Just one year on from the release of her Sophomore Instrumental album ‘In The Deep’, Ambient Neoclassical Pianist / Composer Úna Keane has just put out a live album called ‘Collaborations’. . Recorded at The Pepper Canister Church in Dublin on March 5th this year (just before the world changed), the experimental pianist was joined on the night by Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Stephen Shannon, Lōwli, Gareth Quinn Redmond and Ronán Conroy. The pieces on this record are drawn from Úna’s 2 previous records, but also include new work and in-the-flow improv. The concert was recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam KJ and Adam & Úna co-produced. You can listen to ‘Hollow’, the first single off the record here.
Encouraged by how well the album has been received (**** The Irish Times, 8.5/10 Hotpress, Broadsheet.ie Irish Album of the Year) Keane is planning to give the record a Vinyl release in the Spring. “This project was made possible through the generous sharing of talents, and funded on a shoe-string. Totally DIY – I did my own Press etc etc..” relates the Dublin musician. She’s running a crowdfunder through Irish platform FundIt.ie until 4pm Christmas Day to cover costs. “We reached our target on Monday which is amazing, but the campaign is still live if people want to dive in and get involved. You can pre-order the album on Vinyl for 25 euro (or you can swop that up for 2 x CDs if you prefer), and have it posted to you in March. There are a range of rewards to choose from, and everyone who gets onboard gets to have their name included in the Thank Yous in the liner notes.”. Full details here
Minister Martin announces funding of €230,000 for the expansion of the Minding Creative Minds support service to the Irish creative sector
The Minister for Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin T.D., today announced funding of €230,000 for the expansion of Minding Creative Minds existing service to the entire Irish creative sector, both home and abroad.
Workers in the cultural, creative and live entertainment sector continue to be significantly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Life Worth Living, the Report of the Arts and Culture Recovery taskforce concluded that “All these factors are having a damaging effect on the mental health and wellbeing of people working in these sectors”. Recommendation 6 of this report further recognises the need establish a programme that provides wellbeing supports to the creative sector.
Minding Creative Minds Wellbeing & Support Programme (in association with Spectrum Life) is Ireland’s first 24/7 wellbeing support programme for the Irish Creative sector. First launched in June 2020, with thanks to the support of their funding partners (First Fortnight, IMRO, IRMA, MCD, Universal Music Ireland, RAAP, BAI, KPMG and as one of the chosen beneficiaries of EPIC Working Group’s fundraising initiative, Songs From An Empty Room and ongoing We are the Support Act fundraising initiatives), this support programme will now be extended to offer the following services to the entire Irish creative community. This will include:
- 24/7 free dedicated phone helpline;
- Up to 6 free counselling sessions;
- Financial assistance, consumer advice and legal assistance for a range of issues;
- Career guidance and life coaching;
- Support for Non-Irish nationals and their families;
- Mediation for conflict resolution.
Updates and further information on how to access these services are now available on the Minding Creative Minds website.
Minister Martin said: “I am very pleased to announce this funding to support the important work of Minding Creative Minds. Now, more than ever, our creative community requires support. I would like to congratulate Minding Creative Minds on their success to date in rolling out this innovative programme of supports to those requiring assistance in the music sector and I look forward to the expansion of this programme over the coming weeks, which I am sure will be welcomed by the Irish creative sector, both home and abroad.”
Commenting on the funding announcement Eleanor McEvoy, Chair of IMRO said: “I’m delighted that the Minding Creative Minds initiative has now been extended beyond the music industry and into the entire creative sector. It’s a wonderful initiative that is already providing much needed support for those of us that work in the music industry and it’s heartening that the extension of the program will mean that that many more will now benefit from these much needed services.”
SoFFT Nights have revealed Pillow Queens, Roe and Art of Algebra are added to their ever growing show announcements for 2021. They will perform live at Dunderry Park, Co. Meath, 21st and 22nd May 2021.
Confirmed acts for SoFFT Nights 2021
Cormac Begley with special guests Bunoscionn and Lemoncello 26th & 27th March 2021.
Soda Blonde with special guests Maija Sofia and Nava, 16th & 17th April 2021.
Jape and Columbia Mills [double headline show] with Dani Larkin, 11th & 12th June 2021.
SoFFT Nights is a daughter of Spirit of Folk Festival, a small boutique event that emerged out of the 2008 recession and made its successful return in October 2020.
