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Iconic group reunites for Tuam’s Sugar Beat

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Too Much For The Whiteman will play a gig at the Tuam Sugar Beat Festival

It’s been over two and a half decades since they stepped on stage together, so anticipation will be high for the return of Too Much For The Whiteman when they play the first day at this year’s Sugar Beat Festival in Tuam.

The event, which returns after a successful debut last year, takes place in Tuam Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23.

The impressive line-up includes Hometown, Ryan Sheridan, the sublime My Fellow Sponges and The Stunning.

For Too Much For The Whiteman, the concert will have an added poignancy following the recent passing of Dermot Holian.

“It was a sad day,” says lead-singer Mouse Mc Hugh.

“A couple of the boys were away [for the funeral] and they couldn’t get over for it. Der was the bass player after Stewy, Michael Stewart.”

Affectionately known in Tuam as The Whitemen, the band had their origins in the 1980s, when a young band from Shamtown left Ireland.

“We went over to England with All Cats Are Grey,” Mouse recalls.

“Myself, Cueser [Kevin McHugh], Turps [John Burke] and Alan Flynn. We were living in high-rise flats in South West London, there was a Rasta next door booming out reggae night and day. They’d all be playing records and other guys would be toasting over it. So I started toasting with them and it was great fun.”

The Cats were fired up by this new sound. “Everyone eventually wandered back from London and we started jamming,” Mouse says.

“There was a musical on in the Presentation convent and they were looking for a backing band. The Whitemen more or less started out of that!”

From the moment they arrived, Too Much For The Whiteman had a major influence locally. Noelie McDonnell, a musician who would go on to record three solo albums and be part of the acclaimed folk trio The Whileaways was a young fan.

“We used to jam in our grandfather’s house on the Weir Road, and Noelie used to sit outside on the wall and listen,” Mouse says.

“He said to me once ‘I heard you boys in there and all I wanted to do was get a guitar’.”

Further up the N17, Mouse and the band were making a noise in Galway city.

“We used to play in The Stroll Inn in Salthill every Sunday afternoon,” Mouse says.

“Great craic! There was nothing like us, no bands doing anything like that in town at all – reggae influence. We were doing a few of our own, a couple of covers.”

The band went on to record in Landsdowne Studios in Dublin, and penned a real classic in Put Your Mind at Ease. Derek Cronin eventually replaced Dermot on bass.

In 1988, Too Much For The Whiteman were handed a big break when they were given a slot at Radio 2’s Beat On The Street shows.

“We got on the bill for that, and Leo Moran from The Saw Doctors was with us then,” Mouse says.

“The Waterboys were playing and they were short a guitar player so Leo did it and I came up and did some backing vocals.

“We got national publicity because of that. We were on the front of The Irish Times. Too Much for the Whiteman – I think everyone was intrigued by the name.”

Indeed. It’s a moniker that must come with a story. “It actually comes from a Spanish saying that John Brogan (a member of the original line-up) brought back from there,” Mouse says.

“When the sun gets too much, when it all gets hot and heavy. And it t had a double edge.

“I have a great friend, a black guy who lives in London,” Mouse adds.

“And he used to be going ‘oh whities, oh whities’ and I said ‘Simian, will you stop going on about the whities!’

And he said ‘Why Martin?’ – he wouldn’t call me Mouse because a mouse is a nasty thing in Trinidad. I said to him ‘I’m white’. And he says ‘Martin, you’re not white, you’re Irish!’”

For more about Too Much For The Whiteman see this week’s Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway gets ready for Gilgamesh

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Legend of Gilgamesh on the streets of Galway.

The epic story of a young tyrannical king – two thirds God, one third man – obsessed with fame, composed 1,500 years before Homer wrote the Illiad and the Odyssey, will become a familiar experience over the next few months in the heart of Galway.

Because Macnas, the masters of storytelling and spectacle, are back as the legend of Gilgamesh starts to unfold via the Gilgamesh Experience on Macnas.com and on the streets of Galway.

The legend of Gilgamesh will play out online in the lead up to the indoor show in March and firmly roots the world of the characters in the city and landscape of Galway.

It all starts at https://gilgamesh.macnas.com/ with the reveal of the first in a series of specially commissioned films by cinematographer Colm Hogan.

This week saw the story spill onto the streets with the central character of UTA – the one who cannot die – wandering through Galway, with the same character appearing in a stunning mural which went up overnight on the corner of Bridge Street and Dominick Street. The coming months will see more surprise, unannounced pop up live moments in the city.

A dramatic new interpretation of the world’s oldest story, Gilgamesh is a Galway 2020 commission for the European Capital of Culture celebrations and sees Macnas take its traditional theatre and storytelling into new outdoor, indoor and digital territories, bringing the contemporary themes of this ancient origin story to life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Last of Liam O’Flaherty’s novels is finally republished – 87 years on

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O’Flaherty....banned novel just republished.

Aran author Liam O’Flaherty’s banned novel The Martyr has just been republished by Nuascéalta – 87 years since its first and only publication, back in 1933.

And with this reprint of The Martyr, Nuascéalta publishers complete their epic task of returning to Ireland the last three major O’Flaherty novels banned by the Irish state.

The Galway novel The House of Gold, and O’Flaherty’s insightful and scathing Hollywood satire Hollywood Cemetery, had already been re-issued.

O’Flaherty’s novels – mainly written in the 1920s and 1930s – collectively address significant events in Irish history and the newly emerging Free State.

Nuascéalta’s return of The Martyr to the book shevles comes as the centenaries of the War of Independence and the Civil War are commemorated.

The Martyr gives O’Flaherty’s take on the battle to control the country’s destiny. The novel written just ten years after the civil war, and published in 1933, brings to life the nationwide Free State attack on the anti-Treaty forces.

One such offensive was the landing at Fenit in Kerry – and Liam O’Flaherty fictionalises this event at “Carra Point” and “Sallytown” (Tralee).

Events around the Free State troop landing and its sequel are seen through the eyes of Sallytown’s defenders and its townspeople, clerical and lay.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Musical collaborators for concert in Clifden

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Cormac Begley (centre) with Ye Vagabonds....live at Clifden’s Station House Theatre.

Ye Vagabonds and Cormac Begley will be in Clifden’s Station House Theatre this Friday night; the concert is being presented by Clifden Arts Festival and Music Network and is part of a nationwide tour organised by Music Network.

Ye Vagabonds – Carlow brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn – grew up playing music together and their performances are marked by close harmony singing, tasty accompaniment and their ability to tell a good story in song.

They have played sold-out headline shows in Ireland, France, Switzerland and the UK.

Their second album The Hare’s Lament was released in 2019 to huge critical acclaim, winning the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Track, and sweeping the boards at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards where they won Best Traditional Track, Best Group, and Best Album.

For this tour, they’re embarking on a collaboration with Cormac Begley, a renowned solo bass, baritone, treble and piccolo concertina player from a West-Kerry musical family.

Cormac plays solo and in a range of collaborations with Liam O’Connor, Rushad Eggleston, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Lisa O’Neill. He is the founder of the Airt Residential School and the award-winning Tunes in the Church live concert series in Galway and Dublin.

Cormac was nominated for RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Instrumentalist of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and his debut solo album received nine five-star reviews and was shortlisted for the Irish Times Album of the Year in 2018.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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