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Choice Prize shows Irish music industry in rude good health



Date Published: {J}

There’s nothing like an awards show to get people talking. Since its foundation in 2005, the Choice Music Prize has become a focal point for the Irish music industry.

This year’s Meteor Choice Music Prize took place in the Olympia on Thursday last. All ten acts who were nominated for album of the year were slated to perform, and the event was compered by Today FM’s Paul McLoone. As techies scurried busily on the stage, he introduced the opening act.

Tieranniesaur are a seven-piece Dublin based outfit that play a kind of indie/dance fusion that will be familiar to fans of LCD Soundsystem. Their bass player was entertainingly loose-limbed but, overall, the performance lacked punch. However, this is a young band who are still finding their feet, and the nomination for their self-titled debut is impressive in itself.

Next up were We Cut Corners, an act that McLoone said made “other bands look overstaffed”. And it’s true – there are only two of them! Lead singer Conall Ó Breacháin stood stage centre and unleashed an impressive voice, while John Duignan backed him on electric guitar. It was a canny move, and Ó Breacháin drew the crowd in. For the next song, he sat behind the drum kit and let loose – while singing. Duignan matched him for noise and when the songs ended the crowd are whooping. If the prize were based on live performance, these guys would have to be a shoe-in.

The Japanese Popstars are an electronic trio from Derry. The banks of equipment that were wheeled on stage pointed to the diversity the Choice Prize aims to celebrate – music made on computers is as valid as that made on a guitar. Two tracks were played from Controlling Your Allegiance and while it was hard for dance music to connect with a largely seated audience, you could imagine The Japanese Popstars going down a bomb in a tent at the Electric Picnic.

Up next were Cashier No. 9, a Belfast based six-piece who were among the favourites to scoop this year’s prize. To The Death Of Fun has a bright, Californian feel to it and was one of 2011’s most lauded Irish releases.

Bringing to mind the vocal harmonies of The Byrds, Cashier No. 9 still bring something original to the table. Their songs catch the ear, and hopefully they’ll get plenty of airtime this year. Live, they were slick and impressive with percussionist Phillip Wallace looking dapper in a bowler hat while taking a harmonica solo. They will play Galway on April 21, when they visit the Róisín Dubh and are well worth checking out.

This year, a new element was introduced to the Meteor Choice Music Prize – the award for Song of the Year. It had a Galway interest, with The Kanyu Tree’s Radio deservedly in contention. Unfortunately, the McCluskey brothers were pipped by Royseven for their song We Should be Lovers. There was some confusion as to whether Royseven were actually in the Olympia, and the techies were soon back on stage to prepare for the next act.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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