JEAN BUTLER was at the very heart of the Riverdance phenomenon, as the original Eurovision interval set-piece was transformed into the most successful dance stage-show ever. Now, for the first time, she tells her side of that extraordinary saga. In a blistering broadside, she accuses her co-star MICHAEL FLATLEY of rampant egotism and argues that she's never been given the credit she deserves for the show's sensational impact. And then there's the question of money...
Interview: JOE JACKSON
On the 20th anniversary of Riverdance, composer Bill Whelan looks back at the phenomenon he gave birth to, recalls the fateful decision to sack Michael Flatley, discusses the Limerick City Of Culture controversy and shares his thoughts on the future of music in an era when fewer and fewer people pay for records.
At the end of the last decade, Philip King was best known as a founder member of Scullion and writer of the music to the Frank O’Connor translation of the Irish lyric ‘I Am Stretched On Your Grave’. However, since setting up Hummingbird Productions with his partners Nuala O’Connor and Kieran Corrigan in 1987, he has established himself as one of the country’s leading makers of films about Irish music and culture, including acclaimed series such as Bringing It All Back Home, A River Of Sound, and Sult. Here he talks to Peter Murphy about the current Irish climate for independent film-makers, his stop-start relationship with RTE, and post-Riverdance Irishry. Pics: Cathal Dawson
From Riverdance-ing as a youngster to struggling as a busker on the streets of Dublin, the success story of Ryan Sheridan has been a long time in the writing. Having conquered territories as a far afield as Germany and Australia, and back with his second solo album, the Monaghan star talks about living for the live experience, how music is all about freedom, and his plans to give the likes of Mogwai and Sigur Ros a run for their post-rock money in the future.
40 years after the Clancy Brothers brought Irish ballads to an international audience and won famous fans like Bob Dylan, Tommy Makem is still committed to the power of song – but appalled at the way modern Ireland treats its own culture.
DENIS LEARY, sultan of sneer, is en route to Dublin to star in the Murphy s Ungagged Comedy Festival. By way of a little limbering up, and proving that there s no smoke without fire, here he lets rip on Noraid, The Kennedys, The Royals, Bill Hicks, Dean Martin, Oasis, Father Ted, drugs in Kerry and, oh yes, why he d like to go to Riverdance with a sniper s rifle . Interview: LIAM FAY.
DEREK BELL on art, spirituality and porn! MARTIN FAY on Sean O'Riada, Carnegie Hall and drink! And PADDY MOLONEY on superstar friends, Bono's problematic vocals and his critics, inside and outside the group. Yes, it's the second and final part of JOE JACKSON'S extraordinary interview with THE CHIEFTAINS.
Ireland’s iconic Riverdance, and the legendary singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke, will headline ‘Achill Aid’, a benefit concert hosted by Galway Hospice, in association with the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association on Friday, September 30 at the Achill Island Hotel from 8pm.
In view of his busy touring schedule with Riverdance, De Dannan and the London Philharmonic among others, it’s hard to imagine how accordionist Luke Daniels manages to find any time for recording – which might explain why his new CD features four lineups captured in four different locations.
Colm Gannon’s melodeon-playing father, John Gannon, emigrated in 1959 from Droim in Connemara to Dorchester, near Boston, Massachusetts, where Colm was born and grew up. Now, following four years on the road with Riverdance, Colm is back living in his father’s home place and has just recorded his first solo album. It’s mightily impressive.
The subtitle of this album – Love Songs From Ireland – certainly conveys the impression that it is aimed at communities beyond these shores,including those whose experience of the genre is a twenty-second soundbite from Riverdance on American TV.
They may well have danced with the showbizz devil during their Riverdance days, but you can’t deny that few Irish bands are keeping it as real as Anúna. Cynara – their first album in nearly five years – sees them return to their original blueprint in impressive style.
Best known as the original lead voice in Riverdance, John McGlynn may have suffered from a case of sibling domination. His twin brother, Michael, wielding the Anúna baton, seems to have hogged most of the limelight in the past, but now it seems that John is set to redress the balance.
Cover star Paul Weller on going from an angry young man to a content middle-aged gent who oozes positive – he reckons England will win the World Cup! – playing with his heroes, the problem with politics and much, much more as he chats to Stuart Clark. Also: Sam Smith on his astonishing rise to the top, The Horrors on not compromising and Bill Whelan giving his most revealing interview about Riverdance to date….
Now that American rock ’n’ roll has succumbed to its self-destructive urges and with its British counterpart reduced to self-indulgent navel exercises, the stage is now set for the radical rejuvenation of Irish music both as an international commercial viability and as a cultural touchstone for the new generation at home. Bill Graham meets philip king, the captain of the flagship of the latest revival river of sound, and finds that in the wake of the Riverdance phenomenon, it’s full steam ahead for Irish trad. Pix: NUTAN.
