Entertainment

Saturday 3 December 2016

Life lessons with Mundy: I think singing Galway Girl once a day is enough for me at this point

John Brennan

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Mundy. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Mundy. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Duet: Sharon Shanon and Mundy at The Meteor Music Awards in 2009. Picture VIPIreland.com

Edmond 'Mundy' Enright (41) is an Irish musician who has been performing for over 20 years. Ever since a song from his debut album, To You I Bestow, was featured on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet in 1996, he has toured all over the world and supported acts like Neil Young, Van Morrison, Manic Street Preachers, The White Stripes and Oasis.

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At home, he has enjoyed great success with tracks such as July and Mexico. Often mistaken as being from Galway following his hit duet with Sharon Shannon, The Galway Girl, Mundy actually grew up above a pub in Birr, Co Offaly with his parents, Antoinette and Eddie, and older brother, Niall. He now lives in Dublin with his wife Sarah and their two daughters, Eden (7) and Belle (5).

I grew up in the main thoroughfare in Birr at a time when most of my friends lived above shops. There were pubs, shops and bakeries - there were a lot of family businesses in our town. It seemed like growing up in the heart of something, so it was always quite busy, and at the weekends there was always a lot of atmosphere in the pubs.

When I found something I liked, it consumed me. I was really big into swimming as a kid, I swam for Offaly a couple of times; basically, you wouldn't get me out of the pool - that's where I was. I used to go all day long and swim lengths upon lengths. Now I go down a few times a week when I can.

I grew up at the time when Offaly hurling would have been mega. There would have been a lot of older guys that you would look up to, so it was just a great reason to want to play. It consumed me as well.

My first port of call when I moved to Dublin was busking. I thought it was a great education and introduction to the city - especially coming from a small town. It was great education in music too; to see what you were up against and just to become street educated. It helped me find where all the open mics and underground gigs were.

I've been travelling since I was 19. That's when I started on the road as a musician. I've been to the States, Thailand, Australia, all over Europe, Cuba and Mexico - I have a soft spot for Mexico. There is something about it that is very real, ancient and soulful. They wouldn't be the richest people in the world, but with the Catholic background I just found it a place I was very fond of.

I'm damned in many ways and I'm blessed in many ways. I get to see my kids a lot when I'm around, and I don't when I'm away. I wouldn't be away for more than six weeks at a time. The first two weeks are always great craic and then all of a sudden, you'll see somebody else with their kids and you'll start pining and feeling guilty for being away. I get to hang around with them all week and then at weekends I'm mostly working; that can be hard on my wife too, because she works hard all week.

It always takes a week to get back to normal after a tour. Coming back from Australia or a long stint in America - it takes a while to adjust. It does something funny to the body clock. I did a six-week tour a few years ago, where I flew into Australia, I flew into Perth to do my last gig, flew back to Sydney, then flew to Hawaii, New York then to San Francisco and then back home. I didn't know whether I was coming or going!

I think singing Galway Girl once a day is enough for me at this point. If the crowds are going nuts you can't stop it - it's all for the crowd. People love it and it's amazing that a song has taken such a journey.

I did the song by complete accident. I was on the radio one night with Tom Dunne and he asked me would I sing it with Sharon Shannon. I read it off a piece of paper basically on the radio. Then the texts started flying in for it. The thing just skyrocketed without any planning. This was the true organic success.

Television is a fierce distraction. I watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and thought: "OK, this is a bit far out." I'm a sucker for cookery programmes, I could watch them all day. I haven't seen anything as good as Curb Your Enthusiasm in a long time.

I like to cook. I don't have a particular style or nationality of food but I do a lot of the cooking at home. I bake a bit too. I made a quiche for the first time yesterday - it went well. And I've mastered the brown bread, even the kids love it.

I think as you get older, politics just takes a hold of you. Especially when things are unfair - everything is unfair at the moment. I thought I'd be able to play my guitar and live in a bubble and float, but I can't. My uncle was a TD for a long time for Fine Gael and my cousin was a TD as well. I know they did the best they could, but I don't know how I'd feel about some of the things that are going on. I'm glad they are out of it today.

Brexit is a complex disaster. The biggest disappointment is that the people who forced it upon Britain just f***** off. That's just a sign of non-committed tyrannical egomaniacs, who are highly connected. It seems like a board game to these wealthy people - it's nearly like 'trading places'. It's like a game, and not a very fun game at all.

I'm a big fan of Galway, it's been very good to me since I started. I'm looking forward to playing Monroe's for the Arts Festival. For an artist, Galway is so welcoming, it's definitely more free than Dublin. It has a freer spirit; it's beside the Atlantic ocean, which must add to its energy and wildness.

Mundy plays Monroe's in Galway tonight at 8.30pm as part of the Galway International Arts Festival. See giaf.ie

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