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DIY folkie gets the mix right for Irish tour

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell

English folk duo David Harbottle and Freya Jonas play Monroe’s Live in Galway on Thursday, February 20. Last year Harbottle released the eight track EP Dawn Breaks with Friendly Cats. David is inspired by English folk luminaries like Martin Simpson, Richard Thompson and Bellowhead.

David began playing music when he was 13, and not long after he came across a piece of equipment which set him on a path of writing and recording.

“The key for me was buying a little four track recorder, it’s the best investment I ever made,” he says. “I had a bit of a misspent youth, doing that instead of playing outside with my pals. Overdubbing, experimenting with vocals, different guitar sounds, trying to master the production side of things.”

David was playing stuff like Thin Lizzy in rock band with his friends when Damien Rice’s O  was released in 2002. It was a record that had a big effect on the young Englishman.

“Damien Rice changed my world to be honest,” David says. “That intimate sense of guitar and microphone laid bare – that’s when I decided I wanted to write my own stuff.  After that, Glen Hansard, Van Morrison – there’s definitely an Irish influence.”

Dawn Breaks was the second self-produced EP  from David Harbottle & The Friendly Cats, and continues with Harbottle’s enthusiastic DIY approach.

“We recorded all the strings, brass, vocals in my house, then we had a friend who allowed us to record the drums in a separate location,” David says. “Typically, we’ll record a live draft, and then from there we’ll have a look at how we can clean it up. In an ideal world, if I had a big budget, I’d love to be in a studio with all the instrumentalists in separate rooms, but playing it live.”

David also mixes his music, which is something that can make some musicians want to pull their hair out. Does he enjoy sitting in front of a mixing desk and computer?

“I absolutely love it!” he laughs. “I spent half a year mixing our first E.P Ferrari Girl. I went to Liverpool Univeristy, where I met a lot of the band. We spent a few weeks recording, and I spent a year mixing six tracks. I just couldn’t let it go, I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted the music to have an impact, I don’t want to give people something half arsed.”

David honed his songwriting style at university, where he shared accommodation with seven rugby players, an audience he describes as ‘unforgiving’.

“When it came around to showing them my music they’d say ‘it’s too long, it’s too emotional’,” he recalls. “I’d think hmmm, ok, how can they access it? So make it straight to the point, come it with something strong and meolodic, make it short so they’re not hanging around for ages.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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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Artists going to dogs in aid of annual auction

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Work donated to MADRA by Galway artist Grace Cunningham and Achill Island’s Padraig McCaul.

Works by some of Ireland’s top artists, including Grace Cunningham and Finbar McHugh from Galway as well as Padraig McCaul from Achill Island and Charles Harper from Valentia Island, will go under the hammer at this year’s MADRA Dog Rescue Charity Art Auction.

The popular event, which kicks off for viewing next week, will take place online year due to Covid restrictions.

The event, will open for registration and online bids next Thursday, December 3 and will remain available to view and bid online until Monday, December 7 .

The goal is to raise €3,000 to contribute towards vet bills for the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption charity. MADRA is facing major bills, all without the financial support that’s normally generated by its two charity shops – they have been closed for months this year due to the pandemic.

“We have stunning artworks available with an amazing variety of subjects and styles,” explains MADRA co-founder and director, Marina Fiddler, adding that the organisation is “honoured that so many talented artists have donated such beautiful pieces to support the homeless dogs in our care”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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Celebrating Romania on Great Union Day

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ConTempo, will perform a programme from thier native Romania for next Tuesday's lunchthime concert.

The next instalment of the lunchtime music series, From Europe with Love, will take place next Tuesday, December 1, at 1pm. Hosted by Galway Music Residency, it’s the last one for 2020.

It promises to be a special event as Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet, who are from Romania, celebrate their homeland on what’s known as Great Union Day. This national holiday marks the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

ConTempo will perform a varied programme, showcasing the best of Romanian music. This will feature works by celebrated composers George Enescu and Theodor Grigoriu alongside lesser-known musical treasures. There will be a strong folk theme throughout, making for a lively lunchtime show.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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