Tuesday 22 January 2019

'Tokyo is sort of like a sideways lasagne'- Mundy on his inspiring tour of Asia

Mundy is just back from a surreal and inspiring tour of Asia and is preparing to play at a huge summer festival in Liverpool with Van Morrison and Imelda May, he tells our reporter

Mundy is on a high with a hectic schedule of concerts throughout this year
Mundy is on a high with a hectic schedule of concerts throughout this year
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

The Buddha of Birr himself, better known by his nom de plume of Mundy, Edmond Enright is in flying form.

In truth, Mr E is pretty much always in flying form - a beatific smile nigh permanently etched in his cheeky face.

We bump into each other with our respective daughters in a play centre in Stillorgan and arrange to meet up.

Funnily enough, in the car to meet him, To You I Bestow - the song that was included in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet - comes on the radio. "It catapulted my name into places that were unreachable with just a record deal," he says.

Last year, Mundy did a successful tour to mark the 21st anniversary of his brilliant debut album, Jelly Legs, recorded in 17 days in Loco Studios, Wales, and produced by former Killing Joke bassist, Youth. It has been all go ever since.

"I spent half of January and February gluing together my Eastward Appointments tour of Asia in March, which was pretty intense, especially because the time zones are all different, and the conversation windows are small in the morning and evening - having to make calls around 1 or 2am or pm," he says.

It began with a Belgrade gig offer from his friend Jas there for the city's annual Irish Festival. "Then, I got offered a gig in Hong Kong," he explains. "I thought about it, and put some feelers out regarding Asia. Then an offer came in for Singapore and Bangkok and finally Tokyo where I played two shows.

"It was late nights and early mornings rushing for flights and sound checks. I loved Belgrade - and I note that it's not in Asia. I've never been anywhere quite like it. The people were very welcoming.

"I also met a good few people from Bosnia there too, all of whom were very involved in art and music. They've all witnessed war and oppression that I wouldn't be able to endure.

"I met a couple in the airport that were from Turkey who came to see me play in Belgrade. Seemingly, Jelly Legs got a lot of airplay there when it came out. A Turkish girl who came to my show in Singapore told me the same thing. Tres cool."

Mundy relished the "completely different cultures" of Belgrade, Singapore, Bangkok and Hong Kong and adds: "Tokyo was jaw-dropping. I played briefly at a festival with a Japanese traditional Irish group called Harmonica Creams.

"They learned Galway Girl and July - and even had that 'Irish wink' that is synonymous with the 'Hup' in some Irish traditional music."

He played at the Emerald Irish Ball in Tokyo too. "It was the night Ireland beat England in the Six Nations which was a great night as we all went to some 'Japan-Irish' watering hole to watch the game after at 12.30am," he recalls. "What a win - and what an atmosphere.

"There were people from all over the globe celebrating Irish culture. For some reason, St Patrick's Day is better fun abroad for me. I wrote in my notes at some strange hour that 'Tokyo is like a sideways lasagne'. I think I know what I mean.

"I've a good summer ahead of me here in Ireland, and a tour of the USA in October. I might disappear somewhere for part of August."

He plays the Cartoon Festival, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, on June 3; Ballybunion, Co Kerry, on June 30; the Feis with Van Morrison, Imelda May and others in Liverpool on July 13; the Greyhound Bar, Kilkee, Co Kildare, on July 14; Boyle Arts Festival in Boyle, Co Roscommon, on July 28; the Sligo Fest on August 11; and Toggenburg, Switzerland, on September 8, among many other dates.

In terms of new music, Mundy says: "I've been trying to forget about an end result and create music and words that resonate deep within me. No airplay in mind."

Some of the working titles, he reveals, are Serpent On 5th Ave, God You've Been Good To me, Working To Live, St Anthony (Losers' Song), Kill The Commentator and Dark Long Enough. You have been warned.

Sunday Independent

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