On the day that the pandemic first made headline news in Ireland, Maria Kelly received a voice note from her friend Martha: “It might be the end of the world but, like, it’s fine.”
To Maria, who had just moved back from Berlin to her native Ireland, it was a sentiment that was the perfect addition to a song she’d just finished. So much so that ‘Martha’ became the namesake of the first single Maria will release in over a year, due out on Wednesday 7th April via VETA Music.
“I wrote the song just after I returned from Berlin and was taking stock of just how much had changed in my life throughout my early 20s. Here I was, having just had this really formative experience, disillusioned and directionless again. Not only that, but I was no longer the version of myself that had left Ireland – and not quite who I wanted to be yet either – just stuck in this floaty, in-between with a version of myself that I wasn’t quite used to yet,” says Maria of the new single.
“The voice note Martha sent me felt like the perfect addition to the song, and it also gave me a chance to laugh at the fact that we have very little control over things we try so hard to control. This past year has felt like one big ‘in-between’ that we’re all trying to muddle our way through, so ‘Martha’ is about dealing with change and all that comes with it; regret, nostalgia, uncertainty, fear – but also acceptance and lightheartedness,” she continues.
Maria Kelly’s world of delicately woven alt-folk is laced with a sincerity that cuts to the bone. Finding comfort in the confessional styles of artists like Regina Spektor, Daughter, and Lucy Rose, she soon transferred her own introspections to music, developing a sound that is as delicate as it is disarmingly frank.
A number of critically acclaimed releases on Veta Records have been accompanied by shows across Europe supporting the likes of James Vincent McMorrow, KT Tunstall, and Paul Noonan (Bell X1). Maria quickly became known for her heart-wrenching live performances, unassuming humour, and a ‘pin-drop’ vocal that is impossible to ignore. Maria’s work has continued to gain momentum internationally, rallying support from Mahogany, Consequence of Sound, and The Line Of Best Fit along the way.
After laying a foundation in the Irish music scene, Maria relocated to Berlin in 2018, a life-changing move that inspired her four-track EP, ‘notes to self’. Her stint in Germany saw her join All The Luck In The World on a month-long European tour, followed by her debut TV appearance on Other Voices Ballina. Maria finished up the year with two sold-out shows supporting Villagers.
2019 saw the release of ‘i leave early’ – a captivating track that showcases Maria’s continued development as an artist and one which quickly garnered more than a million streams on Spotify.
With the world at a standstill, 2020 saw Maria retreating to a small cottage on the south coast of Ireland. During this quiet in-between, Maria has found space to write and record her eagerly anticipated debut album – a blank canvas and an open sea with which to take stock and reflect on her 20s so far. Produced remotely by Matt Harris, the first single ‘Martha’, is set for release on Wednesday 7th April.
Colum Jordan (CADA) is a musician, producer, graphic designer and visual artist from Dublin Ireland.
‘Liminal V’, released 16/4/21, was recorded and produced in CADA’s home in Dublin 8 during the various stages of lockdown.
With rich soundscapes, complex arrangements and abrasive rhythms it carries on from where Muloc left off.
CADA utilises synths, drum machines and traditional instruments in equal measure during the course of the album to fluidly traverse genres.
The tracks themselves move between impassioned and the absurd dealing with themes of liminality and uncertainty. This is compounded by the title and cover artwork (CADA’s front door).
‘Liminal V’ will be released on the 16th of April on Bandcamp and the usual streaming services.
Irish composer Eimear Quinn has been voted in to the the Classic FM “Hall of Fame” 2021 with her piece ‘In Paradisum’
Classic FM’s “Hall of Fame” is the world’s biggest poll of classical music tastes. It is broadcast annually over the four days of the Easter Weekend.
First broadcast in 1996 the show counts down the 300 most-popular pieces as voted for by listeners, culminating in the number one on the evening of Easter Monday.
Quinn ranks as one of only five female composers in the 2021 chart, alongside Clara Schumann, Debbie Wiseman, Yoko Shimomura and Phamie Gow.