ALTHOUGH Poe senior was getting severely inebriated he came to the conclusion that he was having a splendid time. Having just finished a large four-course meal in the company of some charming friends, he had managed to play some Elgar on his guitar, had got involved in some riveting discussions on the state of music today and now, with a lopsided paper hat on his head, swayed off down the dark cobbled streets towards the bay for a bit of fresh night air.
Government indignation and empty promises characterise China’s response to CD and DVD piracy, which flourishes in the country. Irish artists like U2, Westlife and Enya are bootleggers’ staple sellers. And Mary Black gets ripped off too. Mark Godfrey reports
Flute player conor byrne s lineage is a musically illustrious one his two uncles happen to be none other than Christy Moore and Luka Bloom. But, as he tells sarah Mcquaid, he s anxious that his music be judged on its own merits.
The 2011 Irish Guitar and Blues Festival will take place in Drogheda from April 15 to 17. Jackie Hayden casts his eye over what’s on offer at one of the most vibrant musical feasts in the Irish calendar.
While one Irish Ronan is currently attempting to break the US market, another already has. COLM O'HARE meets RONAN HARDIMAN, the music composer behind Michael Flatley’s successes and discovers a considerable solo talent
The second instalment of our
wide-ranging interview with
Sam Smyth sees the reporter extraordinaire come clean about life amid spindoctors, pol. cors., lobby fodder and other strange creatures indigenous to Leinster House. He also talks about his real reasons for leaving the Sunday Independent, his falling-out with Vincent Browne and his mano a mano battle with Noel Pearson. All this plus his favourite Donie Cassidy story.
Tape recorder: liam fay.
Snaps: colm Henry.
They’re regarded as one of Ireland’s hottest live propositions – and they’re now proving they can do it in the studio too. Colm O’Regan checks in with the crew who are always blowing their own horns, Booka Brass.
Suddenly it’s safe to listen to Irish ballads again. The once-moribund genre has been rejuvenated by The High Kings who are currently playing to full houses and their second album Memory Lane is nestling in the charts. Jackie Hayden gets the how and the why from the band’s Martin Furey.
Nog Nog Noggin ON HEAVEN’S DOOR
Come with us on a fantastic voyage to the mythical kingdom of Gibletland in the wondrous empire of Sallynoggin where sex, drugs and rock'n'roll rule and where your decadent host is, eh, Dustin the Turkey. DUSTIN THE TURKEY!!!
Read on but beware of fowl play.
Your demented guide: LIAM FAY.
PHIL COULTER is far from the muzak-producing bore of caricature. Here, he talks to JOE JACKSON about family tragedy, northern politics, drink binges, having songs covered by Elvis and his experiences working with stars like Van Morrison, Siniad O Connor and Luke Kelly. Portraits: MYLES CLAFFEY
It's been almost two years now since Anam's Brian O hEadhra unpacked his rucksack from top to bottom, two years of tearing all over the globe, from Düsseldorf to Darwin, Chicago to Castletownbere. With three albums well and truly reared, the band have recently been coaxing their fourth offspring, First Footing, out into the big bad world, blinkering its eyes against the glare of daylight.
During a career spanning almost forty years as a professional musician, Van Morrison has created an extraordinary body of work. A masterful musician, songwriter, producer, arranger and musical director, he possesses one of the most uniquely recognisable and powerful voices in music. His influence on contemporary music has been profound but far from resting on his laurels, his latest work Back On Top ranks among his finest albums to date. For Van Morrison, the search goes on. It was particularly appropriate, therefore, that he was chosen to become the first inductee into the Hot Press Irish Music Hall of Fame, at a special ceremony there last week. Report: Niall Stanage.
With Lights Of The City, underground faves JUBILEE ALLSTARS have finally made the album they ve always talked about. And they re still talking about disappearing Dublin, real Irish pop, love songs, dinner parties and much more. words: EAMON SWEENEY. Star Charts: Declan English
Danu may just be the hardest working band in trad. With their fourth album The Road Less Travelled only recently released and another promised for the spring, When Jackie Hayden put a number of key issues to the band’s accordionist Benny McCarthy and bodhran player and uilleann piper Donnchadh Hough he found that they don’t just work hard, they talk hard too.
All over Ireland, at any time of the day or night, hundreds of musicians are at work in recording studios, getting their sounds down for your delectation. So which are the trailblazing facilities? COLM O HARE reports.
