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Sponges to warm up for Picnic set with city gig

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My Fellow Sponges return to the city next week. Photo: Ishka Films.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@live.ie

With a live show that’s imbued with wit, invention and melody, My Fellow Sponges play Róisín Dubh on Friday September 2. Expect to hear a festival-fit set from the Sponges – the morning after this gig, they’ll be hitting the road for Stradbally, where they’ll play two shows at this year’s Electric Picnic.

The band will also be airing some new material in the Róisín, as they are currently working on their second album.

“We’re taking our time, making sure it’s right, and not rushing it,” says Anna Mullarkey, who sings and plays synths, piano, bodhrán and guitar. “I’m working on electronic stuff, which is very slow [to make] – and exciting at the same time!”

“It wouldn’t be just a collection of songs,” says Donal McConnon, who also sings, and brings clarinet, harmonica and banjo to the mix. “There’ll be hopefully something tying them together, a bit of a story arc. We’ll see.”

Since emerging more than five years ago, My Fellow Sponges have become fixtures on the festival scene. This summer has seen them return to Body & Soul, as well as Knockanstockan in Wicklow, which became a three-day event this year.

“I think festivals are food for the soul,” Anna says. “At festivals, people are open to music, it’s not like a regular gig. People are so into it.”

“It’s also very nice to go and play for a national crowd, and to see how we’re doing,” Donal says.

“It’s very good gauge for that. We put out [their last single and video] Cold Hand at the start of the summer, and you might get so many views or whatever, but you don’t really know how it’s affecting people first hand.

“This year, we were very pleasantly surprised with Body & Soul and Knockenstockan,” he adds. “The people who came along were singing along to that song, they were there to see us. That as a lovely boost, but if we don’t go to those festivals, we just don’t know if people are really connecting.”

A Sponges show keeps you on your toes, with their set changing in tempo and mood throughout. This could be down to the band having two songwriters, but bassist Sam Wright and drummer David Shaughnessy can really shape what happens to the songs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Reeling in the years to celebrate iconic album

Judy Murphy

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Pearse Doherty, John ‘Turps’ Burke, Johnny Donnelly, Davy Carton and Leo Moran on stage at the Warwick, for the album’s back cover. PHOTOS: FRANK MILLER.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Galway City was on a creative roll, with the Arts Festival and theatre groups such as Druid, Punchbag, Na Fánaithe and Macnas expanding our creative horizons in all directions.

Down in the Quays Bar – then very much a local pub renowned for the calibre of its music sessions – a group from Tuam was creating waves and attracting fans, including Mike Scott of the Waterboys.

That group was the Saw Doctors, “all the way from Tuam”, and Mike Scott had encountered the lads when his band was in Spiddal, making the album Fisherman’s Blues.

They ended up supporting the Waterboys on a tour of Ireland and the UK and, in 1989, Mike Scott produced their debut single, N17, in Dublin’s Windmill Lane. Leo and Davy’s song about youth and emigration captured the experience of so many young people at that time – but it didn’t capture the public imagination. After a few radio plays, it faded away quietly.

“As a teenager, you’d have a dream of having a hit single,” recalls Leo Moran of that debut release. “But when you are writing songs, you become a bit more practical. And we were older and were gone beyond pop-star dreams.”

Their aim was simple.

“Our ambition was to put out a single.”

The group, then made up of Davy, Leo, John ‘Turps’ Burke, Pearse Doherty and Johnny Donnelly, had to earn a living too, and that wasn’t always easy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Legendary trio for live Town Hall concert

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Máirtín O'Connor who will be joining forces with Frankie Gavin and Johnny Duhan for the concert on July 3.

Fans of quality music who have been pining for live gigs can look forward to Saturday, July 3, when Frankie Gavin, Máirtín O’Connor and Johnny Duhan will be on stage at the Town Hall Theatre at 8pm, for a one-off concert, Part of a Tribe.  The venue will have a limited capacity of 50 people and the concert will also be livestreamed.

Each of the three will perform solo works and collaborate on well-known instrumental pieces.

Tunes will include The Road West, The Queen of Sheba, The Belfast Hornpipe, Thomond Bridge, Joe Cooley’s Reels, and songs like The Voyage, Don’t Give up til it’s Over and The Beacon.

Part of a Tribe comes from the title of a song that the three musicians recorded with the cream of Galway’s folk and traditional musical community some years ago for St Vincent de Paul. Its theme of co-operation and team spirit is especially relevant as the country moves out of the shadow of Covid-19.

The concert will last 70 minutes and there will be no interval and no bar.

The maximum number of tickets that can be purchased per person is four. They cost €25 for the in-person event. Online tickets are €15/Online household €20.

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

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‘Cowgirl’ love song that hits all the right notes

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The Raines, from left, Yvonne Tiernan, Ruth Dillon and Juliana Erkkonen.

The wonderfully titled Love is sublime (til it draws out its gun) is the latest single from Galway based folk-Americana trio, The Raines. Launched on Friday, it went straight to number one on the iTunes singer-songwriter charts in Ireland and number 12 in the overall charts.

It follows their debut single, 2020’s Bare Feet on Grass, which also reached number one in the iTunes singer-songwriter Chart and was Song of the Week on RTE.ie’s culture section, with over one million impacts on Irish radio.

The Raines are Ruth Dillon, Juliana Erkkonen and Yvonne Tiernan, all terrific performers in their own right.

Ruth (vocals, guitar, ukulele) who toured and recorded with Dolores Keane, is a former member of The Molly Hicks, and has three solo albums of her own. Juliana (fiddle and vocals) has been at the forefront of Ireland’s Americana musical scene and released seven albums with various groups, including one solo album.

Yvonne Tiernan (vocals and ukulele) has toured as lead singer with ‘The Chieftains’.

This up-tempo summer single again showcases the beauty of their vocal harmonies, strings and their overall rapport.

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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