“It’s a true honour to stand with these women; Clara Schumann, Debbie Wisemann, Yoko Shimomura, Phamie Gow.
It’s encouraging, and also against the grain, that we are 4 living composers along with Schumann. I’m grateful that Classic FM has brought us to their listeners.”
‘In Paradisum’ is recorded with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and features on Quinn’s 2020 release ‘Ériu’.
It is the final movement of Quinn’s “Requiem for a Promised Child” which is near completion and due to premiere in 2022.
‘New Light’ is the new single from Dublin-based group Sun Collective, featuring contributions from world-renowned vocalist Lisa Hannigan, Australian flautist Lina Andonovska, and saxophonist Nick Roth.
Produced by Ross Turner (Lisa Hannigan, Villagers), and recorded by Ber Quinn (John Grant, Divine Comedy), ‘New Light’ features a bespoke artwork commission from Cork’s visual artist Sophie Gough.
Speaking about the song, the band’s front man Caimin Gilmore says: “I had been listening to a lot of Adrienne Lenker’s solo work before writing ‘New Light’. I wanted to somehow replicate the richness of her guitar recordings and cross pollinate it with arrangements like Nico Muhly’s on Sam Amidon’s record ‘I See the Sign’. I included a Nashville strung Guitar, and asked two of my good friends, contemporary classical musicians Lina Andonovska (bass flute) and Nick Roth (alto-sax), to improvise over the track. The result is a bastardisation of the two influences that I think created this very internal and dream like song.
It also features vocals from songwriter Lisa Hannigan, whom I have been fortunate to work with for a number of years and who gratefully lent her beautiful voice to the arrangement.”
‘New Light’ is the second of three singles shared in the run-up to, and in conjunction with, the groups’ appearance on award-winning and internationally acclaimed Irish music series, Other Voices, April 15th on RTÉ 2 television. For U.K viewers on RTÉ player, & subsequently on Other Voices YouTube.
Website :: https://www.suncollective.ie
Facebook :: https://www.facebook.com/suncollectiveensemble/
Twitter :: https://twitter.com/suncollective_
Instagram :: https://www.instagram.com/suncollectiveband/
Elgin release their brand new single ‘Oh Love’ on Friday, April 9th 2021 and is the latest track to be taken from their forthcoming album ‘Weightless / Still’ out on May 28th via Pixie Pace Records (ARC Music Productions International).
‘Oh Love’ opens the beautiful atmospheric indie-folk record, which incorporates a wide range of instrumentation with lush guitars, synths, keys, brass and more, all enveloped in decadent vocal harmonies creating a vast, expansive sound.
The tracks on ‘Weightless / Still’ tackle themes of defeats, epiphanies, minor victories, smaller blessings and daily awkwardness, such as the idea of imposter syndrome in the lead single ‘Cherry Picked’, with its perfectly weighted line “You wanted a falcon, I gave you a finch”.
The Dublin duo Anthony Furey and Paul Butler came together and travelled the breadth of the globe as the acclaimed collective The Young Folk and now with ‘Weightless / Still’ they continue their musical journey under the name Elgin.
Elgin is a natural progression and represents a new direction for the band. Whilst still centred around the key contributing members of The Young Folk, Elgin gives them the freedom to play different instruments, to untangle themselves from the steady rotation of band members and get back to the simplicity of a duo, just like it was in the beginning.
“You can be any age with it,” says Anthony. “And you can play in any style you like and write lyrics about any subject under the sun.”
Anthony and Paul wrote almost all the songs for The Young Folk, Anthony often drawing inspiration from writers and poets – George Orwell, Seamus Heaney, Charles Bukowski and Colum McCann. Especially Colum McCann. But it just so happens that most of the material on Weightless / Still is Paul’s.
“I was in the right frame of mind,” Paul says. “Well… actually in the wrong frame of mind, but the right one to come up with all these ideas.” New ways, born of sleep deprivation, to express self-doubt, anxiety, loss and letting go of the past. “Things that I feel uncomfortable talking about,” he admits.
