Date Published: 01-Jun-2011
In ordinary times, the notion of four paddies and a backpacker from Switzerland forming a top-class reggae band would sound every bit as preposterous as a dreadlocked Jamaican with a deftness for sean-nós dancing.
But having witnessed the success of an Irish cricket team and a Black US President who hails from Moneygall, it is clear that these are no ordinary times, just as Intinn is no ordinary reggae band.
The story of how the Galway-based quintet got together and came to be named the second-best reggae group in Europe last year may sound like a skewed retelling of the John Candy film, Cool Runnings, but a glance at the Intinn musical pedigree will tell you that their rapid success has come as no surprise.
The western contingent of Intinn, composed of Cian Finn, Catriona Cannon and Iarla Fox, are what could conceivably be described as musical blue bloods; parented respectively by De Dannan founder Alec Finn, acclaimed harpist Kathleen Loughnane, and renowned Inishbofin musician Geraldine King.
While the troika have doubtlessly inherited the musical ability of their elders, perhaps it is strange that they have strayed so far from their trad and folk roots to the exotic realm of reggae music? Reggae is a loose description of what the band produces, however, and more of a genuflection to the music that inspires them rather than the sound that defines them.
“When we say reggae, we mean the many types of music that we are inspired by,” said vocalist Cian Finn. “But most people aren’t familiar with the reggae-dub spectrum. They hear reggae and they think we’re a Bob Marley cover band or something.”
But Bob Marley never played to the backing of a traditional harp. There is a distinct Celtic twist to Intinn’s energetic blend of reggae-dub that incorporates electronic drums, a synthesiser and the rhythmic vocals of its lead singer.
The genetic legacy of their trad bloodlines is clearly not entirely lost on Intinn but Cian was always more drawn to music from further away from home. “I was never really a mad trad-head as a child,” he said. “But my parents listened to a lot of soul music at home.”
It was a discarded reggae compilation album that someone had left behind in the house that first introduced him to the music of Bob Marley and the likes of King Tubby and Don Carlos. Galway club nights such as Jungle Fever and Rootical Sound System continued to feed his passion for the genre until he moved to Cork to study and Intinn’s roots were sown.
He and Iarla Fox, his friend since a young age, decided to form their own reggae band and recruited bassist Daniel McEoin and Catriona Cannon to play the keyboard, an aptitude for which – although her specialty was Celtic harp – was amongst her vast array of musical talents.
She took leave of the band for a year thereafter to further her studies in Italy and was replaced on the keyboard by Swiss backpacker Sebastian Zeiss, who Cian had met while visiting Barcelona. It was a fortuitous move that was to shape Intinn’s unique sound because, upon Catriona’s return, she incorporated the haunting traditional melodies of the Celtic harp in the band’s music.
“When Catriona was playing the keys she had to concentrate on making the synth noises and melodies,” said Iarla. “But once Sebastian took over the synth, it allowed her to just think in a melodic, decorative way; where she meanders over a tune and moves it along, allowing the melody section to be really solid.”
The band quickly earned a reputation for their high-energy performances at venues around the country and in June 2009, they recorded and released their debut self-titled album. But it was last summer that things really began to kick off for the group.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.