Date Published: 15-Jun-2011
Bodhrán player Eamon Murray is in ebullient form as his group Beoga celebrate the launch of their fourth album How To Tune a Fish.
“Keeping busy now,” he says. “It’s all go, thankfully. It’s a good way to be.
Beoga, who fuse world influences with Irish traditional music, play The Crane Bar this Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18 as part of the Galway Sessions festival. Their band’s line-up is Eamon (bodhrán/percussion), Damian McKee (accordion), Seán Óg Graham (accordion/guitar), Liam Bradley (piano/keys) and Niamh Dunne (fiddle/vocals).
Having recorded the previous album, The Incident in regular studios, the Antrim based Beoga decided it was time for a new approach with How To Tune a Fish, says Eamon.
“From February we spent three months recording it – at home this time,” he explains. “Seán Óg, the accordion and guitar player, has a studio in his house. We literally recorded it in his living room, bathroom and kitchen, the whole lot. We took over his house for a few months and locked the doors!
“At home you can take your time and work a bit later, mess around a bit more” he adds. “You’re not under anyone else’s time. It’s a bit warmer and homely; we took our time with it and got it right.”
They experimented with how instruments sounded when played in different spaces, a process that yielded some interesting results!
“I spent a lot of time in the toilet with one of the lads with me,” he says. “That’s where some of the stuff happened, but other than that I preferred the living room – for obvious reasons! Between those two locations we hopefully got it right.”
A combination of geography and a competitive streak first brought Beoga together in 2002.
“Myself and Seán Óg grew up playing together and we always wanted to have a band,” says Eamon. “We got together with Damien and Liam at the All Ireland Fleadh there in Listowel in 2002. Seán knew the lads in a roundabout way and we just sat down and had a night’s craic, made big plans. One of those times where you hit it off musically; we sort of took it from there.”
Eamon was particularly successful at the Fleadhs – he is a three-in-a-row All-Ireland Fleadh bodhrán final winner. How does the competition work?
“You just get up and play a couple of tunes with a musician that you have provided,” he explains. “One of my sisters used to always play at the Fleadh so we’d go up and play. It was nerve-wracking. I decided to leave it for a while. I got a three in a row and I said ‘that’ll do me.’ Anything else would be pushing your luck.”
Beoga’s music has a real freewheeling feel to it and, though they write set-lists, the band can shake it up too.
“We kind of plan as best we can,” says Eamon. “You’d need to have a rough idea of what you’re doing and then sometimes, depending on the gig, you might cut something or throw something extra in. Depending on how you think everyone’s reacting; some people
love the faster stuff and some love the slower stuff. It’s horses for courses. We like to know, to some extent, what we’re doing.”
How To Tune a Fish is a peculiar, but memorable, title. Eamon recalls how it came about.
“Myself and Liam came up with that. We were sort of bashing around names, and that’s often the hardest thing. Whenever you listen to the way we play there’s a few unexpected turns in the music. We thought, you know, why not do something that’s a bit of craic and doesn’t box you in. We didn’t want to call it The Rolling Glens of County Antrim!”
The title of Beoga’s album reflects their desire not to be boxed in and Eamon feels the band don’t fit neatly into the ‘trad’ genre.
“I think it would be something else; I don’t know if you’d actually call it anything,” he muses about their music. “There are a lot of purists who say it wouldn’t be their cup of tea, put it that way. That’s grand, it’s not supposed to be a purist’s cup of tea – it’s supposed to be a bit of craic, and is what it is. There’s plenty of twists and turns, and well and good. It’s successful.”
“I don’t think you could call it trad, I don’t think you could call it folk,” he adds. “It’s something anyway, and I hope the people that are listening to it look at it that way too.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.