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Kaeshammer returns with Big Easy brand of rhythm and blues



Date Published: 10-Aug-2012

 HOT on the heels of two sell-out shows at this year’s Arts Festival, Michael Kaeshammer returns to Róisín Dubh on Tuesday next, August 14.

Kaeshammer plays an irresistible brand of New Orleans-flavoured boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues. Speaking from Vancouver, Canada, Michael is looking forward to coming back to Galway.

“People are really what make a difference, to me at least,” he says. “When you go somewhere and you start meeting people and you start making friends, and you actually start looking forward to coming back – that’s a really good thing when you travel that much.”

Michael and his band play off the crowd at their shows, and the reaction to their Arts Festival gigs took him by surprise. “In Canada, it takes people a little longer to get out of their shell,” he says.

“That’s the one thing I’ve noticed with Irish audiences – they’re right there from the beginning. They were responsive right away. I didn’t know how people would react to my music, but it’s been fantastic.”

Michael grew up in Offenburg, Germany before the Kaeshammer family moved to the Canadian west coast when he was a teenager. But both of those places are a long way from Louisiana – where did he find his love for New Orleans’ music?

“You know, that’s been around forever for me,” he says. “When I was a little kid, I got it through my dad. As far back as I can remember – he plays a little bit of ragtime and blues piano – he would show me things as a kid. That’s all I heard as kid, it just seemed the most natural thing to play.”

Michael Kaeshammer lived in New Orleans two years before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and still returns to the city on a regular basis. “Everything that I value in life is important to that city,” he says.

“Music not just being a background thing, but an integral part of the mentality. And food is a very important thing. Just the whole lifestyle of living life.”

Though parts of the city may still be reeling from Katrina, does Michael feel that New Orleans retains its inimitable spirit?

“I think so,” he says. “You still find areas like Treme and the Ninth Ward where it’s still a ghost town. That’s because people have moved and they didn’t money for insurance for their house. But when you go in the French Quarter, it feels like nothing happened.”

“People in New Orleans are so proud of their city and their heritage; I don’t think they’ll let that die. And rightly so. I always find it crazy that it’s one of the poorest cities in the US.”

Amongst other influences, Michael’s love for boogie-woogie music can be heard on his latest album Kaeshammer. Does he find it hard to replicate the feeling of a live show in the studio?

“It’s hard to capture, but I honestly don’t try to capture exactly what’s happening live,” he says. “I feel you have to at least be aware that you’re in a different place; you’re in a studio, there’s no audience. You have to take all those things into consideration.”

“But one thing I’m always conscious of is that everyone records live off the floor. I think the whole interplay of the band if you start overdubbing, at least for the music I do, it will take away some of that life. You react to each other when you play.”

Michael Kaeshammer plays Roisin Dubh on Tue Aug 14.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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