The event has a well-being element to its line-up for those seeking an outlet for such practices. This is something important to the organiser’s Caroline Duke and Natasha Duffy, having dealt with their own anxiety battles, they want to provide a space for people to learn about meditation, healing through dance, shamanism and talks on well-being.
Headliners 21st and 22nd May 2021
Pillow Queens formed in Winter 2016 with the immediate release of their demo EP Calm Girls, now four years later, they release their critically acclaimed debut album ‘In Waiting’.
‘ROE is 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Derry (Ireland), Roisin Donald. Laying down her unique brand of self-styled Dark Indie-Pop, she has been blazing a trail for young female indie artists across Ireland, UK, Europe and beyond. Roe’s EP ‘Things We Don’t Talk About’ is out now.
ART OF ALGEBRA
Art of Algebra is a Dublin-based Irish electronic music artist whose sound blends ambient electronica, trip hop and experimental IDM influences.
New supports for local radio and audiovisual production that supports the Live Music Sector Announced
Minister Catherine Martin has today announced additional financial supports of €4.9m for the broadcasting sector. The supports are targeted at independent radio, in particular local and regional radio, and the production of programmes that support the live music sector.
Minister Martin will be providing additional funding of €2.5m for the independent radio sector.
The Minister today wrote to the BAI requesting that they develop a funding round for the independent radio sector early next year. Minister Martin asked that local and regional radio stations in particular would be prioritised.
Speaking today the Minister said: “Radio has played a vital role in providing reliable news and information to citizens throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and in bringing together local communities. I am delighted to be able to provide additional support of €2.5m which builds on earlier supports to the sector to ensure they can continue to deliver their services at this difficult time when advertising revenues have been reduced.
“I hope these extra funds will help local radio stations across the country who have had a difficult year. I have met with the sector and heard their concerns and want to ensure that local radio stations have more support as we hopefully look towards a better period for the country next year.”
Recognising the severe challenges faced by the live music sector as a result of COVID-19, the Minister also asked the BAI to include a call for specific projects to support this sector in the next general round of Sound and Vision and has provided €1.4m for this purpose.
The Minister noted: “We all love our live music and miss going to gigs and concerts. I have asked the BAI, therefore, in calling for applications for the next general round of Sound and Vision to seek projects which will provide a mechanism to support the sector.”
This will complement the other initiatives to support the live music sector that the Minister has already put in place.
Finally, the Minister asked the BAI to allocate €1m of the additional funding to the current Sound and Vision round which was hugely oversubscribed, providing much needed support for the independent production sector.
Cork- born, Glasgow based Jen Ella releases her new song ‘Common People’.
With recent success from her song ‘Lipstick Queen’ gaining huge Irish radio play and Scottish radio play being featured on BBC Sounds, her song ‘Common People’ develops on from the theme she conveyed in Lipstick Queen of ‘individualism’ but strives to empower equality in this song. Solely just her mellow toned husky vocals and keys, she takes a risk on this peeled back track to convey the powerful message of equality and this is reflected in her lyrics.
“We eat, we sleep, we drink and repeat, we’re just some Common People”
Jen Ella, an active musician, performer and storyteller playing many gigs all over Scotland and back in her hometown Cork has been recognised as ‘highly recommended’ by Celtic Music Radio at the Celtic Connections festival she played at in 2019. Additionally, with Jen Ella her emotionally, breathtaking and highly personal lyrics have been received well both within the Irish and Scottish music scene where Finbar Hoban Presents described her “relatable to Mazzy Star tones’ and Caesar Live N’Loud described Jen Ella music as ‘highly emotive that always has the listener coming back for more.” Additionally YMX have featured Jen Ella as someone who has a “future set for a brillant career” with her raw talent displayed in her current single ‘Lipstick Queen’.
As an artist, being highly recognised and valued, based on her moving and emotive lyrical abilities, Jen Ella has been commended for her work amongst the likes of Joni Mitchell, Mazzy Star and Dolores O’Riordan. Being featured as RTE Radio 1 recommended and gaining huge Irish and Scottish radio play, Jen Ella will be starting off 2021 with more releases in January and her debut album mid year 2021. In addition to this, her performance in the ‘Common People’ music video will be available for viewers mid January.
Where the creative arts meet artificial intelligence: IMRO and Law Society of Ireland Annual Copyright Lecture 2021 to focus on the important intersection between copyright and AI.
IMRO and the Law Society of Ireland are highlighting the growing importance and complexity of the relationship between creative intellectual property (IP) and artificial intelligence (AI).
