Galway Advertiser 2000/2000_12_14/GA_14122000_E1_060.pdf 

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ETRANET U NETIMN The Bly B a g - T e B il r g h l pipe on B x Stra D c m e o , audy e e b r che ho6
BILLY B R A G G and The Blokes played a n absolute stormer of a gig at the Black Box on Saturday. Easily one off the best concerts in Galway this year, Bragg gave his audience value for money and plenty to think about. (and I'm half English too)', blows the Tory vision of 'Merrie Englande' out of the water in favour of a country where the Anglo-Saxon, the Caribbean, and the Asian can enjoy each other's culture and build a more inclusive England. Bragg's provocative nature was best displayed on a powerful s o l o piece which he called 'My Millennium Song': "Take down the Union Jack / It's blocking the sunset / The Scots could take an abstract notion like independence and turn it into Nationhood." He told the audience England had a lot to learn from Ireland and the way it has han dled the issue of its own identity. What makes Bragg so loved and respected is that his music never succumbs to idle sloganeer ing. So when he sang 'All you Fascists are bound to lose', it was not a meaningless chant, it was an e x h i l a r a t i n g c a l l w i t h its s t o m p i n g beat. S o stomping, many couldn't sit down. They just had to get up and dance. It's a forgotten aspect of Bragg's music. Aside from the superb lyrics and the stunning guitarwork, Bragg knows how to entertain and make people feel good. He got into the swing himself with his own idiosyncratic dancing. "I'm throw ing shapes man. I'm throwing these shapes as they're the only shapes I have," he said. That was O K , it o n l y g o e s to s h o w his u n p r e t e n t i o u s nature. Bragg also sang about his disgust at the current crop of bland manufactured pop groups. "When I see S Club 7 on the television, I rise, the children scatter and the dog starts howling." The main line in this soulful groove was "I'm down, but I'm not out". Bragg didn't know what to call the song, but the title came to him in a dream when Smokey Robinson and The Miracles told him: "You shall call it 'The tears of my tracks'." At the end of the show, there was a rousing rendition of 'Sexuality' and a potent song about Trade unions, for which the band were appropri ately bathed in red stage light. At o n e point, s o m e o n e from the audience shouted for ' B e t w e e n the w a r s ' . "You can't f * * * * * g d a n c e to that mate," Bragg replied. Bragg always takes some time to meet the fans. After the show. He told me he didn't want to play the song as he felt its chronicling of 30s Britain would conflict with the message of this show of finding an English identity and moving forward. "National identity?" he said to me, "I prefer to use the term personal identity. It's culture, it's how you feel." Few in music today have Bragg's commitment or intelligence. This show was a reminder of just how extraordinary he is. KA

Season's greetings with great music
B O S C A B I D E A C H : Micheal Darby 6 Fatharta. Contact (091)593244 T H E A G E O F R E V O L U T I O N IN T H E I R I S H S O N G T R A D I T I O N ; Terry Moylan, Lilliput Press. 168 pages. (No price given). A L O N E T O G E T H E R - Louis Stewart and Brian Dunning. Livia Records. P h : (01) 8726969. 11, Capel St, Dublin 1. S P O N D A N C E : J i m Doherly, with Louis Stewart and o t h e r s . Livia R e c o r d s . P h : (01) 8726969. 11, Capel St, Dublin 1. The festive season makes this column into something resembling a Christmas stocking. A colourful mix of musical g o o d i e s has fallen into it. First up is Bosca Bideach, a wonderful album of straightforward C o n n e m a r a - s t y l e m e l o d e o n p l a y i n g from Micheal Darby 0 Fatharta that can't be matched for Hair, exact ness and dexterity. And the tone is sincere and warm. A boon and a must for anyone interested in playing the box and learning new tunes - the pace is what it should be. no riverdancing here - the selection includes oldies such as The Lark in the Morning, and George White's, and a fabulous, haunting rendition of the hornpipe. Johnny Cope, words to which were written, I under stand, by a Presbyterian minister of the time, full of a wonderful dissenting sedition. T h e Salamanca' is here, and the great "Bunker Hill' coupled with The Silver Spear. Good sleeve notes are supplied. Peter O'Hanlon is on backing guitar, tastefully and sensitively played, with Brian McGrath on piano. PEadhraig O Broinn on bouzouki. Seamus Mac Conaonaigh on flute and Luisne Ni Neachtain also on fiddle. There's also a taste of O Fatharta as composer. Enquiries to (091) 593244. Very nice one indeed. Hot from Lilliput Press, with Dublin's Goili'n Traditional Singers' Club is The Age of Revolution In the Irish Song Tradition 1776 to 1815, edited by Terry Moylan, set-dance teacher and piper. No price is given, but it's a big, lavish book, with tunes as well as songs and. oddly, a poem by Seamus Heaney, 'Requiem for the Croppies'. Here also is a version of 'Napoleon's Dream", a tad different, no more, from the version on the Parsons Hat album. Cutty Wren. The period covered run- from the American Revolution to Napoleon's death and illustrates the twinned political aspirations of Orange and Green, often forgotten in the bigotry and b e l l o w i n g of our o w n time. One-hundred-and-fiftyseven songs and tunes, 27 poems, and 25 tunes make up this t o m e , w i t h p r e c i s e and c o n c i s e n o t e s . Great Christmas gift for any trad singer. Whatever your musical tastes, do yourself a Christmas favour and grab two jazz classics from painter Gerald Davis' label. Livia Records, Dublin, both. I would hope, available from Galway record stores: guitarist Louis Stewart and flautist Brian Dunning's wonderful live Alone Together 'album, recorded in 1979 at Dublin's Peacock Theatre, where this writer played on Sunday evenings with Al O'Donnell in the old days; and Jim Doherty's Spondance, on the same label, also featuring the guitar wizardry of Stewart. 1 heard Stewart and Dunning belting it out al The Davis Gallery in Dublin recently, they are as fresh and sparkling as ever, with an earned maturity. For shame, then, that our beloved Aosdana has consistently refused the world-renowned Stewart admission to its ranks on the grounds that he wasn't a creative artist! Fred Johnston