When Paul’s uncle, the filmmaker Brendan Bourke, died suddenly a few years ago, it hit hard. Paul found himself deprived of the comfort that religion afforded other members of the family. “I was quite envious that they could say ‘he’s in a better place, he’s not in pain’. It’s a great concept, but I don’t believe in it at all. And I was angry at this. Like, what am I supposed to do?” Those feelings form the lyrical backbone of ‘Oh Love’.
The album also looks at reaching a low point and remembering the low point before that one, and the low point before that in the song ‘Stone’s Throw’, which Paul says was, “A bit of a eureka moment for me”. Or the feeling of not being able to help somebody anymore (‘Bulletproof’), or sitting in the garden and letting the mind wander (‘Apple Tree’), or broken love (‘Fault Lines’), or feeling lost and clueless at the end of a relationship (‘Hopeless Swimmer’, written by Anthony).
Then there’s ‘Sloe’, a song inspired by Colum McCann’s short story Fishing the Sloe Black River, which was turned into a film by Paul’s uncle, Brendan. “Everything in that song is about something completely different – trips, love, life, holidays, friends,” he says.
The album captures so many feelings and states of mind, all aspiring ultimately perhaps to a feeling we often dream about, the feeling of being weightless and still. “As in out-of-body,” says Paul. “The feeling that we never have.”
ELKIN have just released latest single ‘Tuesday’. The duo team up again with Ivor-Novello nominated producer lullahush in this cool-girl banger about an anti-climactic breakup.
“Our last song was kinda deep. This song isn’t deep at all. Who breaks up with someone on a fucking Tuesday? Obviously a messy break-up is emotionally draining, but the drama of it all can be gas as you retell the stories to your girlies. But when the break-up is as boring and predictable as the relationship itself, you’re left thinking – ‘I didn’t even get a good story out of that’.”
Tuesday is Part 2 of ‘ANTHOLOGY’, a collection of singles released Feb-Aug 2021.
Ellen and Carla were writing and singing together from the age of 15 before taking their music to a new level as ELKIN. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell the duo began writing and performing folk-pop, but it wasn’t until they began working with producer lullahush that ELKIN blended their love of thought-provoking folk lyrics with fierce alt-pop production.
ELKIN made their mark in 2019 with singles Green Eyes, Cut My Tongue and DIY, as well as releasing ‘Fall So Easy’, a collaboration with Cork producer 1000 Beasts. The self-managed duo have received growing support with ELKIN being selected to perform at showcases such as Whelan’s Ones to Watch, Music Cork and Ireland Music Week.
2020 saw O’Mahony and Ryan continuing this momentum with new release ‘Win Win’ alongside performances at OutPut Showcase in Belfast and Other Voices Music Trail, Ballina. With the Covid pandemic putting a halt to their other plans, the duo spent the rest of the year writing and recording a collection of singles, ‘ANTHOLOGY’, which will be released Feb – Aug 2021. This will be followed by an EP release funded by the FMC Recording Stimulus Grant.
Seba Safe strips it back with his beautifully folk infused debut EP ‘Map Runner EP’ (02/04) and accompanying video for lead track ‘Map Runner’.
One of Ireland’s most interesting talents to emerge in 2020 is Seba Safe, who follows the success of his single ‘In Waiting’ on Paragon Records by releasing his debut EP the ‘Map Runner’ EP (02/04).
Writing candidly and honestly on personal relationships, love, loss and change, Seba Safe’s pertinent lyrics are wrapped in a sound that combines Pop, Folk, Dance and R’n’B with inspirations spanning from the sparse folk pop of Maggie Rodgers, Big Thief and Julien Baker to the more modern production of Dermot Kennedy and Lil Peep.
With an artistic range that saw him collaborate with Æ MAK on ‘I Dance In The Kitchen’, the track saw heavy radio and DSP support including being named ‘Track Of The Day’ on KEXP.
