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Exciting days for Lost Chord with launch of new CD

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Galway based synth-rock quintet Lost Chord launch their debut EP at the Róisín Dubh on Thursday next, January 28. Lost Chord began as a one-man project but lead singer David soon began to add other members.

“It started off with me just playing on my own with the laptop,” he says. “Then, at a random house party in Galway – lots of drunk talk – me and [guitarist] Fuz said we’d start playing together.”

David and Fuz played some shows as a duo and then augmented the line up with bassist Darren and drummer Yoseph. Their newest member is Aidan, who plays synths and electronics.

“It was the two of us playing for a while,” David recalls. “We really wanted a drummer and eventually it came together but there was no putting ads in the paper. It came together bit by bit.”

When it comes to rehearsing it’s very easy for Lost Chord to organise themselves.

“Me, Fuz and Aidan live together,” says their front man. “Darren, the bassist, and Yoseph, the drummer, live together. If it was one house, it’d be one big happy family!”

When it came to looking for gigs Lost Chord landed on their feet. David had played some solo shows at the Róisín Dubh and then he and Fuz played at Strange Brew, the venue’s weekly alternative night.

“We’ve been so lucky with gigs,” says Fuz. “We’ve gotten some phenomenal supports. Even from the very early stages; me and Dave got Islands, Port O’Brien. As a band we had the New York Dolls, the xx and Fujiya & Miyagi. It’s stupid, like!”

The xx were one of the breakthrough acts of 2009, making many critics’ end-of-year lists and having their debut chosen as album of the year by The Guardian newspaper. Tickets for their Galway show last year were snapped up quickly. Opening for the London band at that gig was a coup for Lost Chord.

“That was Aidan’s first gig with us,” Fuz recalls.

“A baptism of fire,” adds David.

“It was very exciting, even just watching them sound check at the start. I’m a very big fan,” says Aidan.

Lost Chord’s guitarist had a different experience of the night, perhaps encountering how some bands react to fame.

“They were a no-go [area],” says Fuz. “We were in the same room with them for over an hour, with sound checks, and I’ m fairly sure we didn’t say anything to them. It was just a definite no-no.”

“I think they’re naturally just quite shy,” Aidan says in defence of the xx. “Even on stage they don’t really interact. It works for them.”

So how do Lost Chord approach songwriting, given the fact they’ve gone from a one-man band to a five-piece outfit?

“It’s different for different songs,” says David. “Sometimes I’ll come in, sometimes we’ll write one together. We wrote one on Shop Street. We had no money for beer so we just went busking.”

“It was the one and only time!” counters Fuz. “We were just jamming away and we came up with one.”

So did they make enough money for a six-pack?

“We did – and cigarettes as well!” laughs David.

“I tell you what made us the money was doing a cover of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme music,” adds Fuz, who is resolute about not becoming a fulltime street performer. “We’re not hardy enough to be busking at this time of year!”

Working behind the bar in the Róisín has allowed David to learn a lot about stagecraft, seeing what works (and what doesn’t) in the live arena.

“If you’re seeing a band every night of the week, which I was when I was working fulltime, you really start to get sick of anything that’s in any way normal,” he says. “Even a band you thought was good; maybe they start to lose freshness.”

For more, read page 28 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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