The Corrs Talk On Corners was the biggest-selling album of 1998 in the UK. So far it s shifted 6 million copies worldwide and rising. And now the band are set to embark on their American campaign, with who knows what ultimate destination at journey s end. So they ve had it easy, eh? It s all a big marketing scam, masterminded by the moguls in the American record company that signed them? We thought you d like to know so we put these and other accusations to someone who should know, their manager of nine years, john hughes. And got some interesting answers too. Interview: niall stokes.
From Donegal to London and beyond, altan s breathtaking music continues to win new converts. As the band showcase material from their latest album, Runaway Sunday, at the international headquarters of Virgin Records,
mairiad nm mhaonaigh tells sarah mcquaid:
It s all about letting it rip.
In a presidential nomination field virtually devoid of candidates of real calibre and charisma, the name of ex-Boomtown Rat and Live Aid hero BOB GELDOF has cropped up again and again. Despite his outright denial that he will run for office, the rumour refuses to die away. Here, in an interview with LIAM FAY, he gives his assessment of Mary Robinson s seven years in the job, and his hopes for the future occupants of Aras an Uachtarain.
As the management force behind Boyzone, Westlife and Samantha Mumba, LOUIS WALSH is Ireland s Mr. Pop. In a candid interview with Joe Jackson he talks about his relationships with his acts, the ones that got away, the importance of the producer, the uselessness of critics and why he s unlikely to end up managing Van Morrison. Portraits: Cathal Dawson
Irish teen popsters B*WITCHED last month became only the seventh act in chart history to see their debut single go straight in at Number One in the UK Top 40. Are they the latest great white hope for pop music, or simply a troupe of over-hyped cod-ceili dancers? And what does all this signify for the Irish music industry as a whole? peter murphy reports.
It’s a different world than it used to be! In this special extended birthday column, The Hog takes a necessarily selective – and typically colourful – look at the 30 most important influences on the process of change that has brought this country all the way from there to… well, where else but here?
Not since The Bothy Band in 1976, has an Irish traditional group signed to a major international label. By linking up with Virgin, ALTAN have confirmed their status as the pr-eminent force on the Irish scene and signalled their readiness to take on the world. Of course, theirs has been no overnight success story and, with the tragic loss of Frankie Kennedy, one that has also involved an immense amount of emotional courage. Interview: BILL GRAHAM. Pics: COLM HENRY
MARTIN HAYES fiddles while dennis cahill burns on The Lonesome Touch, an exercise in purity that is not exclusive to the purists. Joining them on the road, siobhan long learns the finer points of a good reel, and discovers that in Irish traditional music there s no place for conflict between continuity and change.
As founder and director of the acclaimed choral group, Anuna, MICHAEL McGLYNN has established himself as one of the country's most gifted and innovated composers. However, he has also become a figure by some elements in the Irish Music Industry and been dismissed by others as a "pig ignorant arrogant bastard" Inetrview: LIAM FAY
On Sunday 16 October a unique event takes place in The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, as the climax of the 1994 Dublin Theatre Festival. Organised by Amnesty International, Voices Of The Disappeared is intended to highlight their campaign on “ Disappearances” and Political Killings. Stuart Carolan reports.
Fermanagh is a county that s accommodated a rake of musical traditions both past and present. Split by the sibling lakes of Upper and Lower Lough Erin, Fermanagh s musical identity is as diverse as her geography, to the extent that at times there s little or no crossover in musical style from north to south of the county and vice versa.
The first rule of interviewing LOU REED is that you don t: he interviews you. Peter Murphy survives the turning of the tables and is rewarded with thoughts on Joyce, Wilde, Dylan, Ginsberg and on becoming an elder stateman for the alternative thing .
For the launch of his second album, UNDER THE MOON, MARTIN HAYES returned from his new home in Seattle to his native town of Feakle, deep in the heart of Clare. BILL GRAHAM travelled west to meet one of the musicians responsible for the resurgence in Irish music and discuss his roots in the local tradition, and speculate on the possibilities and conflicts opening up within the genre.
In an age when hype springs eternal, DAVID GRAY is that rare phenomenon a success story scripted by the fans rather than the industry. And a distinctly Irish success story at that. A certifiable platinum-selling box-office blockbuster in this country, the Welsh singer-songwriter still awaits a similar eruption of Gray fever in Britain, Europe and America. But his latest album, White Ladder, could be the record which tells the world what Ireland already knows. Now as he prepares to wow the faithful at Galway s Big Beat festival, JOHN WALSHE presents the inside story of the best kept secret in the west.
Pics Mick Quinn
No one has their ears sadistically sliced off with a cut-throat razor but there's savage revelry aplenty as Siobhan Long sets her watch to Hiney time and spends 24 hours in the dangerously
danceable company of Speranza.
Don’t let her steal your heart away!
sheryl crow: Hot Press Readers’ Love Of The Year and Bob Dylan’s favourite singer-songwriter is the hottest new star in rock'n'roll. Helena Mulkerns charts the singular rise of Kennet, Missouri’s most celebrated slacker country queen.
