Son of Ry brings own take to Cooder musical legacy

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

As a percussionist, producer, singer and songwriter, Joachim Cooder has long established himself as a master of folk, bluegrass and African music. The son of legendary American musician Ry Cooder, family and tradition are at the heart of Joachim’s work.

But it took the birth of his daughter to inspire the Santa Monica native to begin penning his own material, much of which centres around the imbira – a thumb piano traditional to the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

Joachim plays Campbell’s Tavern in Headford on Tuesday, August 29, to open his first headline Irish tour. Having shared stages and recordings with the likes of Johnny Cash, Mavis Staples, Steve Earle and Buena Vista Social Club, he is something of an expert on cross-generational music. Joachim’s most recent record, Over That Road I’m Bound, was a considered and authentic take on the work of another, albeit lesser known, American great – Uncle Dave Macon.

“The record was very accidental,” he recalls. “I had never heard of Uncle Dave Macon before, and I had taken my kids to visit my parents. My dad was playing the banjo in his chair, and they were listening while I was in the kitchen.

“Then I heard this song and called asking what it was, and he said, ‘Morning Blues by Uncle Dave Macon’.  I came in and it was like I remembered it from a long time ago. My kids were transfixed listening to the song, and I thought that would be really good on my mbira which is this electric, African thumb piano that I play all my songs on.

Pictured: Joachim Cooder…plays Campbell’s Tavern to kick off first Irish tour.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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