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Summer sounds on new EP from Mikey and the Scallywags

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Get ready to cause a ruckus and have some foot-stomping fun – Mikey and The Scallywags launch their debut EP, Living In The Light in Kelly’s Bar on Thursday, April 5. The band is made up of Mikey McCrory (guitar/lead vocals), Alan Gosker (banjo/backing vocals), Bri Gosker (drums/backing vocals), Paulie Smalls (double bass), Juliana Erkkonen (fiddle) and Ivan Coleman (keys).

Mikey and The Scallywags started out in June 2010 – and the feeling of summer runs through much of their music.

“We all got together at a house party, played some tunes and the next day said ‘fancy going busking?’. And it literally kicked off,” recalls Alan Gosker.

“People straggled in one by one, hearing the tunes on the street,” adds Mikey. “More people wanted to play along. I’d say the real birth of The Scallywags didn’t really occur until we got Juliana involved in the band.”

“I hear this every day!” Julian laughs.

Along with Juliana, Mikey says the addition of double bassist Paulie Smalls was integral to the Scallywags’ sound.

“When those two decided they wanted to come on board, that’s when it really got serious for us.”

Mikey and The Scallywags play music with a gypsy, bluegrass flavour that has a rocking kick. Juliana has a background in the folk tradition, but has never played with a front man as animated as Mikey.

“I would’ve played in a bluegrass band, but not really with drums,” says the Finnish fiddler. “I haven’t been playing original music that much. So that was quite good fun. And I’ve never played with such a great entertainer!”

The Living in the Light EP features Loola, a tune with an instantly memorable chorus that’s become a live favourite at a Scallywags’ show. It’s a rambling story-song that came together fairly quickly.

“Loola came from when we went busking and [fiddler and actor] Aindrias De Staic came with us,” says Mikey. “We were playing a cover by the Squirrel Nut Zippers and he was like ‘more of that, more stuff in minor chords’. I went home that night – he wanted to go busking with us the next day – and I wrote Loola.

“I wanted to make a ruckus kind of song, and I felt a bar room fight had already been done,” he adds. “So I was going to turn it on its head, where the women attack the men, and add a bit of comedy to it. The idea of this unattainable woman – all the boys want to go for her.”

 

Also on the EP is When We Were All One, a song that draws from Mikey’s experience of living in California (where he was born), Barcelona and Galway.

“When We Were All One was written a long time ago,” he recalls. “This is the great thing about having formed this band. When I came back to Galway, I had no intention of playing music any more, really. I was going to university and I really wanted to focus on that. But having met all these guys, they breathed life back into these older songs.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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