Saturday 18 November 2017

A new sound is born from the landscapes of the west and stories from the past

Daithí will perform with the RTÉ Orchestra and Sinéad White at Dublin Castle
Daithí will perform with the RTÉ Orchestra and Sinéad White at Dublin Castle

Celine Naughton

We don't usually associate electronic dance music with the rhythmic beat of a bodhrán, or a grandmother telling stories of the old days, yet the artist known as Daithí blends dance music with Irish culture to create a new sound that's taking the country by storm.

A fiddle player and music producer, his performance with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and singer Sinéad White is one of the treats in store at Dublin Castle on Culture Night, something he describes as "an incredible honour".

At 27, the native of Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, has gained a huge following since his EP, 'Mary Keane's Introduction', went viral on Spotify two years ago and was number one in Ireland for six weeks.

"Mary Keane is my grandmother, and the image accompanying the track is of the thatched cottage where she lives today," says Daithí.

The piece features Mary, now 93, recalling the time she met the love of her life, with her soft Clare lilt and infectious laughter providing the lyrics to a track that's been described by many as a masterpiece of modern music.

"And my father would come, and my uncle would come, and they'd say, Mary, this man over in Carran has a big farm of land; you'll have to go over and meet him," she says. "So no, I didn't. I met my future husband down in Kilfenora, and I fell in love with him," Mary says in the piece.

"When I heard my grandmother talk about this time of her life, with such unbridled romance, I felt compelled to put it to music, and it was a turning point for me," says Daithí. "Up to then I'd been writing pop music, which didn't have much meaning for me. This was different, it was personal and added a context to my music that I hadn't felt before. I'm super proud of that track.

"It set me on a whole new path of finding meaning in my music through culture, and landscape, and everything that makes us who we are. For anyone from a coastal town like Ballyvaughan, the sound of the sea is always there, and when you hear it coming through on a dance track, it takes you back. It reaches out on an emotional level.

"It's an exciting time to be a musician in Ireland today. I work with singers and musicians like Sinéad White, Senita, the Rusangano family, Bantum and others. Working together lifts. It's an incredibly healthy community that demonstrates the more we support each other, the more everybody's lives are enriched."

Irish Independent

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