Dr Mark Hyland, IMRO adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Law Society, outlines that the growing prominence and transformative power of AI is having an enormous impact on the creation and distribution of cultural and creative goods and services.
“This important topic has been the focus of a series of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) public consultations called the WIPO Conversation on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence,” Dr Hyland explains. “The conversation aims to bridge the existing information gap between AI players and regulators, and build broad awareness of the diverse issues in this fast-moving and complex field.” Read more about the WIPO Conversation on IP and AI here, with the most recent public consultations having taken place (virtual sessions) on 7-9 July and, on 4 November 2020.
“There is a concept on the effect of new technology, known as ‘Amara’s Law,’” suggests Barry Scannell, Director of Legal Affairs in IMRO and a PhD candidate on AI and music rights in University College Cork, “Whereby the short-term effects of a new technology are over-estimated, while the long-term consequences of the technology are ignored.”
“We are witnessing this in the intersection of AI and music, where the state-of-the-art in AI is not capable of autonomously generating art, but there are still concerns in some sectors as to what this means for the industry. Meanwhile, the technology’s overwhelmingly positive long term-capabilities are not given adequate consideration,” he said.
2021 IMRO and Law Society of Ireland Annual Copyright Lecture
The Law Society and IMRO will host a free public lecture on the intersection between copyright and AI on Tuesday 16 February 2021. This event is part of a unique partnership between the Law Society and IMRO, designed to highlight the importance of intellectual property to Ireland’s economic, cultural and creative sectors.
The lecture, titled The Complex Intersection between Copyright and Artificial Intelligence will be delivered online and details of how to register will be published in early 2021. Speakers on the day will be Dr Hyland, Barry Scannell (IMRO) and Professor Jonathan Griffiths of Queen Mary University of London (acting as discussant).
IMRO Adjunct Professorship of Intellectual Property Law
Dr Mark Hyland is the inaugural adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law. IMRO and the Law Society of Ireland partnered to create the role in response to the fast-changing digital landscape and the inevitable on-going effects on copyright law and practice.
The professorship is a key resource to the Law Society in broadening the knowledge base of trainee and qualified solicitors in the expanding area of IP Law. The expectation is that a solid grounding in this field of law will entice a new generation of lawyers into the music and entertainment industries.
Dr Hyland is a lecturer in the College of Business at the Technological University Dublin. His current research focuses on two main themes: website-blocking injunctions in an IP context and, how geo-location/geo-blocking technologies can be used to facilitate the territorial licensing of digital copyright works. He is a qualified solicitor and contributes articles on EU IP/IT law developments to the Eurlegal section of the Law Society Gazette.
Read more about the IMRO Adjunct Professorship of Intellectual Property Law here.
Following the recent release of their debut album ‘Rendez-Vous!’ Charles Boulevard announce the first single from the album. The single is a double feature ‘All Roads Lead To Roam/One Way to Ride’.
The band formed last year with members from the Czech Republic and Ireland have been delighted with the reaction to their first album and want to build on it’s initial success.
“With 18 tracks on the album it was a hard choice to make so we decided to put out a double A-side instead.“
‘All Roads Lead To Roam’ is a sonic on the road adventure where a pulsing 12 string electric guitar accompanies our intrepid Wild Rover on his travels. The song leads into a mellow cello interlude before it builds to a rocky road crescendo.
‘One Way To Ride’ has a catchy Keith Richards guitar vibe going on and pays homage to that golden era early 70’s vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll sound.
Lyricist Dermot Condron explains, “What do you do when the band breaks up, the affair comes to an end, the business plan doesn’t work out? Sometimes it seems there is only ‘One Way To Ride’. You can say it all in less than 3 minutes if it feels right.”
The songs are available on all digital platforms and are accompanied by videos for both songs.
Irish Doctor Conor Waters, is proud to announce the release of his newest music video for his latest single ‘Losing You’, under his musical alias, Stepping On Lego. Hailing from Co. Mayo, the electronic pop artist wrote the track while struggling with working through a long-distance relationship.
‘Losing You’ followed the release of his last single ‘An Honest Lie’, which was released in June of this year. It was accompanied by the bonus track ‘Secrets’, an instrumental piece consisting of piano and string accompaniment.
“The track was written about a year and a half ago” Waters explains of the tracks origins, “I was living in Galway at the time and my girlfriend was living in Dublin. We have spent the past 4 years in a long-distance relationship so it was written at a time when that was becoming challenging and frustrating. My girlfriend is also a doctor and as a result we move around a lot and spend a lot of time apart”.
