Bruce v Eddie

Music blogger Gabe Anderson says here not to worry about getting back on the road – that you’ll get back doing it when everyone else does, and in the meantime to keep doing other great things. Bruce Springsteen said recently that he would be surprised to be back touring before 2022. And I’m not going to argue with either man. But that’s no good for Eddie Fitzpatrick and his buddies. Because by 2022 the current 6th Yrs will mainly be in universities all around Ireland and elsewhere. As will the current 5th Yrs, and their chance to take part in the Teenage Theme Nights will be gone. So we’re going online. Because we can’t do it live, but we also can’t wait. Teenage Theme Night #21 – On a First Name Basis – this Saturday and Sunday at 8pm on Facebook Live. Here’s the event link – respond with either ‘Going’ or ‘Interested’ and you’ll get notified of how to

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Sunday music #1

A new Sunday slot on the blog today – while we all have a bit more time to listen, I’m going to share some music. So – Mallorcan-born, Strandhill resident and all-round good guy Felip Carbonell was our guest on In The Lamplight this week. His hybrid accent is something to behold. Here’s what I wrote about him on Thursday. And here are two of his performances from the show. Entre Tu I Jo Fer Cantó

Ten quick years of contented collaboration…

On Nov 19th 2010 I got to play piano on the stage in the Hawk’s Well Theatre for the first time. It was as part of a hugely enjoyable show Ciaran McCauley and I produced together called An Evening with Sgt Pepper – a musical reimagining of the famous Beatles album mixed with a narration of it’s story. You can see highlights from an earlier show in The Factory here… Our Photoshop skills still needed quite a bit of work however… I met Francie Heraughty after the show. Francie was a stalwart in the theatre – a dedicated member of staff for many years – and he came up to me with a huge smile on his face afterwards, because he was delighted to see some life back in the theatre.  The theatre was only just over half-full that night, but that represented a good crowd back then. Things have changed since. If it was this time last year, 200

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Announcement – Theme Night #28!

Once again we hope. Current holder Sinéad Maguire has posted the golden jacket off to embroideress Amy O’Hara in order that it is ready for a new winner. So Theme Night #28 must be on the horizon… It may not yet happen until well into 2021 of course, but it is the nature of this year that while plans may not come to fruition, it is important to try to plan something all the same. So mark it down – restrictions permitting, Theme Night #28 will take place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre on 11th-13th and 18th-20th Dec. LIVE. The official theme is Christmas – we could all do with a bit of Christmas cheer, and we may unofficially throw a couple of songs in that somehow sum up all that we have collectively been through over the last few months. Unfortunately we won’t be able to fit the full theme night gang on stage, but we do have a

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The picture sums it up really. This is Felip in his natural habitat. Look how relaxed he looks, how happy. He is a born performer – one of the best I know at connecting with an audience – both before a song with his storytelling ability and during it with the emotion that emerges from him. Language is never a barrier – he mostly sings in his native Catalan but despite this none of us who listen to his music are ever left in any doubt as to what his songs are about. He pours his heart and soul into every performance and the audience are never left wanting. He is a great songwriter also. It was such a treat to perform his beautiful song Entre Tu i Jo with him and Anna Houston on my first album back in 2013. And here is a performance of his lament Ai, mu mare from his album launch in Palma in 2015.

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All By Myself

There is so much in this song. Written by Eric Carmen in 1975 by pulling together strands of two already existing tunes, it was also famously covered by Celine Dion in 1996. The verse is so beautiful and evocative – and no wonder – it is based on the second movement (Adagio sostenuto) of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18. Listen at 1:35 here. The chorus was taken from a previous song Carmen wrote for a group he was in called The Raspberries called Let’s Pretend – you’ll recognise the melody and chords at 0:30 even if they’re a bit faster than you might imagine. There’s the piano instrumental section – so unusual to hear in a power ballad yet so good. Hear it at 2:05 in Celine Dion’s version here. And then there’s the note. THE note. You can see the story of this note told by Celine Dion herself here, or by Celine

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Billy and Ludwig

A new slot on the blog today – will try this for the next few Tuesdays. All explained in the video below… And the two pieces of music in question? Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata – 2nd Movement – starts straight away. Billy Joel’s This Night – chorus starts at 0:58.

On a first name basis…

This is the title of Teenage Theme Night #21. Chosen by our all-teenage committee, the show will include songs with people’s names in the title. So there will be huge variety – with the likes of Delilah, Jolene, Mandy and Valerie featuring strongly in the setlist. Oh and we have 4 new emcees – really hard to pick in a year full of talent and characters but I’m looking forward to working closely with Eddie, Katelyn, Lisa, and Saul. They follow in the footsteps of Penny, Daeneara, Callum, Tom, Joy, Julie, Conor, Eoin, Mackenzie, Ollie, Cormac, Evanne, Seán, Eania, Stephen, Nell and Joe (furthest right in pic below). These guys (Dylan, Elyse, Sam, Maedhbh, Laura, Niamh and Joe) were the second group of 6th Yrs who took part in the Teenage Theme Nights – they left school in 2015 and I know that at least 3 of the 7 are playing music regularly, as are many more of the now

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Will Galway bate Mayo?

‘Will Galway bate Mayo? D’you think will Galway bate Mayo? Not if they have Willie Joe – they haven’t a hope of batin’ Mayo’! It’s half time in the 2020 Connacht final and I’m reminded of the 1992 Saw Doctors song Hay Wrap. An unlikely hit but as with many of their songs, it managed to connect with a huge amount of people living in the West of Ireland and beyond. But back to the match. I played in Connacht finals in 2002 and 2007 and at those times, there was nothing more important than that game. Your life on hold. Every minute of every day planned out to try and get in the best physical and mental shape possible. The 2002 game was on the same day as the World Cup final and I went hours without knowing the result – unthinkable in any other World Cup year. I have attended other finals. Saw Sligo come close in 1997

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It’s (not) only words…

A fellow student in jazz college announced to us one day years ago that he was going to find out the words to all the standards he was learning. And it was quite the revelation to the rest of us. Because while we were concerned with the melody, the chords, the root notes, the scales we should play when improvising over those chords, possible chord substitutions and many other musical features, the lyrics didn’t play a part at all. More fools us, because in terms of audience impact, true emotion in performance usually trumps technique or theory, and it’s very hard to know what emotion to convey if you don’t know what the song is about.