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My Fellow Sponges for Jigsaw fundraising gig

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Raising funds for the youth support group Jigsaw, My Fellow Sponges will bring their theatrical, musical magic to the Róisín Dubh on next Friday, August 28. The band are Anna Mullarkey (vocals, piano, synths, harmonium, ukulele), Donal McConnon (vocals, banjo, clarinet, harmonica, guitar), David Shaughnessy (drums), Sam Wright (bass) Elve Carrol (vocals) and Sam Wright (bass).

It’s been a busy festival season for the Sponges, with the band playing sets in Inisbofin and at the Body & Soul Festival in Westmeath.

“Bofin for me was the high point of my career!” Anna says. “At Body & Soul, Sam, myself and Dave were playing with [Galway Ska band] Big Jelly as well, so it was a bit like ‘what’s going on?’ But the Sponges had a lovely crowd who were very into it, singing along.”

Anna is glad to be playing a fundraiser for Jigsaw, a group that’s very close to her heart.

“I’ve a degree in psychology and I volunteered for Jigsaw for a year, doing a programme called Creative Growth with my colleague Vinny,” she says. “It was a creative project, doing things like creative writing but all centred around mental health themes.

“We’ll be releasing a single alongside this fundraiser called Air,” she adds. “It’s a track about how all our troubles are generally just in the air, and most of the time we get caught up with stuff when actually it’s just grand. I wanted to tie that in with the fundraiser.”

On the day of the interview, Anna is on the way to mix the song. It’s a technical part of the recording process that can drive some musicians demented. How does Anna feel about it?

“Perfection is hard to not to want,” she says. “Today is the deadline. It was meant to be last month. But you do the vocals and then you decide ‘I have to do them again.’ But I think it’s one of the most interesting sides of music. I love it.”

Connacht Tribune

Blood Red Shoes get back on a firm footing

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Blood Red Shoes...new album imminent.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Brighton alt-rock duo Blood Red Shoes have been active for over seventeen years – a collaboration that has yielded Laura-May Carter and Steven Ansell five studio albums, an independent record label and a series of international tours.  The proximity of their working relationship has also, at times, weighed on the pair, as was documented on 2019’s Get Tragic LP.

It was a tension that arose from relentless touring and a single-minded devotion to their project but now – with their sixth record set for release in the near future – the partnership is stronger and more fruitful than ever.

And while the duo hail from Sussex, Laura-May’s own roots are very much in these parts – because she’s Irish-born and has a host of relatives in Galway.

“My whole family are Irish,” Laura explains.

“My auntie Phyllis lives in Galway and my cousins on my mum’s side. I love Galway so much – we’ve played a few times in the Róisín Dubh.

“When we first started, we played in Ireland a lot and then I don’t know what happened. Maybe it just didn’t kick off, but I’ve been dying to go back. It’s really important to me. We’ve had a bit of press in Ireland recently and I’m really happy about that because I felt like we were invisible there and I’m really proud to be Irish. It’s been really good.”

That new album, Ghosts on Tape, is out on Friday, January 14. Thirteen moody, slightly gothic tracks – it is an album that has been gathering dust through Covid having been finished in Laura’s LA home before everything shut down.

For performers as prolific as Laura and Steve, the break from touring presented a chance to pursue other creative avenues.

Laura-May started a podcast, Never Meet Your Idols, with her best friend in LA and Steve threw himself into production and collaborations with electronic artists. It facilitated a more relaxed writing environment for the two and, in what they described as an ‘off-year’, Blood Red Shoes still managed to release a summer EP.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Grandson gives fresh life to Bess’s rich song legacy

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Elizabeth (Bess) Cronin at the door of her home in a colourised version of an original black and white photo.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“I don’t normally revisit things. I have a phobia about it,” says historian Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, “But in this case, there was such a drumbeat of requests that it made sense.”

He’s referring to the launch of a new edition of a book and double CD set, entitled the Songs of Elizabeth Cronin: Irish Traditional Singer, which was first published in 2000 by Four Courts Press and which he edited.

Elizabeth Cronin (1879-1956) who was from the West Cork Gaeltacht of Múscraí, was renowned for her vast collection of songs “in Irish and in English and in both languages,” explains Dáibhí, Professor Emeritus at NUIG, and her grandson.

Those who have been influenced by her legacy include Christy Moore, Maighréad and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill and her grandnephew, Iarla Ó Lionáird of the Irish supergroup, The Gloaming and formerly of the Afro-Celt Connection.

The first edition of the Songs of Elizabeth Cronin sold out within three months of publication – Nicholas Carolan and Glenn Cumiskey of the Irish Traditional Music Archive  were involved in selecting the songs and Harry Bradshaw of RTÉ remastered them.

While Dáibhí could have satisfied the ongoing demand for the songs by reissuing them online, he felt that wouldn’t do them justice. Hence the decision to reprint the lot.

“The book is there for a reason – it gives a background to Bess.”

It also contains new material which Dáibhí was gifted after the original publication was printed.

“After a launch I attended in Cúil Aodha, a man came up to me with a brown envelope and it contained an old copybook, the type we used in school. Bess had written seven or eight songs in it.”

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Success for Galway at Book Awards event

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The award for the An Post Short Story of the Year, sponsored by writing.ie, went to Deirdre Sullivan for Little Lives.

Galway shone at the 2021 An Post Irish Book Awards, held virtually on Tuesday night and broadcast on the RTÉ website.

The Irish Language Book of the Year award was won by an Spidéal writer Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin for Madame Lazare, while Kennys in Galway City won the inaugural Best Bookshop Award and Deirdre Sullivan from Knocknacarra in the city, won Short Story of the Year for Little Lives.

This annual ceremony has been running since 2006 and is the country’s biggest literary awards event, with 20 prizes across 20 categories.

The new bookshop award was introduced to acknowledge the role played by bookshops countrywide in helping local communities to find the books they wanted during Covid-19. Kennys celebrated the win by offering their online subscribers an extra 10 per cent off all titles for a 24-hour period.

There were celebrations too in an Spidéal, where Barzazz, the new company that published Madame Lazare, is based.

It’s an imprint of Futa Fata, the successful Irish-language publisher specialising in children’s books that was established in the early 2000s. Barzazz was launched just this summer to publish contemporary fiction, poetry and translations for adults in Irish, and Madame Lazare was its first book – it’s also the debut novel from screenwriter, children’s author and songwriter, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin.

A novel about secrets and truths, it follows the life of the mysterious Hana Lazare, with the action moving backwards and forwards in time between the Irish-speaking West of Ireland of the 1930s, to a devout Jewish community in 1990s Paris, to present day Brussels.

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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