Monday 23 October 2017

Irish music's moment now

Niall Byrne

The Minutes, Villagers, James Vincent McMorrow, Bellx1, Wallis Bird, The Cast Of Cheers, And So I Watch You From Afar and Lisa Hannigan are just some of the Irish musicians who spent much of the year touring in Europe and North America.

The live music industry festival Eurosonic in Groningen, Holland, last January featured 21 artists from Ireland and a focus on the country, as did The Great Escape festival in Brighton the year before. So it's fair to say that Irish music is doing well in the well-regarded internationally stakes.

All these success stories have focused the attention back on this country to the point where there's currently a bit of a scramble going on to sign a number of new Irish bands.

Take The Strypes, those Cavan kids who have devoured the rock 'n' roll handbook and who have been tearing up stages around the country for two years now.

Like a travelling vintage rock celebration, these boys (and they are all 15 or thereabouts) are versed only in rock'n'roll made before 1980.

Their bluesy, guitar solo-heavy, harmonica-playing Kinks-esque mod music and their teenage exuberance have impressed the likes of Paul Weller, who called them one of his favourite bands of the year. So we can expect the band touted as a new Arctic Monkeys in the UK right now to sign a label deal very shortly.

The Strypes were one of three Irish bands who played at Other Voices in Dingle last week with a considerable buzz around them.

Sixteen-year-old Derry girl Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, and her folk songs are as charming as you could get from such a young soul. She's already been playlisted by BBC Radio with her song Fingers Crossed.

Limerick's Bleeding Heart Pigeons completed the triangle of teenage buzz bands. They brought their parents along to Dingle to watch them record. Their intricate and expansive indie sound has got UK labels salivating also.

The really interesting thing about these three bands is that most of the hype around them is being generated elsewhere. 2012 has been a very good year for Irish music abroad.

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