Arts Week with Judy Murphy
“I never set out to make singing my career and to take on music as a way of making my living. I was led and guided and kicked here,” says Seán Keane with a hearty laugh as he explains why he has given his forthcoming album the simple but heartfelt title, Gratitude.
Recorded with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Gratitude contains several favourites of Seán’s as well as new songs which he has co-written, including the title track, a love paean in the vein of Van Morrison’s Coney Island, which is acknowledged in the opening line.
Gratitude was recorded in February and Seán is putting the finishing touches to it ahead of its launch, which will take place on June 15. The popular Caherlistrane man has a busy schedule for the next few months, including a series of concerts in An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Middle Street, one of Galway City’s finest venues.
Seán’s first experience of An Taibhdhearc was during his early teens when the late Mick Lally, subsequently one of Druid Theatre’s co-founders, was teaching in Tuam. Mick, an Irish-speaker from Tourmakeady, was organising a show in the city’s Irish language theatre and knew Seán played music. “He asked me to play a few tunes for it,” recalls Seán, who did and had a ball.
However, he hadn’t been back there in decades, until he took part in the Galway Bay Radiothon fundraiser last year. On that occasion Seán was very taken with the 150-seater space and felt it would be ideal for a summer residency. The then Artistic Director, Anne McCabe, was equally enthusiastic and he began in mid-May, performing new and familiar material.
“It changes around every night but there are a few regulars that people want, like Galway to Graceland, Home Away from Home and Isle of Hope. They’ll always feature and then we’ll play around with the other ones,” he says of the shows.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.