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CITY TRIBUNE

Creating musical magic — from Belgium to Inishbofin

Judy Murphy

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Philippe Robrecht with his album, 2020, which he recorded in his island studio during last year’s lockdown.

Philippe Robrecht was relaxing at home on Inishbofin a couple of weeks ago when he started getting calls and texts from his native Belgium.

The 55-year-old, who’d settled in Bofin with his wife Leen in 2017, was astonished to learn that a song he’d recorded in the early 1990s had featured in a popular talent show in his homeland.

Not only that, but the song, Magie/Magic, then went to number one in the streaming charts there.

This talent show features new interpretation of old songs and these cover versions often hit the charts, he explains. But on this occasion, it was Philippe’s original recording – which had first charted in 1993 – that reached Number 1. The cover version charted too, reaching Number 3.

Philippe, who runs a recording studio and a B&B on Inishbofin, was famous in Belgium in the 1990s, recording nine successful albums with his pop band and gigging extensively. He shared a touring agent with bands including the Levellers and the Pogues.

He’s not sure why his version of Magi went to Number 1 now, but thinks maybe it struck a chord with young people, while there are also lots of fans from the 1990s who “enjoy my music and put a value on the lyrics”.  The original was an expensive production, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra and was included on his debut album which sold 25,000 copies.

Whatever the reason, he’s happy, although he’s never cultivated fan clubs.

“I didn’t do recruiting. I hated it.”

Philippe would simply let people know when he’d released an album and after that, it was their choice whether to buy it or not. That’s something he still does today – his latest album, 2020, contains 11 new songs and 11 older ones, including Magi, all with new arrangements.

There’s been a great reaction in Belgium to Magi’s newfound success and he’s done some press and radio there.

“I enjoyed it,” he says with a laugh, adding that sometimes the least work yields the greatest rewards.

“I spend months working on an album, creating songs, rehearsing them, recording them in studio and, on occasion, you might be delighted with the result. This time, I did nothing. It was all because of a cover version.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Unselfing with TULCA over the weekend

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TULCA Festival of Visual Arts will present a programme of visual arts events this weekend to celebrate its UnSelfing programme.

UnSelfing is a series of exhibitions, performances and art events that was TULCA’s contribution to Galway 2020’s visual arts programme.

Several TULCA events took place during 2020, but Covid-19 put paid to others. Like every other arts group involved in the European Capital of Culture, the festival had to reimagine its programme.

The result is this weekend’s projects. They include a film commission, a new book and a radio play- podcast.

The World premiere of the film, entitled A Visit, A Ceremony, A Gift airs online this Friday, April 16, at 9pm. Created by artist and philosopher Elisabeth von Samsonow and curator Kate Strain, it involved commissioning work by artists from Ireland and France. The resulting collage of film, sculpture, music, sound and design explores people’s access to nature through poetry. This project has been supported by the French Embassy.

The second project is a new publication being launched on Saturday. XVIII – Stories of TULCA explores 18 years of the festival as well as its UnSelfing programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Small shops fight back in store wars

Dara Bradley

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Caroline McCarthy

A popular city boutique has threatened to re-open in breach of Covid-19 restrictions – to highlight the unfairness of supermarkets selling so-called ‘non-essential’ goods.

The proprietor of Lanidor on Eyre Street said she is ‘taking a stand’, and has urged all retailers to follow suit, unless the authorities crack-down on those bending the rules.

“This stuff about ‘oh we’re all in it together’ is a load of rubbish,” fumed Caroline McCarthy, who said the multiples were ignoring restrictions while independent retailers remain shuttered.

She said all non-essential retail should be open, or none, but the current situation was “discriminatory”.

“I’ve had it at this stage. I’ve lost it. I can’t put up with this anymore. On a point of principle and on a practical level, someone has to do something about it. It’s not that we want to open.

“We have adhered to every single one of the regulations. But we are making a stand now. We will go ahead and open, at a date to be announced, if they are not shut down. And we would call on retailers across the country to do the same,” she said.

Under public health guidelines only ‘essential’ retail outlets are permitted to open. They are not permitted to sell ‘non-essential’ goods during Level 5. This is to stop people congregating and browsing in order to limit the spread of the virus.

But large retailers such as Dunnes Stores and Marks and Spencer stand accused of selling ‘non-essential’ clothing during the pandemic, even though clothes shops should be closed.

Galway Gardaí visited stores last weekend on foot of a complaint.

A spokesperson for M&S said it was following the guidelines but the tills in its Galway store’s clothing section was staffed on Saturday.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Darragh recalls grandparents in ‘Tilly and the Postmaster’

Declan Tierney

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Darragh O'Dea.

By Declan Tierney

An album that was two years in the making and is in memory of the singer’s grandparents will be released shortly . . . and even before its release, Darragh O’Dea’s album already proving hugely popular with his loyal following.

The paternal grandparents of the accomplished Tuam singer and songwriter passed away in the past year, so he decided name the album he was making in their honour.

Darragh has performed with local bands The Coonics and Ralphs over the years, but this is his first full-length solo album. He’s funding it via the website Kickstarter and the pre-release sales have been incredibly encouraging.

It’s entitled Tilly and the Postmaster to celebrate the lives of Tilly who died in January of this year and her husband of 63 years, Neil O’Dea, who was laid to rest in May 2020.

Neil, the father of Galway footballers Jimmy, Conor and Padraic O’Dea, was the retired Postmaster in Tuam and a prominent member of the town’s GAA club.

Darragh, a born songwriter, explained he wanted to remember his late grandparents at what was a difficult time for the whole family.

His father Sean O’Dea, a member of Tuam Golf Club, is the elder statesman of the family but one who is incredibly proud of his son and mentions Darragh’s musical skills at every opportunity. His mother Carmel is an avid walker.

In a reversal of current trends, Darragh’s new album is being released on old-fashioned vinyl and CD as well as online. He has also produced a limited-edition t-shirt in conjunction with the album for those who have supported his Kickstarter campaign.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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