As the Music Library in Grand is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, we are delighted to be commemorating one of Ireland’s most influential and fondly regarded musicians, the peerless guitarist Rory Gallagher. Indeed, the Music Library was renamed the Rory Gallagher Music Library in 2005 and this summer as part of the Remember Rory programme organised by the library there is an exhibition of a select few of Rory’s guitars and memorabilia such as concert posters that were kindly provided by his brother Donal.
An interesting aspect of the exhibition is a collection of Rory’s favourite crime novels. Many fans may be unaware that he was an avid reader of crime fiction and gained much inspiration from the genre which is reflected in aspects of his music, namely the song Continental Op after the Dashiell Hammett novel. Other favourite authors include Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley; Strangers on a Train), Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep; The Long Goodbye), Ian Fleming (Casino Royale; Thunderball), Eric Ambler (Journey into Fear; Epitaph for a Spy) and many others.
In 2013 the noted crime fiction writer and bone fide Rory Gallagher fan Ian Rankin collaborated with Donal Gallagher to produce a novella with illustrations by Timothy Truman inspired by Rory’s music entitled The Lie Factory which was accompanied by a compilation of Rory’s more crime noir related music with a narration by the actor Aidan Quinn. The finished product is entitled Kickback City. This is available to borrow from Cork City libraries along with many of the aforementioned titles from your local library branch or to reserve online here https://librariesireland.iii.com/iii/encore/homepage?lang=eng
Ian Rankin himself praised the wonderful mural by John Coughlan that was recently erected outside the library in a tweet as seen here.
The exhibition of memorabilia will run until the end of August and there will be more talks and performances throughout the rest of the year.
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.
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 Vestas: Live at the Library: a series of recorded interviews with contemporary Cork musicians, as part of the Rory Gallagher Music Library 40th celebration.
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’
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.
Cork teen expounds the value of music from a bygone age
Kate Lehane is a fourteen year old from Cork who isn’t obsessed with One Direction or 5 Seconds of Summer but would rather spend her time listening to Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley! Kate feels that something is missing from modern music that can only be found in the great songs by the legends of the past. She also believes in the power of music as a unifying force and as a means of bridging the gap between the generations.
As she tells us herself:
‘I’ve always wanted to do something for the older generation as there isn’t much for them to do these days. I think it is really important to create a positive relationship between young people and the older generation. I once heard an old song I liked on the radio which made me listen to older music and since then I love music from bygone days from all the greats like Frank Sinatra and Elvis. I think older music has more meaning and feeling and you can’t help but sing along! Music these days is always the same. There are no surprises, whereas old music has swing, jazz, blues, doo-wop, soul. I could listen to these songs over and over again and they never become boring.’
Kate comes from a family who have long been involved in Cork musical circles. Her late great grand-uncle, Tadhg O’Driscoll, was a well known and well loved character who worked tirelessly in the promotion of ‘Gramophone Circles’ in the city.
Kate feels that her family and upbringing have been immensely important in nurturing her love and appreciation of music:
‘My granddad also influenced me with his knowledge of music. My great grand-uncle, Tadhg O Driscoll always loved to make the older generation smile, even though most of the time he was older than them! When he went into a room their faces would light up! He sang and made them want to sing. It’s weird how just a little bit of music can mean so much to people and make them smile. Tadhg was one of the first to play records in Cork for people’s enjoyment. It was called a ‘gramophone circle’ and was enjoyed in the Cork Library for many years. It still goes on today. I remember many Sunday mornings with my granddad and Tadhg. He would be sitting with his dogs and eating his cake, making funny jokes, singing and telling stories. Now I’d like to follow in his footsteps and make the older generation smile, not with jokes but with music!’
In the spirit of all things nostalgic, Kate will present her musical selection on vinyl, rather than CD. In an era where digital streaming ‘on the go’ seems to be the accepted norm for musical consumption, it’s refreshing to find someone so young who is encouraging us to sit back and take the time to enjoy music as it should be enjoyed.
On the 27th August 2015 Johnny Campbell was good enough to agree to a ‘Question & Answer’ session in the City Library, Grand Parade, Cork. We managed to capture about half an hour of the event on camera, where Johnny talks about meeting Rory, growing up as a musician in Cork, and travelling with Rory to Hamburg, Germany, as part of a stripped down version of the Impact Showband.
If anyone would like to read a short article about this era of Rory Gallagher’s career then please click here: