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March 30, 2011

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Goldray, a London based rock quartet, play their first Galway show in Monroe’s Live on Thursday, December 13. The band is the brainchild of guitarist Kenwyn House and vocalist Leah Rasmussen. Kenwyn is also the guitarist with Reef, the English rock band who have enjoyed a loyal following since scoring hits like Place Your Hands and Come Back Brighter in the nineties. He explains how his latest venture got off the ground.

“We’ve been writing on and off, while I’ve been doing Reef stuff as well, over the past four years,” says Kenwyn. “But the Goldray thing started with me and Leah deliberately deciding we wanted to write an album about two-and-a-half years ago. We’ve just been writing and recording since then, getting a band together. Andy Treacy, from Faithless, joined us about a year ago. And we’ve recently recruited a guy called Geoff Laurens, a young guy from Camden. We now have the full, complete band.”

Goldray have recorded most of their music in Kenwyn’s home, but to get the drum parts right the band went elsewhere.

“The drums we’ve done in three different studios; Metropolis in London, a small place in Kent called The Granary,” Kenwyn says. “We’re the process of doing the last couple of drum tracks at Olympic in London – not exactly an unfamous studio, considering the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin made a lot of their records there!”

Speaking of Mick Jagger and co, did Kenwyn have a spare grand to stand in the front row at The Stones’ reunion gigs in London recently?

“No, I didn’t!” he laughs. “It’s funny; when we were with Reef we supported the Stones for a couple of nights. They did some warm-up shows in the Brixton Academy in ’96. It was funny, because they gave us the broom cupboard – we got this one little room with buckets and mops in it, and they got every other room!”

The Stones, at their peak, had Bill Wyman on bass and Charlie Watts on drums. Does Kenwyn value the power of a rhythm section?

“Oh, it’s vastly important,” he says. “Me and Leah are vocals and guitar, and you’re going to write the songs with those, or piano. Then you’ve got to turn what you have in your head to something that works in a room with a drum kit and a bass guitar. Some ideas work better than others, but bass and drums together – it’s what allows people to relax when they listen to you.”

Goldray’s drummer, Andy Treacy, has been vital in pushing the band forward.

“He’s played with Groove Armada, Moby and Faithless,” says Kenwyn. “So he’s spent a lot of time doing dance based stuff but his heart lies in late sixties/early seventies rock like The Band, Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Jimi Hendrix. So me, Leah and Andy all have a similar taste from that era, a Zeppelin/Doors kind of vibe.”

Why does Kenwyn believe the influence of bands from the Flower Power era has endured for so long?

“That was very revolutionary era, both musically and in the world,” he says. “It was a time when great freedom came to the world, generally. It was like John Lennon said ‘before Elvis, there was nothing’. Imagine living in a world before Elvis Presley – people did, apparently!

“In the sixties there was a lot of freedom, and I wouldn’t want to go back to a world without it,” he adds. “And at this moment in time, I think that freedom is being challenged and I think we should stand and be free. That sound and the music of the time reminds us that’s what people like us should be doing. I just don’t see us living in a free world. I see more and more CCTV, ID cards – this is not the sign of a free society.”

As a member of Reef, Kenwyn has toured all over the world and played to full arenas, living the life of a successful rock musician. With Goldray, he has gone right back to the beginning, grafting and playing club shows. How does it feel to be starting all over again?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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