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Multi-talented duo to ‘create vibrations of joy’ in Monroe’s



Date Published: {J}

Cork based outfit Bangsambra, made up of Rajinder Singh and Tonynho Dos Santos, will play Monroe’s Live on Friday next, November 4.

The two combine their voices with an array of instruments, including bass, guitar, trumpet and several types of drums.

Raj originally hails from India, but has been living in Cork for more than seven years. He explains that the southern city’s thriving music scene first brought him and Brazilian-born Tonyhno together.

“We met at a charity gig and we were both performing,” Raj recalls. “I was in a sort of African percussion group and Tonynho was doing his doing his own style of Brazilian funk/new jazz. He was looking for someone to join him on one or two songs. When he invited somebody to join him, none of them got up. I got up and jammed with him for a couple of songs.

“After that, we just kept on bumping into each other,” he adds. “To the point when we were [individually] looking for a house, we turned up for two of the same houses, at the same time. And we ended up living on the same road. So I said to him ‘look there’s something going on here, this is not normal!’.”

Although they grew up thousands of miles from each other, Raj and Tonynho – who worked in the music business in Germany for 15 years before moving to Cork – quickly established a musical connection.

“He didn’t say to me ‘this is what I’m playing and these are the rhythms, learn these’,” says Raj.

“He said ‘see what your feeling is, and put it on top’. That’s how it started. We were very much coming from different places, but we weren’t thinking about either of them.

“He wasn’t looking for me to play Brazilian or Latin rhythms, and I wasn’t looking for him to do Indian style. But we found a middle ground. We didn’t try and change each other, if you like.”

Bangsambra have recently released their debut album, 2012. Raj feels it’s a good representation of the duo’s willingness to fuse Middle Eastern, Brazilian, African and Indian rhythms.

“Some of it, if you put it on paper, it shouldn’t work,” he muses, “because of the sense of timing, the academics of it . . . They shouldn’t really work but they do.”

Tonynho is a keen admirer of Miles Davis, and there is a strong current of jazz in Bangsambra’s sound. As with Davis’ music, improvisation is an important part of how they write.

“We started to create something, and before we knew it we realised we had a whole composition. For the most part, we hold on to the main theme of the composition, but we try and explore it a bit more each time we play live. If a song gets more creative, we go with it.”

Tonynho studied music at the University of Salvador de Bahia, but Raj is largely self-taught.

“I come from a very different background in that respect,” he says. “Even though I did attend some academic aspects of music, my interest isn’t there. My interest is coming from the feeling of the voice; I’m listening to what sounds right, what flows, as opposed to getting caught up in the academic side of it. Because if I did . . . some of the African stuff, or the Middle Eastern, the Indian, or the Latin . . . I probably wouldn’t explore it. I would box myself in and, as a result, you wouldn’t get anywhere with it.”

As Raj says, his voice is the jumping-off point when it comes to exploring his craft.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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