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Magical journey in store with UK guitar virtuoso Jon Gomm

Judy Murphy

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

Using his voice, a guitar and loop pedals, Blackpool-born Jon Gomm is more than just a one-man band. The multi-talented musician, whose fans include actor Stephen Fry and Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, plays the city’s Róisín Dubh venue on Friday, April 12.

Jon’s distinctive guitar sound is his calling card and he says the moment he fell for that instrument was a life-defining decision – although he was only a toddler!

“My Dad says I was watching TV, and there was someone on playing guitar,” he recalls. “It was Mark Knopfler with Dire Straits, playing his bright red shiny Stratocaster guitar. I was two years old, and my Dad said all I wanted after that was a guitar.

“I started having guitar lessons when I was four,” Jon adds. “After that, I started getting into the blues and going to gigs with my Dad. I was a pretty early starter!”

Rumour has it that Jon Gomm once received a guitar lesson from the legendary BB King. Is this really true?

“It was a brief one!” Jon laughs of the lesson. “I was backstage at gig in the Wintergardens in Blackpool, and my Dad used to write reviews of gigs for a local newspaper. So I got to go backstage and play Lucille, BB King’s famous guitar.

“He was lovely. Sometimes, when I meet these famous guitar players they’re not really interested and they find you a bit annoying if you’re a little kid. BB King was like Santa or something! He’s also the best live performer I’ve ever seen.”

Jon Gomm’s guitar style takes in a variety of influences. One his earliest teachers was a flamenco player, so Jon’s music has that flavour. But he’s also a big fan of eighties guitar wizards like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. There’s also a strong percussive element to Jon’s sound – at times, he uses his guitar as a drum.

Passionflower is Jon’s best known song to date, with over four million views on YouTube. Jon, who turned down a place at Oxford to pursue his musical career, explains how the song came about.

“I think you can get inspiration from anything; I can’t think of many songs about plants, though!” he says. “It’s about a real plant that I grew in my backyard. It was in Leeds, West Yorkshire, [a place] like Coronation Street, with loads of terraced houses all in a row. A little yard, with a brick wall around it.”

Jon threw seeds from a discarded passion fruit into a small pot and the plant grew from there, coming to life while he was away on tour.

“I came back, and the whole yard was just covered in this green plant, like a jungle,” he says. “I traced it back to this tiny little pot. Then on the one day of summer we get in Leeds every year, the sun came out and all these buds all the plant burst open within hours of each other. All these tropical flowers, it was an incredible thing to see. So I wrote a song about the unlikely nature of it.”

How could a song about a plant clock up such a huge amount of hits?
“It was just people sharing it,” Jon says. “It’s still going, as well; people will keep discovering it because it’s a popular thing now. It had been online for two months, and then it was posted on Reddit. You either vote it up or down; eventually it ended up on the front page of the site.

“But there are other things as well. There were celebrities tweeting about it, a really strange mix – like Stephen Fry and Tommy Lee from Motley Crue [and ex-husband of Pamela Anderson]. You can’t really think of two more diverse celebrities! I think one day, I could have a very strange dinner party!”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Artists going to dogs in aid of annual auction

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Work donated to MADRA by Galway artist Grace Cunningham and Achill Island’s Padraig McCaul.

Works by some of Ireland’s top artists, including Grace Cunningham and Finbar McHugh from Galway as well as Padraig McCaul from Achill Island and Charles Harper from Valentia Island, will go under the hammer at this year’s MADRA Dog Rescue Charity Art Auction.

The popular event, which kicks off for viewing next week, will take place online year due to Covid restrictions.

The event, will open for registration and online bids next Thursday, December 3 and will remain available to view and bid online until Monday, December 7 .

The goal is to raise €3,000 to contribute towards vet bills for the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption charity. MADRA is facing major bills, all without the financial support that’s normally generated by its two charity shops – they have been closed for months this year due to the pandemic.

“We have stunning artworks available with an amazing variety of subjects and styles,” explains MADRA co-founder and director, Marina Fiddler, adding that the organisation is “honoured that so many talented artists have donated such beautiful pieces to support the homeless dogs in our care”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Celebrating Romania on Great Union Day

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ConTempo, will perform a programme from thier native Romania for next Tuesday's lunchthime concert.

The next instalment of the lunchtime music series, From Europe with Love, will take place next Tuesday, December 1, at 1pm. Hosted by Galway Music Residency, it’s the last one for 2020.

It promises to be a special event as Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet, who are from Romania, celebrate their homeland on what’s known as Great Union Day. This national holiday marks the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

ConTempo will perform a varied programme, showcasing the best of Romanian music. This will feature works by celebrated composers George Enescu and Theodor Grigoriu alongside lesser-known musical treasures. There will be a strong folk theme throughout, making for a lively lunchtime show.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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