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Thursday 21 August 2014

Sound Lads give a twist to tradition

Published 21/08/2013 | 05:36

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They're 'Sound-as-a-Pound': From left: Timmy Flaherty, Darragh O'Donnell and David Healy, the exciting trad band with a twist who are earning a huge reputation on the trad music circuit. Photo by John Reidy

IT'S always refreshing to see some up and coming young talent strive to make a name for themselves, and one young band doing just that is Abbeyfeale-based Sound As A Pound, who are quickly gaining a fine reputation in traditional music circles.

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IT'S always refreshing to see some up and coming young talent strive to make a name for themselves, and one young band doing just that is Abbeyfeale-based Sound As A Pound, who are quickly gaining a fine reputation in traditional music circles.

I first had the pleasure of hearing the three lads during this year's Fleadh by the Feale, so when I heard that they were making an appearance at the recent Sean McCarthy festival in Finuge, I had to pop along and see them in action again.

I'm not a massive fan of traditional music, I have to admit, but Abbeyfeale's Darragh O'Donnell and David Healy and Moyvane's Timmy Flaherty have pretty much converted me - purely because of the modern twist they put on what they do. Sort of what Riverdance did for Irish dancing, albeit on a much smaller scale.

The multi-talented trio - who range in age from just 17 to 20 - each bring something different to the band, yet all combine to create a really new and fresh twist to traditional music.

Timmy (17) is an exceptional banjo player, as well as an All-Ireland uileann pipe champion; 20-year-old David is an accomplished accordion player, like his father and grandfather before him; and All-Ireland champion drummer Darragh O'Donnell (19) rejuvenates the traditional style with his impressive beats.

Darragh explained that the lads met through various fleadh cheoil competitions and local trad sessions, and their personalities just gelled. When their parents realised how well the lads sounded and how they could actually forge a career as a band, Darragh's mum invested in sound gear and the lads started gigging in local bars.

"Our first ever gig was in Matt McCoys in Abbeyfeale and we've been playing all over since - from Athea, Moyvane and Duagh to Knockanure, Rockchapel and Finuge," Darragh said. "Our big break came at the Fleadh by The Feale this year when Declan Nerney joined us on stage in The Square and gave us some fantastic compliments. We've been gigging almost every weekend since."

Their impressive Fleadh appearance was also spotted by one of the organisers of the upcoming Knights of West Fest in Newcastle West, who have invited the lads to perform on the main stage before Sharon Shannon's concert.

Darragh explained that the best way to describe their style is 'traditional music with a modern twist', but said they'll play whatever their audience wants - from traditional airs to polkas, jigs, waltzes and even jives. While they're already getting bookings for parties, pub sessions and even wedding drinks receptions, the lads' big dream is to eventually perform at some of the country's top festivals.

To get a feel for the lads' alternative traditional, style check out their Facebook page.

Kerryman

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