Another ship sails…

Being part of a new band is always exciting. You have found musicians with whom you click, music you enjoy playing, and the possibilities are endless. Spirits is high and each gig feels like you’re going into battle with people you trust around you. Ready for anything. This latest ‘new band’ features Seamie O’Dowd (guitar and vocals), John Joe Kelly (bodhrán) and Cathal Roche (saxophones and clarinet). Master musicians all. We have called ourselves The Gateway City Project and the music is energetic, hard-hitting, interactive and entertaining. We’ll only ever have one debut performance. And it’s this coming Wednesday 29th in the Hawk’s Well. Come and see for yourself.


My wife was elected to Sligo County Council 5 years ago and is standing for re-election tomorrow. I never had anything more than a passing interest in politics until she got involved but have seen and heard lots about how it works and what goes on since. Like you, I would have heard all the cliches. “Politics is a blood sport”, “You must be mad to go into it”, “It’s a thankless job”, “You couldn’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths”. All true, from what I have seen, bar the last one, which is not always the case but still applies much of the time. So why do people do it? Well as far as I can see, most people enter it for one of 3 reasons. 1 – They genuinely want to serve and represent their community. 2 – They want to retain a seat that a family member previously held. 3 – They are attracted

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Farewell to the Class of 2019

We had a bit of everything last weekend as part of our 3rd Teenage Theme Showcase in the Hawk’s Well Theatre. A showstopping ballad sung by Paddy Keyes – changed at late notice to the key of Gb (and transposed effortlessly by pianist Nils Kavanagh). And our first ever rap performance at a teenage theme night. Maedhbh Spain made a brave but clever choice, asked for it to be as big as possible, and then just went for it. But my favourite moment of the weekend? It’s the small things. I was off stage for the start of the final number – where the 6th Yrs sing us out as a group. It’s usually my job as MD to count in the songs, and I realised too late that I was off stage, and couldn’t get back on quickly enough to count it in. Next thing I heard however was the voice of one of the 6th Yrs – ‘1,

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The story of Chris, Luke and the Golden Jacket

This is Chris Baillie – ready for action in Vicar St last Feb – armed with his golden suit. He came to me with an idea shortly after the curtain fell on Theme Night #23 a couple of weeks ago – he wanted to give his golden jacket to the Theme Nights – so that the person who most embodied the spirit of the theme night each time got presented with it and kept it until the following one. Sometimes when an idea is presented to you it has to be seriously considered. You might go for it or you might turn it down. Other times you know it’s a good one straight away and the minute Chris mentioned this to me I knew it was gold. So Luke Devaney was the inaugural winner of the golden jacket. He played accordion with gusto, sang and danced, got the audience singing along at the start of the gig, and even brought

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What happens in between…

If you’re injured, going to a physio is a good first step but it won’t mean much if you don’t do the exercises she prescribes you afterwards. If you are in a bad place mentally, going to a psychotherapist can help but it won’t mean much if you don’t learn from the sessions and subsequently make changes to how you live your life. If you want to learn a musical instrument, by all means do your research and find the best available teacher for you, but it won’t mean much if you don’t practice between lessons. Signing up to see a professional is often a good first step and can give you a feeling that you are doing the right thing, but just as important is being prepared to do what they suggest you do when you’re not with them.  

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”.

A few years ago, Kenny Werner was the head piano tutor on the Sligo Jazz Project. To begin his first masterclass of the week, he asked each student to play something for him. We varied hugely in age, ability and taste, but each overcame an element of stage fright to perform in front of Mr. Werner and our peers. One guy got up and played something beautiful. I’m guessing it was his composition, possibly improvised on the spot, full of emotion and passion. Mr. Werner wasn’t impressed however. He had spotted that this guy was full of heart, soul and brilliantly able to express it, but didn’t know any of the basics of jazz piano. He was operating entirely from instinct, and while this got him so far, Kenny called him out on it and told him to spend the week learning as much as possible about jazz harmony, because if he could apply that knowledge to his already well-developed

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Theme Announced!

And so the wonderful theme for Theme Night #24 has been signed, sealed, and delivered to the Hawk’s Well Theatre. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow morning (Friday 10th) at 10am from or 071-9161518. Only 3 songs by this artist have ever been performed at a theme night before. 2 free tickets to the show on a night of your choice to one winner who likes and shares the post on Facebook and names the artist and all 3 songs.    

Theme Night #24

And so the page is blank again. What instruments do we need? Who is available? What will be the showstoppers? Who will come out of nowhere to surprise everyone? Who will step out of their comfort zone and sing something out front for the first time? What can we do to ensure it reaches the heights of previous theme nights? All I do know is that it will take place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre on Sept 12, 13 and 14. And that you can buy your tickets from 10am on Friday from or 071-9161518.

“You can’t win anything with kids”

So said football pundit Alan Hansen famously on Match of the Day at the start of the 1995-96 Premier League season. The comment was made in relation to the Manchester United team, and specifically manager Alex Ferguson, whose team that day featured future stars David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville,  Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, all of who were under the age of 21. They lost 3-1 to the lowly Aston Villa that day, but went on to win the league that season, and those players became some of the most successful in the history of the club. Our theme night last weekend featured 15 performers of a similar age, all of whom are either current members or recent graduates of the Teenage Theme Nights. And the level of performance they all brought was incredible, especially given that some only got drafted in at late notice. Be it in sport or music, young people bring a fearlessness, an

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