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Bluegrass on menu at Monroe’s from diverse Lands End

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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.

 

Connacht Tribune

Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks

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The Clockworks...supporting Pixies on September tour.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.

Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.

In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.

On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.

With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.

“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.

“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.

“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘World in a Window’ – a unique perspective of lockdown life

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Helium Artist Chelsea Canavan, Galway-based artist and parent Yvonne Cullivan and her son at the launch of Helium Arts’ ‘Our World in a Window’ exhibition at Galway City Library. PHOTO: ANITA MURPHY.

A new exhibition, Our World in a Window, which is currently running in Galway City, focuses on the experiences of children who have been living with long-term health conditions during lockdown

Facilitated by Helium Arts, the national children’s arts and health charity, the exhibition features animations and mechanised artwork produced by young people from across Ireland who took part in Helium’s remote programme ‘Distance Creates’.

Our World in a Window can be seen until August 4 at Galway City Library before it goes on tour to Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Longford.

Since last February, children aged 9-12 who are living with long-term health conditions have been exploring the world of animation, guided by Helium artist, Chelsea Canavan. From tinfoil and claymation characters to foam sculptures and hand-drawn illustrations, these young creators have brought their stories to life in unique and imaginative ways.

The origins of Our World in a Window date back to the beginning of Covid. That was when Helium Arts began adapting its usual in-person programmes, moving to digital and postal formats to allow vulnerable young people to be creative from the safety of their homes. The goal was to offer respite during a time of social distancing and to support the youngsters’ mental health, which is part of Helium’s brief.

In non-Covid times, Helium Arts supports sick children via arts-based projects in hospital, community and public settings. More than 5,000 children and their families have availed of its service since 2010.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

126 Gallery fundraising for new studio spaces

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126 Gallery and Studios, based in St Bridget’s Place in Galway City

The artist-run 126 Gallery and Studios, based in St Bridget’s Place in Galway City, has established a satellite studio space on nearby Saint Francis Street, in response to members’ need for working spaces that are affordable, secure and easy to access. The new Barton Studios will host four studio spaces and the artists using them will have access to 126’s main facilities.

Submissions for Barton Studios and any further spaces are open to current members of 126, in recognition of those artists and creatives who have supported the members-run gallery over the past 16 years.

The group is currently raising money to fit out the studios and because normal methods such as table-quizzes and its ‘drink and draw’ nights are out of bounds, the 126 steering committee has turned to GoFundMe to try and raise €2,000, which is what they estimate it will cost.

If any extra money is raised, it will be used to subsidise the rest of costs for the studios to artists for the remainder of 2021. Some €1,800 would be needed to lower the rent to €50 per week for each artist. A breakdown of all costs will be posted on 126gallery.com and made available to donors.

Initially, the studios will have a communal computer, a private workspace with wi-fi, and access to all resources at 126’s main facility, just six minutes’ walk away. Active studio members will have free 126 membership.  The mission of 126 is to support its members to work and to access opportunities, supports, and spaces. With that in mind, the gallery team is available for one-to-one conversations to facilitate group engagement between both facilities, or with other organisations in Galway.

To contribute, go to www.gofundme.com/f/barton-studios-2021. For more information on how to get involved, email contactg126@gmail.com.

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