The Spring Gigs have been going well and we have settled back in after our Jan-Feb break. Starting back after 2 months I was uneasy and nervous. However, the welcome and good vibes from the Mullingar audience soon had us well primed and the never ending tour was back on track.
Wexford went well but the stage in the new opera house gets extremely cold once the gig starts. Back to Portlaoise again where the room was hopping and Declan and I had two right good nights. Castlebar has a unique Theatre … a lifelong project and dream of Pat Jennings. The Travellers Friend Theatre is a most welcoming room in which to work. It is interesting to compare the vibe in the Independent Theatres with those that are heavily State subsidised and funded. In the past year I have experienced many theatres on both sides of the line and I have a definite preference for the Independents. Many of the State Funded and subsidised theatres have an attitude and often display elitist tendencies. Some of them appear to be very heavily staffed compared to their counterparts but often these very staffing levels make production more difficult, surely an irony. Most Independents have, at their helm, individuals who are passionate about their theatres. They have devoted decades of sweat, toil and ambition to build their venues. they are hands on and love the business and creativity of performance, the buzz of the show whatever the discipline or genre … to mention a few independent theatres I think of the TF Castlebar, The Forum Waterford, The Tom Leddy in Drogheda, The Briery Gap in Macroom and The INEC in Killarney. There are many others deserving of a mention but these spring to mind, having played them recently.
We started work on a recording project in January but after a couple of months I decided to park the project for the time being. We have commenced work on a new album and, so far, we are happy with progress. If all goes well it may be out there come the middle of autumn.
I will record a small piece for RTE Radio to celebrate Bob D’s 70th birthday and I look forward to playing with him at The London Feis in Finsbury Park on June 18th. It’s great that this gig is back. It used to be called The London Fleadh but apparently some impresario has copyrighted the word “Fleadh” and the promoter was advised not to call the gig by its original name. I intend to call all my future London Gigs “Fleadhs”. We may have a bit of fun with the honchos of the greasy wheel. for anyone who might be curious about the words, the word “Fleadh” is taken to mean a collective event which encompasses all that might take place at a weekend Festival of music, dance, song and celebration. A “Feis” would describe a more formal event where competitions take place with poise and decorum. I suspect the London Feis will be a Fleadh in all but name….
It was very gratifying to be involved in the recent RTE documentaries, “The Stardust Disaster- 30 years on”, and “The Bloody Sunday Tribunal” which featured “They never came Home” and “Minds Locked Shut”….also got to see the documentary on Concerned Parents against Drugs which featured the song “Whacker Humphries”. It is uplifting when the songs are remembered by those for whom they were written.
We have added some dates to the diary: Scotland and England next week, looking forward to that, Particularly to Barrowland where “Come all you Dreamers” was shot by Don Coutes and his team…We got great feedback from the recent transmissions on TG4 and BBC4. Then we return home to play Boyle and Cavan in April, Trim and Dundalk in May, Carlow, Cork and London in June, Galway in Sept, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Limerick in October, Waterford and Belfast in November. Details for all these are on the gig page. I will play some solo gigs in July which are not yet in place but we’ll keep you posted…
Hope all goes well with you good Listeners, that your dreams may come through,
PS. recently came across this radio documentary from 1996, posted onto the website by James from Waterford.
Also, John Coffey sent this collection of postcards from our home town