Homecoming gigs are always very special. Tallaght musician Shane Ó Fearghail (currently based in Vienna) returned to play on the Irish soil on Thursday December 14th in a breathtaking location of St Maelruian's church. Right at the start of the gig Shane said he feels like he should say a mass. The congregation was cosy and the atmosphere warm. Decent lights only added to an intimacy of the night.
These weren't the ordinary gigs you go to. This was something else. Pure spiritual experience. Lead by the perfect leader. Two nights set in breathtaking small church right in the heart of London, you couldn't ask for a better place to see such an incredible artist that Duke Special is. The candles lit up the room to capture the atmosphere and one couldn't help but feel amazed. No wonder both gigs at St Pancras OId Church had been sold out for long time.
Is there any better feeling than playing for your home crowd? To know there have always been people who have cared about you, have always supported you? Even though you're living abroad for years, your roots are still there. These might be the feelings of Kerryman Brendan O'Shea who came along with Jenna Nicholls to play upstairs in Whelan's, Dublin, on November 4th. Jenna is an American but finds Ireland very welcoming and the audience has always embraced her like one of their own.
Gifted singer/songwriter J Eoin surely knows how to treat his audience and how to engage them in his songs. He spent nearly thirty years living in London before moving back to his native Ireland. To mark the occasion a farewell London gig took place at Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith on November 3rd and the night promised truly magical experience.
They say dreams come true when you have faith in your goals and you are willing to work hard to make your dreams come true. Danish singer Rune Herholdt has been dreaming of coming to the Czech Republic and playing there together with The Gospel Brothers for a long time. He himself has been to Czech Republic and particularly to Brno, 4 times before but never with his fellow musicians. Now the time has finally come and his dream has been realized.
There are events that need to be seen to be believed. Folk holidays festival in Namest nad Oslavou, Czech Republic, has seen many of them over the years but nothing like this. Sean-nós singer Lorcán Mac Mathúna has never been to Czech Republic before and when he finally did come he brought a truly unique project with him. The project is called Visionaries 1916 And Their Words and consists of poems, songs and other texts written by people involved in 1916 Easter Rising, the most important event in Irish history as the Irish fought for their independence against the British.
Northern Ireland's Peter Wilson, or Duke Special as he's known on stage, is without doubt one of the most original songwriters out there. He's been coming to Czech republic regularly for almost a decade and local audience has seen many different layers of his creativity but nothing like this. On Wednesday June 21st, as a part of the Valassky spalicek festival, Duke brought a truly unique production to Valmez. This production is called Under the Dark Cloth and it connects the photography as an art form and the music.
There are nights when it doesn't matter how many people are in the room, sometimes less means time for more intimate songs and you feel like in someone's living room. This was the case of the Saturday night, June 3rd in Stara pekarna in Brno where the Irish songwriters Bob O'Keeffe, from Wexford but currently based in Prague, and Marty Ryan, also known as Anna's Anchor (from Limerick), were the stars of the night.
There are bands that have been playing for years but you may not have a chance to come across them but there are others that have been playing for a short period of time but put themselves on the map. Young indie rock band Her English Blood certainly belongs to the second category. After playing just for a year they now released their debut album Only Breathing and the launch took place on April 18th in Prague. Irish singer/songwriter Glen Hansard was supposed to be a very special guest of the night.