Sean enjoying life on stage in Scarborough
Published 07/08/2013 | 05:20
Dundalk musician Sean Conroy fronts one of the most popular bands in his adopted home of Scarborough in north Yorkshire.
The 31-year-old, who hails from Woodview Terrace, Castletown Road, moved to England in October 2008 as job opportunities were better there than at home.
He now works as an electrical teacher/assessor for Yorkshire Coast College.
Although he knew no one when he arrived in Scarborough, he soon realised that the local people were very welcoming. 'So before I knew it I had made a lot of friends', he said.
'Music has always been a big part of my life, and that's one reason why I enjoy living in Scarborough,' said Sean who plays rhythm guitar with Ishka.
'It is home to some of most talented musicians I have ever played with. But I'm not one for forgetting where I came from and I'll always remember the many sessions and music nights I had with family and friends around Dundalk'.
'Scarborough is well known for its live music scene and, believe me, there is no shortage of music around. You will find live bands, sessions and open mic nights in the pubs and bars seven nights a week. That's where I first started out and spent a lot of time playing and joining in at these session/open mic night,' he recalled.
The band was formed when Sean went along to the regular Saturday afternoon session in the town's popular Irish pub, The Merchant.
Having attended the sessions for several months, he was approached by the organiser Jim Taylor, who handed him a guitar and said: 'Here you go, get up and give these folks a taste of Ireland'.
'Nothing prepared me for what was about to happen, Jim grabbed another guitar, stood next to me and before I knew it we were playing and singing to a pub full of people. They were singing, and dancing. Everyone was having a great time. And so, Ishka was formed.'
While the band's line-up has changed with people moving away and going to college, they have made their mark on the music scene in north Yorkshire.
'Christmas 2010 we got invited to play at an Acoustic Gathering Festival. There were quite a lot of well known bands playing and we were the newbies, no one knew who we were or what kind of music we played. We got to play a ten minute slot.
'Straight away we had everyone singing along and dancing, it was then we knew that Ishka was going to be something great!' said Sean.
'Before we knew it, everyone was looking to book us and within the first few weeks of 2011 our diary was full the whole year.'
The band were also fully booked throughout 2012 and they were delighted to have won an award for 'Best live act for 2012', having came second in 2011.
So far 2013 has been hectic and the highlight of the year has to be doing main support at Acoustic Gathering for a pretty awesome band called Alabama Paydirt.