- 15 Jun 21
'Backstage at Mike The Pies' is produced and presented by Megan O’Donoghue, and features some of the brilliant artists who have played socially-distanced shows at Mike The Pies during lockdown.
Hot Press's podcast series, 'Backstage At Mike the Pies', continues – with Jack O'Rourke featuring on Episode 12.
The acclaimed Cork native has just released a new piano ballad, 'Opera on the Top Floor', along with an illustrated music video to accompany the track.
The song was inspired by Michael O'Connor, the former owner of the iconic Listowel bar Mike The Pies.
"Just before lockdown, I was playing a gig at Mike the Pies in Listowel," Jack explains.
"After the show, Aiden (the current owner) brought me to the top floor of the pub. Michael, his uncle had been the previous owner. Aiden described him as quiet, stoic, creative, artistic.”
“Michael kept stacks of books on classical art and opera vinyls and CDs up there. A hidden sanctuary away from the daily grind."
'Opera On The Top Floor' is the first single from the singer-songwriter's upcoming album, My Own Valhalla, which will be released later this year. The LP title is taken from the track's lyrics, referring to the subject's and Jack's personal time to be free.
“The song is written from the perspective of Michael and what I imagine for him, was a dual reality - a publican by day, and him feeling free in his sanctuary to bask in opera and art at dusk. I certainly can relate to keeping parts of me hidden."
"The line referring to 'my own Valhalla' is relevant, I think for many people. Over the last year, some of us had to create and recreate Valhallas."
O'Rourke was recently awarded a residency at Centre Culturel Irlandaise, Paris, where he will compose a concept album in 2022.
Since the beginning of lockdown, Mike The Pies has hosted a series of special gigs, run with the support of the Department of Tourism, Culture, the Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, as part of the Live Performance Support scheme. As part of the Backstage at Mike The Pies podcast series, host Megan O'Donoghue chats to some of the exciting up-and-coming artists who have graced the stage of the legendary Listowel venue, which has built up a reputation as one of Ireland's most beloved music halls.
Listen to Episode 12 now on Soundcloud, Apple and Google Podcasts:
Picture credit: Miki Barlok