Sunday 19 November 2017

Irish band hits the high notes for charity in Africa

Ken Sweeney Entertainment Reporter

AN Irish band was on top of the world yesterday when it played on the summit of an African volcano.

The gig by Sound Driver took place at 20,000 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. However, to get set up, the rock outfit and its crew first had to spend seven days carrying equipment to the top of Africa's highest peak.

Weighing 150kg, the load included a 16-channel mixing desk, a complete drum kit, a sound system and several diesel power generators with fuel, all of which had to be carried up the side of the massive snow-covered volcano in eastern Africa.

In order to prepare themselves, the band members, who left Dublin on February 15, underwent high-altitude training in Wales before their extraordinary bid.

The whole endeavour was an attempt to set the world record for the highest-altitude, electrically-powered rock gig.

"Ireland has produced some of the most famous rock stars and bands in the world," said the bass player, David Spillane.

"They have played some of the most iconic gigs and venues on the planet. But Phil Lynott, Bono and Van Morrison and the rest of them never played a venue as extraordinary and breathtaking as this.

"They never had to carry all their equipment up 20,000 feet in the African sun, losing oxygen with every step."


Sound Driver's performance on Kilimanjaro was also recorded for posterity.

Producer Danton Supple, who has previously worked with Coldplay, Kylie Minogue, The Pet Shops Boys and Spandau Ballet, accompanied the group to the show in the clouds and it is hoped a recording of the set will be released on a live album.

Among the set was the band's latest single, 'Chasing Rainbows'.

Sound Driver hopes to promote it with other gigs in iconic locations across the world, including Abu Dhabi, China, India and the US.

The band's tour and single are to raise money and awareness for Smile Train, a charity dedicated to providing free cleft surgery for millions of children in developing countries.

Over the past 10 years, Smile Train has provided free surgeries for children in 77 of the world's poorest countries, with the help of sponsors Patron Spirits and the Abu Dhabi Airport Corporation.

Irish Independent

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