Live at the Library – Jack O’Rourke

Jack O’Rourke is a singer/songwriter from Cork.  His debut album, “Dreamcatcher”, was released in 2016, with its edgy baroque pop, plaintive ballads, noir blues and startlingly honest reflections on the world around him.  The album was play listed on national and regional stations.  Jack won the prestigious International Song writing Competition for lyrics for the album’s centerpiece ballad, “Silence” (performed live on the Late Late Show), as well as having sell-out shows around the country.

Jack O'Rourke

 

Here is a short performance by Jack as he chats to Sheena Crowley about his plans for the future and plays a selection of his songs.

 

 

To view the full interview visit our YouTube channel here.

This recording is part of a special programme of events to mark 40 years of the Rory Gallagher Music Library, 40 years of service to the music loving people of Cork, 40 years of pleasure and enjoyment to library users

The series is about contemporary Cork musicians, old and young of diverse styles and backgrounds.  They are invited to do a half hour interview in the music library, followed by a couple of songs.  Each episode is professionally recorded, and kept as part of the Cork City Library Music Archive to reflect the musical culture of Cork.

The Gloaming Live at the NCH

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The prog rock group Yes used to be famous (infamous?) for frequently having long tracks that would fill an entire side of an LP.  The vinyl version of The Gloaming Live at the NCH is a double album; sides B and D each contain just one track; does this mean they are about to change their name to ‘Is Ea’?  A risky thing to do, having such long pieces, but saved by the fact that the music is so fantastic.

The Gloaming have played 24 shows at the National Concert Hall (NCH) in Dublin since 2013, most usually as part of series of concerts in the spring of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 – they’ve just finished a series of seven shows there in March of this year.

The Gloaming Live at the NCH is not, however, a recording of one concert, rather a selection made by Thomas Bartlett, the piano player and producer, of tunes and songs from the 2015 to 2017 concerts.

Doveman opening for the Swell Season in Eugene 2009

When Planxty revolutionised traditional music in the 1970s it was partly through their choice of instruments, putting uilleann pipes alongside guitar, bouzouki, and mandolin for the first time.  The line-up of The Gloaming is also a step change:  Martin Hayes, the renowned East Clare fiddle player, is joined by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh on a fiddle he adapted himself called a ‘Hardanger d’Amore, as well as by the singer Iarla Ó Lionáird from Cúl Aodha, and Americans Denis Cahill on guitar and Thomas Bartlett on piano.
There are so many gems on this record, it is hard to know where to begin:

The album gets off to a lively and lilting start with ‘The Booley House’, a selection of a hop jig, plus reels and slides.

‘The Sailor’s Bonnet’ opens with the title tune played as a slow air, and then picks up showcasing each of the musicians – not least Bartlett on an extended piano piece – as they build to the flying finish.  They come close to taking the roof off the NCH!
On ‘The Pilgrim’s Song’ it is Bartlett’s piano behind Ó Lionáird’s singing and Hayes’ fiddle-playing that gives them the space to create so beautifully.

Their version of the famous jig ‘The Rolling Wave’ – and even more so ‘Music in the Glen’ which follows on – features two fiddles doing their very different things, with Thomas Bartlett doing the seemingly impossible and accompanying both while also providing a percussive thump – the Kilfenora Ceili Band featuring Thelonius Monk!

Mid-way through the final track ‘Fainleoig’ the great jig ‘The Holly Bush’ emerges out of the maelstrom created by Bartlett’s huge piano sound.  When the jig really gets going it is irresistible.  The tempo and sound then soften for Ó Lionáird to sing the beautiful ‘Samhraidh, Samhraidh’.

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So perhaps surprisingly, given the fame of Hayes and Ó Lionáird, it is Bartlett who is the star of this show, more so than on the two studio records The Gloaming have produced so far.  Bartlett – who also performs under the name ‘Doveman’ – has worked with a wide variety of artists, from Martha Wainwright to Ed Sheeran.  He plays on David Byrne’s American Utopia which also appeared this year.  His jazz-flavoured percussive piano playing is a crucial and defining element in The Gloaming’s sound.

