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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

Work for children of all ages in extended Baboró programme

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Grand Soft Day, a new co-production from Branar is for children aged three to six.

The 26th annual Baboró International Arts Festival for Children will take place from Friday, October 14, to Sunday, October 23, in theatres, galleries, schools and communities in Galway City and County.

This year’s extended 10-day festival will have more than 50 live events, presented by companies from all over Ireland and Europe, including Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Scotland and England.

These will include a special collection of European work made for children up to six years, as well as residencies in special schools and child-led projects.

Children aged eight and older are invited to join the surreal world of Der Lauf, where nothing is quite as it seems. In this show, two circus performers from Belgian company Le Cirque du Bout du Monde, compete in a series of bizarre challenges as they juggle blindly, spin plates and stack glasses, while wearing boxing gloves. As the glasses rise, so do the stakes. The children are their only guides and will either help lead the clowns to order or towards further chaos.

Ballet Ireland will present The Glasshouse, a dance performance for children aged six and older. It is the story of Fiach, an earnest youngster who is on a mission to repopulate the world with plants and turn it green. This fun, compelling show, by exciting young choreographer Róisín Whelan, is about human courage, friendship and the determination to survive. The Glasshouse promises “moments of suspense and joy, exhilarating dancing, vibrant costumes and magical music”.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

A feast of Butlers at the Kenny Gallery

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The Butler family, from left: Liam, Ronan, Lisa and Davin.

Sculptor Liam Butler will return to the City’s Kenny Gallery this Friday night, August 12, for his first exhibition in more than 10 years. The new show, Copper Roots, is an even more special occasion for Liam as it will be his first time exhibiting alongside his children, Davin, Lisa and Ronan.

Liam is a self-taught sculptor who has been creating and exhibiting work for almost 30 years. He has passed on his craft to Davin, Lisa and Ronan, teaching them the techniques he developed throughout his career, as well as his love for copper and its artistic possibilities.

In 2020, during Covid, the Butlers were all together, back home in Galway for the first time in many years. They rekindled their passion for sculpture, spending time in Liam’s workshop, creating   new work, alongside each another.

There was learning, creativity and experimentation, they say. The resulting exhibition at Kennys’ celebrates reconnecting with family roots, and passions passed on from generation to generation.

A welder by training, Liam grew up on a small farm in Kilkenny. He worked in Germany and America for years before returning to Ireland, settling in An Spidéal where he began experimenting, using the skills he learned as an industrial welder to create simple sculptures from steel.

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

Sisters in perfect tune for unique musical snapshot

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Breda and Claire Keville, photographed by Nutan. (Inset) The sisters, as depicted by artist Isabel Alegria, on the cover of the album.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“A snapshot in time,” is how musician and composer Claire Keville from Claran, near Headford, describes Music from Galway, the new CD which she and her sister Breda have just released.

With Breda on fiddle and Claire on concertina, it’s a gorgeous collection of music from all parts of Galway and beyond, a mix of slow airs, gigs, reels and marches. The sisters are accompanied by guitarist and longtime musical friend Terence O’Reilly on several tracks, which they recorded in the studio of his East Clare home in April of this year.

Claire, a French and Music teacher in Coláiste Iognáid (the Jes) in the city for the past decade, and Breda, who works as a radiation therapist in UHG, have previously released solo albums. Breda’s, The Hop Down, was released in 2006 and The Daisy Field, from Clare came out in 2009. Each guested on the other’s album, but this is their first joint recording, a project they’d been discussing for years.

When it did finally happen, it came together a lot more quickly than either of them had anticipated.

“I didn’t think we’d have it done this year,” says Breda, as Claire recalls that they discussed its timeframe in April, while driving from Galway to Terence’s home in Clare.

After that first day, when they recorded 10 tracks and realised that most of them would make the album, they reckoned it was achievable. Another session in An Spidéal with musician, ‘talented engineer and general all-rounder’,  Ronan Browne, convinced them it was and Music from Galway was launched at the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay in July.

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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