The track incorporates vintage analog synthesizers with a digital wavetable synthesizer. The majority of the synth sounds present in the instrumentation were designed by Waters from scratch, making producing the song a deeply immersive and satisfying experience whilst also being a unique experience from a sound design point of view.
The music video is made up of vintage movie clips and was developed by blending unlicensed footage from old movies to the rhythm of the music. “The idea was to use footage of people dancing with the rhythm of the song while also telling the story behind the song, such as a couple arguing and then dancing at the end” Conor explained, “I deliberately used footage where the appearance of the video was in contrast to the vibe of the music, ie. old style movies dancing to a modern electro pop song”.
Waters is a classically trained pianist and he has been playing piano since he was 7 years old, as a teenager he learned the guitar and drums and began professional vocal training. He studied Medicine in NUI Galway and currently works as a doctor in Galway. While in university in Galway, he was the keyboard player with the well-known Irish act ‘Rofi James’.
Conor began producing five years ago under the mentorship of Dave Skelton, with whom he co-produces all his material. Priding himself on producing cinematic electric pop, Conor focuses on sound design using a wide variety of synthesisers and combines them with acoustic elements such as piano and strings.
With an EP in the works set for release in 2021, his unique blend of electro neo-classical pop looks set to dominate the landscape for months to come.
The music video of ‘Losing You’ was released on Friday, 18th of December.
Stephen James Smith releases a brand-new track ‘May You’ featuring Kormac and Jess Kav, commissioned by Avolon.
With what has been a challenging year for everyone, artist Stephen James Smith had 52 show cancellations in total, his first European tour called off, however he is grateful to have some jobs come his way through copywriting and voice overwork.
‘May You’ came about when Stephen James Smith had a chance meeting with Dómhnal Slattery, the CEO of Avolon at a charity fundraiser for Cill Rialaig Arts Centre which Stephen was performing at. Dómhnal was instantly moved by Stephen’s work as an artist and that connection led to this collaboration.
Dómhnal Slattery passion for art is evident and he feels Irish businesses urgently need to support Irish art and artists. This is something that Avolon has a record of doing with numerous examples of Irish paintings, sculptures and photos displayed in their office building. He gave Stephen carte blanche to write what he wanted and was supportive throughout the process.
Stephen comments on his writing process for ‘May You’, “Something that was at the top of the page on the final draft was ‘it doesn’t have to be difficult’, I’ve found on occasion I can overthink things too much, and truth and simplicity can be more powerful than something contrived and pretentious.”
Speaking specifically about the creative process, Stephen explains: “Overall there’s a meditative quality to what we’ve created which I hope acts as a balm for the audience. This is at least for me, something that we need to hear right now. Well, it’s something I need to hear anyway, and there’s always a balancing act between putting enough of yourself in the creative process while also remaining true to the message.“
“As famous Seamus Heaney would say “the end of art is peace”, this is what this art is reaching for, some kind of inner peace in a year where we can easily feel conflicted.”
Stephen has collaborated with Irish artists Kormac and Jess Kav on this track.
It’s not very often a song recorded in Co.Leitrim gets this kind of a reaction from such a titan in the music industry. However this is exactly what happened when The Vibes sent a demo to the LA based producer of a new Christmas song they were just after writing called ‘Christmas Feels Different This Year’.
“Stunning – let it out to the world as soon as possible.” – Greg Wells (GRAMMY Award Winner for “The Greatest Showman” / Elton John / Katy Perry / Taylor Swift / Andrew Lloyd Webber / Celine Dion)
Infact Greg liked the song so much he asked the band if he could produce it and mix it for them, all free of charge. Stunned at even getting a response, the band excitedly agreed and 1 week later, in a whirlwind of disbelief, ‘Christmas Feels Different’ is going out to the world.
Leo Logan the lead singer/songwriter in the band explains –
“I wrote the song about how different Christmas will be this year for so many families due to both friends and family passing away from Covid-19, but also because of the people and their families who won’t get to spend Christmas together this year due to distance.
We know we have missed all normal deadlines for releasing a Christmas song, but we felt something special seemed to be happening with this song. It has received such emotional responses from anyone who has heard it. So much so, we have decided to just let it out and see where it goes…
In such crazy times we just hope it can mean as much to someone who hears it as it does to us.”