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Jim McKee growing into his craft as he launches new album

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The Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

Kinvara resident Jim McKee and his band play the Backstage Bar in Monroe’s on Friday, June 30.  The County Tyrone native has just released his second studio album Goodness comes from the Heart, which was recorded locally.

“I started off recording with Bruno Staehelin in Open Air Studios,” says Jim. “I put the vocals and drums down there, and a bit of bass, and a little bit of electric guitar. I took it to another studio after that, Bruno’s wife was very ill.

“We ended up going to a man called Tony Trundle, he’s got a studio called Cuckoo Studios in Kinvara. To be honest with you, he’s responsible for the overall sound. A lot of the strings, and wee bits of guitar.”

Jim wanted his latest album to have a full sound and plenty of toe-tapping moments.

“I started the rehearsal of this album with my drummer first, he moved in next door,” Jim says. “I wanted to get grooves and rhythms that were not too fast and not too slow; I was thinking festival as well as a singer/songwriter vibe.”

Jim McKee is a visual artist as well as a songwriter and two of his paintings make up the artwork for Goodness comes from the Heart. Does he have to set aside separate times for painting and songwriting?

“As somebody once said, ‘when the dog bites you just go with it’,” he replies. “When I’m painting, a lot of the time I’ll get inspired to write. I tend to paint and write every week, it’s part of my day. I’ll go for a good walk and process ideas; I’m always working on something.

“I’m doing a book at the moment, illustrations, and I’ve done a few songs for that too,” he adds. “It’s a kid’s book. I’m always writing and working, I won’t have enough life left to record all the songs or to finish all the art projects and ideas. I just take them as they come; it’s a juggling match, really.”

Last year, some of Jim’s songs featured in locally shot film Songs for Amy, which sold out at the Galway Film Fleadh. The film also featured tracks by Loughrea’s Ultan Conlon.

“That took up a couple of years, believe it or not,” Jim says about his involvement with Songs for Amy. “I worked on set – they auditioned me for a part and I got a different one. I ended up being Tom the busker, singing Galway Bay outside the Club Áras on Dominick Street. I really enjoyed it. I had four songs in it, myself and Ultan. We had to coach the actor [Sean Maguire] to sing our songs.”

Being involved in Songs for Amy brought Ultan and Jim McKee very far afield.

“We ended up going to Newport Beach, California, for 11 nights,” says Jim. “The film got an award [at the Newport film festival] there, and we were showcasing songs every night, myself and Ultan. We went to Cannes as well, sang there. Glasgow Film Festival, then there was the Galway Film Fleadh. It took us off on a lovely trip, a couple of years.”

Cannes may bring images of glitz and glamour to mind, but it’s not a world where Jim would like to spend much time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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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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