24 gigs at the NCH and surely more to come.  That building on Earlsfort Terrace should sport a big banner out front: ‘The National Concert Hall – home to The Gloaming’.

Liam Ronayne

#rgml #thegloaming #corkcitylibraries

Live at the Library – The Vestas

The Vestas: Live at the Library: a series of recorded interviews with contemporary Cork musicians, as part of the Rory Gallagher Music Library 40th celebration.

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Jake Kalilec, Leo Mullane and Fintan Mulvihill are three fine singer-songwriters from Cork, who came together whilst studying music in college. They write and perform some of the finest new music on the Irish scene – heavily influenced by soul, blues, pop and jazz styles, reflecting the different influences each of them brings to the group. This gives their music a refreshing and uplifting feel, with appeal to a wide audience. Their catchy melodies and vocal harmonies range in theme from the heartache of lost love to life on the dole. They have supported Damien Dempsey, Declan O’Rourke, Hermitage Green and many more.

Their new EP “In my Head” features soulful original songs that combine moving lyrics with equally moving melodies.

Here, Sheena Crowley talks to The Vestas about their new EP ‘In My Head’

Live at the Library with Joe O’Callaghan

Joe O’Callaghan is well known on the Cork music scene as a master harmonica player and for his high energy performance as one of the best frontmen in Cork. He has gigged regularly for the past five decades and is still going strong.

Joe started out with a band called ‘Boothouse’ in 1970 with band members, Joe O’Callaghan, Declan Pender, Pete Brennan, Ciarán MacCarthy and Dan Sheehan.

In 1977 Bill O’Brien and Joe formed Hot Guitars along with Jeremy Nagle, Pat Lynch, and John Finn. Although the line up has changed many times, the very popular Cork blues/rock band has been gigging for 40+ years. Joe plays harmonica, guitar, sax, and keyboard throughout the set and with his usual gusto on the mic, he entertains the crowd, often strutting along the bar or swinging from the rafters. The audience is glued to such a dynamic personality, following him as he moves through the crowd. They would never imagine that such a vibrant character is known amongst his friends and family as a quiet, reserved man.

Joe O’Callaghan is one of Cork’s finest legends.

 

by Sheena Crowley

Live at the Library: South African Jazz Tunes “Old & New”

Dan Shout is a respected jazz musician based in Cape Town. His professional career spans almost 20 years, with a multitude of local and international performances.  In addition to his work as a session musician, Dan lectures part time at the University of Cape Town. He also presents workshops at Jazz conferences, and recently performed in the Cork Guinness Jazz Festival.

He can be seen here playing in The Rory Gallagher Music Library, accompanied by Mo O’Connor, where he gave a wonderful and informative illustrated talk on South African jazz.  His latest CD, “In with a Shout” is available for loan from the library.

Mo O’Connor is a former member of Loudest Whisper and the Noel Redding band and is well known in the traditional Irish and jazz world.

Scream for me Dublin!

Iron Maiden, 3Arena, Dublin, 06 May 2017

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Way back in September 1990 I attended my first Iron Maiden concert.  I was a fifteen year old Heavy Metal Fanatic and this was a big deal for me.  I remember vividly the sense of excitement and the feeling of camaraderie as we walked in our thousands—clad in denim and leather and the obligatory white sneakers—along the quays towards the old Point Depot.

Twenty seven years later, I’m partaking in the same pilgrimage and the air is charged with that same sense of anticipation.  It’s a beautiful day in May and Dublin is swarming with metal fans.  Loud rock music is blaring from Lanigans and other pubs along the quays as we make our way to the venue.  The mood is high and the atmosphere is that of a carnival.

