Charisma is a powerful tool if you have it. It’s something you have to be born with, can’t be learnt over the years. The two artists who came to play at Forum Karlín in Prague on August 27th certainly have what it takes to silence a room of a few thousand heads.
Irish songsmith David Keenan is without doubt someone most of you have already come across. He first came to public attention in 2015 where a taxi driver filmed him singing in the front seat of his taxi and later put the video on Youtube. And it has taken off since then for David. Appearing in the legendary Other Voices in Dingle, broadcast on RTE, sharing the stage with the likes of Hothouse Flowers, Damien Dempsey or Glen Hansard ( who took him on tour to USA last year), David has recently recorded a debut album A Beginners Guide to Bravery which is going to be released on August 16th. And on May 31st this rising talent came to play the Czech Republic for the very first time at United Islands of Prague festival.
Some events are attracting the audience because they're taking place in a special location or there is some not-to-be-missed artist performing. The start of St.Patrick's Day weekend in Cork had it all - a breathtaking venue of the former church of St.Luke's. It promises an unforgettable night right when you enter. And the artist? None other than the legendary band Interference. Their Cork gigs are always something else. Magical timeless gathering of an extended family.
The charismatic Irishman returned to Brno after several years, accompanied by Petr Tichy on double bass and Vojtech Jindra on acoustic guitar. J Eoin comes from Limerick, Ireland but spent nearly thirty years living in London before moving back to Ireland last year. He released his latest album Sunshowers earlier this year, just guitar and vocal.
The Czech tour of Interference continued in Olomouc on August 7th. This was the only gig of the tour where the band had a support act. The Shookies have been playing for eight years and to be part of what promised to be an unforgettable night was certainly a dream come true for them. The lead singer of the band, Filip Burš, is a confident artist with a voice to remember. Glen and Interference took the stage after a little break and Glen introduced the band in Czech saying " My jsme Interference" (" We are Interference").
Folk holidays festival in Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, is one of a kind. You don't see many festivals like that. It takes place in a small town and you get the impression you just came to a gathering of an extended family. The town comes alive, you keep meeting the same people and the barriers between performers and the audience almost vanish. The Irish cult band Interference fell in love with Namest on their first visit in 2005. They came back two years later and the long gap of 11 years followed before they were finally able to return. This return was highly anticipated but also very emotional. The lead singer and co-founder of the band, Fergus O'Farrell, passed away two years ago. He's dearly missed by all who loved him but they also know his presence is constant even though invisible.
Even though it was the start of Folk holidays festival in Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, one of the highlights came on Monday July 30th. English songwriter John Smith (some might say there is no name more typical for an English person) performed in the Czech Republic for the very first time but the reputation of master guitarist and an author of powerful songs full of raw emotions was already there. Then add collaborations with big stars like Waterson:Carthy, Joan Baez, Lisa Hannigan or Glen Hansard and the unforgettable experience is guaranteed.
There are musicians that were simply meant to play together and create that magic which happens only between like-minded souls. Irish band Sliotar and Tradish from Denmark are clear example of such connection. When they get together, the audience are surely able to witness that magic being created. The traditional Celtic evening in Kurim castle held on Thursday July 26th was no exception. This party is held annually in the courtyard of the castle. Sliotar have made it almost their home as they have been coming back year after year, with a different musician friends joining them on the bill each year.
Cork City has a vibrant music scene full of extraordinary talents. The aim of a new festival called Right Here Right Now is to showcase some of these talents. The event takes place in Cork Opera House and presents gigs of all kinds. After a great success of the first edition last year the festival continued this June again with schedule packed of not-to-be-missed nights. One of such nights was one originally meant to be the festival opener but later moved to the festival closer. Jack O'Rourke played at the festival also last year, with Anna Mitchell and the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra at that time. This time he returned with his band and they were joined by Anna Mitchell and her band.
Glen Hansard returned to the Czech Republic again as part of his European tour for new album Between Two Shores released in January. Czech Republic feels like home for the charismatic Irishman and everyone knows it. He was scheduled to play two gigs in the country and the first step was Divadlo studio Dva in Prague. For some, the location might be surprising, the regular concertgoers are used to Divadlo Archa but sometimes the change might be a good thing.