The band launched into 'The M i l k m a n of human kindness", the first song from Bragg's first LP, Life s a riot with Spy Vrs Spy. What made the show exciting was the combination of Bragg's incredible music, his ability to entertain, lan McLagan and the resl of the Blokes enthusiastic backing, and Bragg's political speeches during the concert. Bragg never lectures his audience. He chal lenges, in the hope of getting people talking about issues. You could only come away from the con cert stimulated; the body by great music, and the mind by his point of view. It's difficult not to agree with him. He knows his stuff. Bragg's concern is with English identity. What is 'English' in the 21st century? Bragg said: "I believe in multi-culturalism, and I b e l i e v e in internationalism {big cheers from the audience), no, hold on, hold on, because of that people like me have never faced up to being English, and have allowed it to be taken over by thugs and football hooligans, I'm trying to take it back and have Englishness bordered by nothing but the borders of England itself {Huge cheers from the audience)." This was the perfect opportunity to introduce new songs on that issue. The Caribbean stomp and Algerian coda of 'England's half-English

Tanglewood - taking us to a welcome pla
T A N G L E W O O D HAVE released their first full length album The place strength. T a n g l e w o o d first c a m e to notice with their 1998 mini-album Circular danc ing. Harry Monson's (gui tarist / s o n g w r i t e r ) fluid and attacking acoustic gui tar and Anne Breathnach's confident v o c a l s are still p r e s e n t , but The place where you were born builds o n these e l e m e n t s fleshing out the sound into a m o r e c o n f i d e n t and accomplished whole. The album was launched on Tuesday, at the Bridge Mills by Mairtin O Connor, w h o plays accor dion on the new offering. The opening track "Stonewalls', gives you an idea o f what is to c o m e . With its beguiling guitar / flute i n t r o , and fine melody, it stands as one of the strongest tracks on the a l b u m . It f e a t u r e s an excellent vocal from Breathnach. on fine form throughout the album. The q u a l i t y c o n t i n u e s apace with ' T h e R a v e n ' and a c o v e r o f Peter Gabriels ' M e r c y Street', which Monson and Breathnach infuse with an air of mystery befitting the stature of its author. Monson proves he is a f i n e v o c a l i s t in his o w n right, w h e n he takes the lead on "Don"t want to fall in l o v e w i t h y o u ' . T h e changes of tempo and style sound purposeful and indi cate the growing sophisti c a t i o n o f M o n s o n as a where you were born and it sees the group going from strength to is further e v i d e n c e d in 'Medicine' where the lazy rhythms and cool sax solo create a jazzy feel, new to the Tanglewood canon. The album also features Peter Jones ' K i l k e l l y ' , a melancholy tale of emigra tion and loneliness. M o n s o n ' s guitar work is b r o o d i n g and o m i n o u s , making a suitable backdrop to B r e a t h n a c h ' s v o c a l s , filled with a sadness that takes the song away from the clutches of sentimental ity and makes for a gen u i n e l y m o v i n g listening experience. M o n s o n is a l s o a fine l y r i c i s t and he l e t s his imagination take flight on the jaunty and spirit lifting 'Little Boy in Evergreen'. The place where you were born is a quality a l b u m , and r e f l e c t s the g r o w i n g c o n f i d e n c e of Monson and Breathnach as composers, musicians, and singers. You can even see it in the p a c k a g i n g of the album. It is a refreshing take on the Irish singer/songwriter genre to which it makes an impor tant addition in its fresh approach and willingness to be different. This album deserves a wide audience, go on do yourself a favour. Watch out for T a n g l e w o o d w h e n they play the Roisi'n Dubh for the first time, on January songwriter. The development of the group's sound is also dis played in this s o n g . It is t o u g h e n e d up w i t h t h e s w e l l s o f electric guitars and d r u m s , without e v e r overwhelming the melodic shine of their sound. This


" H R Y M NO A D A N B E T N C O T N LW O WO H V J S RLA23. T E A R O S N N N E R A H A H R A GE O D H A E UT EE SD HI E R F S FL LN T A B M The place where you were born. I T UL EGH L U R

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