kevin Barry.

The screening Tuesday, December 17th at 18:20 in the IFI will be followed by a Q&A with Niall McCann and Adrian Crowley, hosted by Matthew Nolan, plus a short musical performance. Tickets can be found here.

Mary Coughlan Announces Vicar Street Date

Ireland’s Mary Coughlan is arguably the greatest female singer to have emerged from Ireland in recent times, the equivalent of Irish vocal royalty. The word ‘legend’ is not one to be used lightly, but in this case is entirely appropriate.

Mary Coughlan will play a special show at Vicar Street, 1st October 2020. Tickets €35 on sale Wednesday 11th December at 10AM. Brought to you by Aiken Promotions.

Whether into folk, blues or jazz, no one can fail to be moved by the emotional depth, expression & power in her voice, forged from an extraordinary life.

Born in Galway 64 years ago, Mary has battled and overcome childhood trauma, near-death from alcoholism and drug addiction. After hitting rock-bottom and extensive periods in psychiatric hospitals and rehab centres, she literally pulled herself out of the dregs of a vodka bottle to confront the foundations of her problems headon and sort out her life, and has been sober since 1993.

Mary has carved out a timeless and highly regarded career, with a legion of devoted fans worldwide. Her ability to connect so emotionally & empathically with both the song & her audience is testament to her inner strength, and to the power of transformation & redemption. The stage is her home. To hear Mary sing is truly to be at the core of the human heart.

Since her first album ‘Tired and Emotional’ rocketed her to overnight fame in 1985, she has recorded 15 further solo albums, most recently the searing song cycle ‘Scars on the Calendar’ with Erik Visser.

Throughout the 90’s, Mary was selling out some of the UK’s most prestigious venues, including the Mean Fiddler, London’s Astoria and the Liverpool Philharmonic. 

Her theatrical version of the visceral 2008 album ‘The House of Ill Repute’ was performed to great acclaim in Dublin as part of the MusicTown Festival. Mary has acted in films and has also written a moving, remarkable and candid autobiography called ‘Bloody Mary – My Story’ which is now in its third pressing.

Throughout 30 years of her quite extraordinary life and recording career Mary has drawn heavily from her legendary heroes: the grievous, teary outpourings of Billie Holiday (to whom she devoted a double album of her songs), the husky flirtations of Peggy Lee, Van Morrison’s soulful wails, the defiant chanteusery of Edith Piaf. All are present and correct in her delivery. Even so, Mary, with her naked honesty makes every song her own; they belong to her and nobody else.

Mary lives is in a league of her own and always has been. Peppered with her dry waspish wit and no-holds-barred ribald banter, her songs resonate with life experience, her husky voice pulling every ounce of emotion from the music. That unmistakeable smoky, bluesy, boozy drawl has always been a seduction, no matter what the subject. Even in the early years of her career, Melody Maker wrote “A song is not complete unless it has been sung by Mary Coughlan.” Sad, sassy and droll, melancholy has never sounded better.

Join Mary Coughlan live 1st October 2020 in Vicar Street

Tickets on sale Wednesday 11th December at 10AM

Sarah Packiam co-hosts HBO Latino’s “A Tiny Audience”

It was time for a music series about music, live and organic, hosted by… musicians. A Tiny Audience is that music series on TV and it is going global. One of the host musicians of A Tiny Audience is IMRO Member Sarah Packiam and in the very first show, which premiered on Friday 6 December 9pm EST in North America on HBO Latino and HBO’s platforms, in a special and unscripted moment, she exchanges her music with Colombian born superstar Juanes, in what is bound to become a viral moment. The show is produced by Miami, Fl based February Entertainment LLC.

An instrumental co-written by Sarah Packiam and Grammy award-winning producer Tim Mitchell opens A Tiny Audience. The first episode features live performances by Juanes, Natti Natasha, Sebastian Yatra and Orange Is The New Black star Jackie Cruz. During her interview with Juanes, Packiam herself is encouraged to play an acoustic version of her fan favorite single, ‘Miss You’, which will be available on all platforms from today. And along with this live version, Packiam is also releasing a raw, emotional, and simplistic video of ‘Miss You’, filmed in one take.

Sarah Packiam is a Miami, Florida based Irish-Indian singer, songwriter, guitarist, and now television host. Born and raised in Ireland, Packiam grew up in a musical household and travelled Europe with her family’s band. To date, driven by her desire to spread love and positivity, Packiam has released three successful independent albums. She continues to write and sing music that encourages listeners to embrace their unique selves. For more information, updates, and music, follow Sarah Packiam at the links below.

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New Festival Announced for Westport

June Bank Holiday Weekend 2020 will see brand new festival Saltwater take place in the beautiful grounds of Westport House, Mayo – one of Ireland’s best loved historic homes and estates. Set to become a highlight of the Irish Festival Calendar, Saltwater is brought to you by the people behind Sea Sessions and will showcase top International and Irish talent with over 60 acts playing across 3 stages. 

Dermot Kennedy and Johnny Marr are set to headline Saltwater on the Bank Holiday weekend, 29-31 May 2020. They will be joined by a host of acclaimed international and Irish acts including Maverick Sabre, The Stranglers, Lyra, Lee Scratch Perry, Jerry Fish, Norman Jay, Joanne Keegan and Coda with many more to be announced over the coming months.

One of the first festivals of the summer, Saltwater Festival is an expression of life on Ireland’s rugged wild Atlantic coast. Celebrating Music, Food, Culture, Wellness and the rich heritage of Westport, the festival will bring together like minded people from home and abroad that want to feel the taste of salt in the air as they appreciate the best Ireland has to offer. 

With an extraordinary career that has seen him shoot to global fame, Dermot Kennedy is known around the world for hits such as ‘Outnumbered’, ‘Power Over Me’ and ‘Glory’. His music touches people’s hearts, and his set promises to be one of the defining moments of the festival. The legendary Johnny Marr needs little introduction, having spent nearly 4 decades in the music business as both a guitarist in The Smiths and as a celebrated solo artist. The rock icon’s set is not to be missed, and is sure to be jam packed with his greatest hits and fan favourites from his vast back catalogue. 

Day and Weekend tickets go on sale from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and on on Friday 13th December at 9am. Early Bird Tickets are priced from €144 or 3 days with camping options also available.  There are also limited single day tickets available from €64. Check out for more details.

Speaking about Saltwater, Festival Director Ray O’Donoghue said: There’s so much history in Westport and Westport House that when the opportunity to host a new festival came up we jumped at the chance. We put a lot of work into getting the right lineup and we’re over the moon with how it’s tuned out!  The festival is not only about a word class music lineup it’s also about experiencing all that Westport has to offer. With more acts, food tents, cultural events, pop up parties and so much more to be announced we’ve plenty of surprises in store.” 

Known as the most beautiful house in Ireland, Westport House has a great tradition of hosting some of the world’s top artists and this year is set to be no different as Saltwater takes place for the first time.With Westport recognised as “The Best Place to Live in Ireland”, and established as a multiple award winning tourism destination over the past few years – Saltwater is the perfect place to kick off the June Bank Holiday Weekend and what is guaranteed to be another busy summer season on the west coast!

29-31 May 2020 and Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide.

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