The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell
With members from Ireland, England and Germany, Lands End are a six-piece bluegrass outfit who play Monroe’s Live this Friday, June 14th. The band met last April at Sore Fingers, an annual bluegrass workshop in Oxfordshire in the south-east of England. Part of the week-long workshop involved forming a ‘scratch band’, and that led to Lands End being formed.
“A scratch band is something you do for fun on the Thursday night,” says lead singer and guitarist Hubert Murray. “You put your name down, and then they delegate everyone. They try and get a banjo player, a guitarist and a singer in every band.
“I knew Bruno [Pichler, dobro] from doing open mic nights in London. We all came together at Sore Fingers, and we heard each other play in the jams that were going on. Richie [Foley], the mandolin player, came over to me. We did the Thursday night scratch band slot and got a great response.”
Lands End’s line up is completed by Paddy Kiernan (banjo), Sam Rose (double bass) and Sam Draper (fiddle). A few weeks after forming, Lands End had their first festival slot at the Didmarton Bluegrass festival.
“The organisers of Sore Fingers run it,” explains Hubert. “It’s one of the biggest bluegrass festivals in England. They really liked it, said there was a great vibe and feel, something different. We said we’d try and get a few more gigs, and it all lifted off then. One thing led to another and we’ve been gigging ever since.”
Originally hailing from Williamstown in Galway, Hubert Murray is currently living in London. But geographically, Lands End are a diverse bunch.
“We’re all over the place!” laughs Hubert. “Richie is in Cork, Paddy the banjo player is in Dublin, there are two of us based in London, and there’s another fella from Gloucestershire.”
Lands End have just released their debut EP, The Border Sessions, which was recorded in Bruno Pichler’s family home in Bavaria.
“Bruno has a recording studio in his basement,” says Hubert. “He and his brother had it for fun. They had all these old mics that were very, very good.
“We all flew over to Germany, and it was recorded over a few days in January. It was right in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, some spot. Once we had that all done, Bruno took over the mixing of it. We got it mastered then by a friend in Bath.”
Although he is well used to playing live, being in the studio was initially daunting for Hubert.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Maeve named as Film Fleadh programmer
Limerick woman Maeve McGrath has been named as the new Director of Programming for Galway Film Fleadh, taking over from Will Fitzgerald. She will be responsible for curating this year’s festival, which will run from July 11-16.
She previously worked as artistic director of Kerry International Film Festival, producer at Carlow Arts Festival and joint short film programmer at Dublin International Film Festival.
Maeve is involved with Limerick’s artist-led, community-focused facility, The GAFF where she recently curated a community audio/visual project, Tiny Little Histories, and produced TravFest, a Traveller wellness festival as part of Guth na Mincéirí.
She has a Master’s in Media Studies from Limerick’s Mary I/UL, graduating in 2015 with the thesis, Irish Short Film: The Road To Oscar.
“The Fleadh has a very special place on the film festival circuit, nationally and internationally, and I am delighted to be part of the team that will programme the 35th edition,” she stated.
“I forward to being part of the continued growth of the Galway Film Fleadh and supporting the development of emerging and established filmmakers.”
Mystery of Wolfe Tone’s death
Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan will be at the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday next, February 2, with The Murder of Wolfe Tone, the incredible story of the mysterious death of Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of the 1798 Rebellion and the man who is regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.
In this audio-visual show featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and a vast array of songs, Paddy works to unravel the secrets and lies around what happened that fateful week in Dublin’s Provost’s Prison in November 1798 when 35-year-old Tone was found dead in his cell.
Tickets for The Murder of Wolfe Tone, which starts at 8pm are €20/18, plus a €1 booking charge. They are available at tht.ie, 091-569777 and at the Town Hall Theatre Box Office.
Funnyman Neil brings latest show to Athenry
Comedian Neil Delamere will bring his new show, Delamerium, to the Raheen Woods Hotel in Athenry on Saturday, February 18.
Audiences can expect hilarious stories, wry observations and quick-witted improvisation as Neil tries to makes sense of the world around him.
Neil is one of the top acts working in the Irish comedy scene today, well-known to audiences for his regular television appearances on RTÉ and BBC, as well as his hilarious sell-out stand up tours.
His shows have received stellar reviews and resulted in several platinum-selling DVDs, while Neil has also written and presented comedy documentaries including programmes on the Vikings and St Patrick which won IFTA and Celtic Media awards.
He also presented a series on heroes from Ireland’s past, Holding out for a Hero, on RTÉ 2.
He’s a regular on BBC Northern Ireland’s popular panel show, The Blame Game, as well as being a panellist on BBC 5 Live’s Fighting Talk and has featured on BBC 4’s The News Quiz.
According to the Irish Times, ‘no TV camera could accurately measure the lightning speed of Delamere’s wit’, while the Scotsman awarded him five stars during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, stating: ‘You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more gifted comic at the Fringe.’
He continues to tour at home and abroad and audiences can catch his latest show, Delamerium, on February 18 in Athenry.
Tickets for Delamerium are available from the hotel or at ticketsolve.ie