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Eddie overseeing proceedings

Maiden are known for their elaborate stage shows and The Book of Souls Tour does not disappoint.  The stage is beautifully decked out in Mayan themed imagery that matches the artwork of the latest album to the finest of details.  The video intro which leads into If Eternity Should Fail, the opening track from The Book of Souls, is enough to drive the capacity crowd into near frenzy and by the time the band hit the stage, the 3Arena is a cauldron of noise.

The set list is one of the best in recent years and classics like The Trooper and Wrathchild sit nicely alongside new tracks like The Book of Souls and The Red and the Black without interrupting the flow of the show one iota.  Children of the Damned was one of the highlights of the night, in my opinion and the version of Powerslave was absolutely masterful.  Death or Glory from the new record is fast becoming a fan favourite, evidenced in Dublin by the thousands of voices singing along with Bruce Dickinson, who takes the opportunity to show that he doesn’t take it all too seriously, singing the whole track while wearing a monkey mask.  Those who know the song will know why!

All the necessary elements needed to make up a great Iron Maiden show were there:  Steve Harris machine-gunning the front row with his bass, Bruce Dickinson ping-ponging about the whole stage like a man half his age, the scrap between Eddie and Janick Gers, and a huge, brooding Baphomet overshadowing the band during The Number of the Beast.

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Is this metal enough for you?…

The fact that Iron Maiden, after so many years of recording albums and touring around the world, can still fill huge venues and present a set list containing nearly fifty percent brand new material is incredibly impressive.  It demonstrates how relevant the band still is to the world of rock music and how committed and hard working they are as musicians.  Their fans of course realise this and that’s why Maiden are still at the apex of the metal pyramid.  Here’s hoping that there will be another album and another tour.

Up the Irons!

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Ian O’Sullivan

The Road to Hamburg

‘A Question & Answer Session with Johnny Campbell’

Cork City Library, Thursday, 27 August, 7pm

During his musical apprenticeship with the Fontana Showband, the young Rory Gallagher, a mere fifteen when he joined in 1963, learned his craft as a touring musician. Never to be content as a cog in a machine churning out safe, dance-hall friendly, pop hits, night after night, Rory would inevitably push himself to the fore. As his reputation as a guitarist began to grow, the Fontana changed their name to The Impact in 1965 to reflect a more blues/rock-oriented set list showcasing Rory’s fiery guitar work.

Ireland’s conservative music scene was hardly the ideal stomping ground for this new direction, however, and The Impact was forced to find work abroad. As a natural metamorphosis, a stripped-down three-piece version of the band — featuring Rory on guitar & vocals, Johnny Campbell on drums and Oliver Tobin on bass — eventually found themselves on the club circuit in Hamburg, Germany.

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For three Irish teenagers arriving in Hamburg in 1965, a city still reverberating with the aftershock from legendary performances at the Star Club, from the likes of The Beatles and Jerry Lee Lewis, it must have been like walking on to a film set, such was its legendary status. Even today, Hamburg is a city which pulses with primal, hedonistic energy. We can only imagine what it was like back in its heyday of the 1960s.

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Monument to the legendary Star Club in St. Pauli, Hamburg

Throughout this relatively short but formative period in Rory Gallagher’s career, Johnny Campbell was the man behind the drum kit. As part of the 2015 National Heritage Week programme of events, Johnny will be in Cork City Library on Thursday, 27 August, at 7pm, for a special ‘Question & Answer’ session on his time with The Impact Showband and Rory Gallagher. So, if you’d like to hear it ‘from the horse’s mouth’, then here’s your chance!

In 1966, Rory Gallagher quit The Impact and went on to form the Taste. The rest, as they say, is history. And what a history it is! even if it ended prematurely. Like another Irish hero, Cú Chulainn, Rory Gallagher lived a short life that was filled with glory and his name will live on as part of musical lore until the last Fender Strat is plugged into the last Vox AC 30.

 

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