It’s the guide Ladbrokes, the Central Bank, Mystic Meg and Mark Lawrenson turn to at the start of each year – Jackie Hayden’s cultural, sporting and political forecasts for the forthcoming twelve months.
Since winning an Oscar for Once, Glen Hansard‘s life has swerved like an out of control rollercoaster. There was a whirlwind romance with, and painful separation from, Markéta Irglová; the suicide of a fan which left him with brains on his shoes and a chasm in his soul and the strange guilt he felt at being successful. With his first solo album about to be released, he pulls up a stool and explains how he learned to stop worrying and love his new life in New York.
In the second and final part of an extensive interview, director Jim Sheridan discusses his troubles with Gabriel Byrne and Noel Pearson, explains why he could marry Daniel Day-Lewis but would fail to measure up against Richard Harris, and suggests the best way forward for the embattled Irish film industry. Plus: the ouija board prophecies which seem to have shaped his life. By Joe Jackson.
And so, unbelievably another year has bitten the dust. Here, continuing a tradition as Christmassy as the eating of turkey and the consumption of way too much alcohol, The Hog reflects on a turbulent year, when we all grew older and much, much wiser.
She’s been waiting a lifetime but Mary Coughlan’s former backing singer Valerie Armstrong has finally realised a long-held ambition. She has released the first single from her new album Time Has Told Me which is due out in September.
As the title might suggest, this album marks a forward movement for Eileen Ivers, not only in terms of her career path, now very firmly in the ascendant, but also by way of connecting her past to her future.
As Mikam Sound celebrates its 30th year at the top of the Irish sound-hire and production business, Jackie Hayden talks to its driving forces, Paul Aungier and Mick O’Gorman, about their early days, the changing face of the music industry here and abroad and the phenomenal success of their Mosco Sound Design off-shoot.
The Rubberbandits have spoken to Hot Press about this morning's Irish Times report that the Limerick City of Culture Chief Executive, Patricia Ryan, wanted two Moyross rappers to omit one of the lines from the song they've recorded for the year-long celebration.
Despite rumours of relegation, RTE's Apres Match team of BARRY MURPHY, RISTEARD COOPER and GARY COOKE release a live video for Christmas, return to the live arena this winter and are looking forward to Ireland's World Cup final games. STEPHEN ROBINSON reports
The Critics Panel who voted for the Top 30 Albums and Singles of the Year are as follows: Bill Graham, Liam Fay, George Byrne, Stuart Clark, Lorraine Freeney, Tara McCarthy, Gerry McGovern, Neil McCormick, Dermot Stokes, Oliver P. Sweeney, Siobhan Long, Steve Averill, Andy Darlington, Colm O’Hare, Joe Jackson, Niall Crumlish, Olaf Tyaransen, Patrick Brennan, Nicholas G. Kelly, Jackie Hayden and Niall Stokes.
In an increasingly competitive market, more musicians are returning to the classroom to learn the hard-nosed facts of the business. JACKIE HAYDEN investigates what the LONDON MUSIC SCHOOL has to offer them.
Equip For Success
No matter how brilliant you or your band are musically, poor equipment can destroy your chances of fulfilling your potential. COLM O HARE gets a few pointers from the HALL OF FAME ALL-STARS, who play the greatest Irish rock and pop songs in the world ever(!), every Sunday afternoon in HQ at The Hot Press Hall Of Fame, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. Pics: CATHAL DAWSON
Colm O’Hare previews MIDEM, the music business trade fair to end all music business trade fairs held each year in Cannes, France and talks to Irish delegates about the increasing possibilities it opens up for Irish labels.
EAMONN McCANN journeys to America s west coast and encounters the same GLOBAL issues of bigotry and prejudice. To compensate, though, he also savours the pleasures, musical, cultural and alcoholic, of San Fran.
As the Irish Music Industry hurtles towards the next millenium, Colm O’Hare reports that the philosophy of the key players is to accentuate the positive and keep both feet on the peddle. Anyway, nobody ever said that world domination would be easy . . .
Q: Which top Irish quiz-masters’ pathological obsessions include Something Happens, Shamrock Rovers and the amount of shopping days left to the next Suede gig? A: George “You Started, So I’ll Finish” Byrne
IF EVERYBODY s doing it, why can t we? It s not a bad question actually, though of course you can answer it in a dozen different ways especially where starting your own business, or becoming your own boss.
The first rule of interviewing LOU REED is that you don’t: he interviews you. Peter Murphy survives the turning of the tables and is rewarded with thoughts on Joyce, Wilde, Dylan, Ginsberg and on becoming an elder statesman for the alternative thing.