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No pressure for Jape as Choice winners release new album

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Jape, one of the most consistently captivating acts in Irish music, play the Róisín Dubh this Saturday, October 8 to celebrate the release of their fourth album Ocean of Frequency. Its predecessor, Ritual, released in June 2008 went on to win the esteemed Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year for 2008– which could mean that front man and songwriter Richie Egan feels the pressure this time around. But he doesn’t.

“Not so much, to be honest,” he says. “I put pressure on myself to try and write the songs that I wanted to write. Now I feel like I’m proud of those songs, so in terms of that I’m happy enough.

“It took a while to write them,” he continues. “I want to try and make the songs sound the way I want them to sound, so if I’ve managed to pull that off then I don’t feel any pressure after that. It took a long time to do it; there were a few blind alleys.”

Richie nearly released Ocean of Frequency in 2010, but his perfectionist streak kicked in.

“I thought it was finished last year,” he recalls. “And then I listened to it, there was something niggling, not quite right with it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I went away from it for a few months, did other stuff and then came back to it. Then I was quite quickly able to pick out the stuff that I thought was wrong with it, which was good.

“I had a really productive month or two. I wrote about 14 songs – it felt like a tap had been turned on in my head, basically. Between those two batches I was able to piece together what I think is the right album.”

Jape, who are sometimes described as an electronic rock band, played a cracking set at this year’s Electric Picnic and have also been showcasing new songs over the past month. How is the new material going down?

“It’s starting to come together now,” Richie says. “As a band we’re getting tighter. People would’ve heard some of it; they’re starting to get familiar with the songs. We played in Clonakilty and it was amazing; the place was leaping from the start to the end of it.”

Richie Egan is joined in Jape by Glenn Keating, Matthew Bolger and Neil O’Connor. They also play together in the Redneck Manifesto, an instrumental rock band whose live shows are raved about. How do Jape’s hook-laden songs come about?

“I write everything, the bones of the song,” says Richie. “So the structure will be done, and the lyrics. And then the lads . . . we’ve been playing together so long, I never tell them what to do. They usually play stuff that’s really cool over the top of it; they bring their own thing to the table.

“You need somebody to give you constructive criticism. That’s why I love playing with the Rednecks as well, because we bounce stuff off each other. It’s good to forge something together.”

Jape songs are a melting pot of samplers, guitars and keyboards. This means Richie isn’t stuck on one way of making music.

“What I tend to do is try to approach writing songs from a few different ways,” he says. “Some I would write on guitar, others I would write with just samples, others I would write with keyboards, maybe. One thing I would usually get is melody – I always try to pick out the melody. Then if I can think of an idea, a theme sort of, I try and fit that melody with the theme.”

A theme that sparked Richie’s imagination was the work of Michael Talbot, an American writer who drew parallels between mysticism and physics. The title Ocean of Frequency comes from an interview with Talbot.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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