2021 sees Seba Safe securing solid DSP editorial support across his releases to date, selling out a second headline show in Dublin’s The Grand Social (20/11/21), and garnering significant airplay support from BBC 6 Music, RTE 2FM (including Record of the Week from Tracy Clifford), RTE Radio 1 playlisting amongst many others.
“The ‘Map Runner EP’ was written and recorded at a time where I wasn’t confident in my music or myself. I had just gone through a significant break up and I was really struggling with the fact I hadn’t done anything with my music. The aim of this release is to celebrate growth and to acknowledge the past. These songs might not necessarily be my current sound or represent the person I am now but they are a huge part of my journey and I feel proud to finally release them. I owe this release to the version of myself who went through everything it took to write. These songs used to make me feel sad when I listened to them but now I understand their value and their importance to my personal growth. This EP for me is as much about moving on now as it was then. I hope you enjoy the songs.
P.s Things get better and life goes on.” – Seba Safe
Seba Safe, The Grand Social, Dublin, November 20th 2021 (Headline show with MCD)
Sarah Hickey is known for her reflective, ethereal yet earthy music.
After immersing herself in songwriting and performance, the Cork based artist is now in her second year of a Masters degree in performance. She is collating her own songs after years of crafting and developing her sound.
Sarah Hickey is about to release her second single ‘Free’ on 30th April, as a follow up to her recent debut single ‘Hollow’. She has performed in many venues throughout Ireland singing her own music and has provided backing vocals for various Irish artists. 2020 afforded Sarah the time to delve into more introspective work which has lead to an exciting new chapter in her musical development.
‘Escape’ is the latest solo single by Cork singer/ songwriter Pete Mac. Featuring the guest vocals of iconic musician/ artist Lisa Papineau.
The track was written during the Covid lockdown period with Pete experimenting with different sounds. The track’s theme is about escaping into a world within a world.
‘Escape’ takes a different direction to Pete Mac’s previous acoustic solo endeavors, creating a dark wall of melodies and sounds which are enhanced by the haunting vocals of Lisa Papineau.
Lisa has released four solo albums, and is the songwriter and vocalist for Los Angeles band Big Sir alongside musician Juan Alderete. Papineau is a frequent collaborator of Japanese composer Jun Miyake and has also written songs for and recorded with other bands and solo artists, including Air, M83, Halo Orbit, ME & LP, Renaud-Gabriel Pion, Jam Da Silva, Dinho Ouro Preto, Anubian Lights, Farflung, P.O.D., Omar Rodríguez-López, Scapegoat Wax, Scenario Rock, Arman Méliès, Mandrake, Sissy Bar, and Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians.
Papineau received initial recognition when her band Pet, co-founded with composer Tyler Bates, was featured on The Crow: City of Angels soundtrack, and later the Blue Note Records soundtrack for The Last Time I Committed Suicide. Pet’s self-titled album was executive-produced by Tori Amos.
Pete Mac is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of Irish based Alternative Rock/Grunge outfit Paradox. Not your typical Singer/Songwriter Pete Mac has branched out from his band Paradox and taken his Alternative melodies and musical frustrations to his solo endeavors. Paradox have been a band since 1997, formed in Cork, Ireland by brothers Pete and Mike Mac. With four albums officially recorded and released (‘Chapters’ in 2015, ‘Corporate Pollution’ in 2010, ‘Sacred’ in 2004 and ‘Circle of Growth’ in 2000 on US indie label), as well as a solo album in 2009 titled ‘In Limbo’, a few trips to the USA, shows, studios, more shows in Europe and a few solo performances in between Paradox have been kept busy. 2020 saw Pete returning to his solo endeavors with the digital release of various cover versions and the release of his first original single titled ‘Disappear’ in over 10 years.
Pete Mac/ Paradox Discography on Bandcamp – https://paradoxgrunge.bandcamp.com/music
Pete Mac on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/petemacparadox
Pete Mac on Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/3rQYBq9v6iZ1H5m6NW0C4A?si=gUZMt5QVSJWvKPSX2neTfw
Pete Mac Paradox on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/petemacparadox
Paradox on Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/paradoxirishband
Paradox/Pete Mac Videos on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/paradoxrock
On Friday 9th April, singer-songwriter Robert John Ardiff will release his new album, ‘The Corridors of Love’. The 10-track LP is the second solo album from the former member of Choice Music Prize-nominated band, Come On, Live Long.
Today, Friday 2nd April, sees the release of the third single from the album. ‘Miles Away’ follows previous singles ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Tightrope Walker’ – both of which received strong support from press and radio in Ireland as well as on digital streaming platforms.
‘The Corridors of Love’ is a deeply moving album of beautifully crafted songs that concern themselves with highly emotive themes: despair, love, anxiety and hopefulness.
“The album is a love song to the forgotten; the left behind. I wrote the songs over the past year, while I was looking around at the city I live in, thinking, ‘what the hell is going on and where has the soul from this place gone?’ And I don’t just mean because of the pandemic. The anxiety that people feel because they can’t afford a house or a place to rent, when they are living paycheck to paycheck, when they are trying to create art or raise children or buy food – and the people in charge don’t seem to care for them,” says Ardiff. “The idea came about after reading a book by Deborah Levy entitled ‘The Cost of Living’ in which she describes the apartment she lives in as ‘the corridors of love’. So I took this idea and tried to tell the stories of the people behind these doors and incorporate it with my own personal experience.”
Indeed, if you listen closely to the 10 tracks that comprise ‘The Corridors of Love’, you will hear the sounds of assorted buildings and distant street scenes as Ardiff recorded the album incrementally between different cities, mainly Dublin, New York and Copenhagen.
“The main reason for the album being recorded in different places and cities was due to the Covid lockdown,” explains Ardiff. “Most studios weren’t operating during the second half of 2020 so the only thing to do, and to limit my family’s contacts, was to travel from place to place with my equipment and record the players in their own houses. The bass on most of the record was done above a chipper on Capel Street in Dublin; the guitarist in my band is based in Copenhagen and he has a friend with a studio there so he cut some of the electric with him; the oldest track on the record ‘Public Taxes’ was recorded in New York when I was there to play Mondo Music week in October 2019.”
Ardiff says that recording the record in this way has given him more pause for thought than he might otherwise have had. It gave him the space to really listen, edit and arrange the songs over time, rather than being under pressure to make decisions quickly as you would often have to do in a studio setting. It has also added to the texture of the album with the places it was recorded in sneaking into certain tracks like the sound of an ambulance passing, a dog barking or a radio frequency coming through an amp.
These raw sonic textures were then given the mixing treatment by GRAMMY award-winning engineer and producer, Ruadhri Cushnan, who has worked with the likes of Little Green Cars, Half Moon Run and Guillemots. “I wanted to blend my guerilla recording techniques with his mixing ability and he totally got that,” says Ardiff.
Ardiff’s first album, ‘Between the Bed and Room’, released in January 2018, garnered praise from the likes of Nialler9, who called it “soothing and emotive, reflecting the honest sound that Ardiff set out to depict” and The Last Mixed Tape who noted its “washing howls of texture.”
Since then, Ardiff has gone on to write for television after John Carney (formerly of The Frames and director of films such as Once and Sing Street) asked him to write songs for Amazon Prime’s Modern Love which stars Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Andy Garcia and more. This in turn has led to Ardiff’s Spotify numbers rising exponentially, with single songs earning upwards of 5 million streams.
With this new record, Robert John Ardiff has laid his heart on his sleeve for us and allowed us into his world and how it has been for the past year, in particular. There’s an honesty to it that is refreshing in its openness. It’s no wonder he is often spoken about in the same breath as some of Ireland’s most well-regarded songwriters like Villagers, Joshua Burnside and Rosie Carney. This is a stunning sophomore record.