Not Over Yet: Sam Amidon at Galway Arts Festival

It is hard to believe after all the energy and triumphs of the past few weeks that Sunday, July 29th is finally here but while the end maybe near GAF 2012 is a long way from winding down. Tonight, folk star Sam Amidon plays the Róisín Dubh at 9.30pm. Sam’s live shows are very special events, mixing video, stories and reworkings of old and not so old music to create a unique audio visual experience. The Guardian has described Sam’s performances as ‘startling, moving stuff’, so don’t waste your Sunday night, get down to the Róisín Dubh. Sam’s support acts come in the shape of Dublin’s Spook of the Thirteenth Lock whose critically acclaimed album The Brutal Here and Now was released last April, plus RM Hubbert. For more info, check out: http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

Sam’s brand of folk is the perfect accompaniment to your Sunday morning coffee, so why not take a moment to savour his track, Saro:

 

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Let’s Dance: Kormac’s Big Band at GAF 2012

Tonight DJ Kormac and his Big Band take to the stage in the Róisín Dubh for what promises to be the perfect way to spend your Saturday night. The Big Band comprises of a barbershop quartet, drums, double base, trombone, clarinet, trumpet and banjo, with Kormac acting as conductor, possibly the only conductor you’re ever likely to see scratching records while he works. The results are energetic, fun and an unforgettable live experience, so polish up your dancing shoes and let the good times roll. Kormac’s Big Band kick off at 10.30pm in the Róisín Dubh tonight – write it down folks! In the meantime for your viewing pleasure, here is a GAF  TV look at Kormac and the band:

Live at the Róisín Dubh: Fred

When it comes to crafting bright, snappy pop music, Cork band Fred have got it going on as you’ll see on Saturday 21st when they take to the Róisín Dubh stage. If you’ve been near an Irish radio over the past view years, you’ll surely have heard and hummed along to their one of their hits including The Lights, Skyscrapers and Running (all below, for your listening pleasure), taken from their popular 2008 album Go God Go.

In addition to recording (four albums and counting!), Fred have played all over the country from lives sets on TodayFM to the Electric Picnic, Oxegen and Hard Working Class Heroes. They also featured in RTÉ’s the much admired Other Voices series. Critical acclaim for their most recent album Leaving My Empire has been huge, with Hotpress declaring it to be a ‘…new level of brilliance…’ while the Irish Independent described the album as, ‘…sprawling, ambitious and intoxicating…’ Leaving My Empire was recorded with Howard Bilerman, former member of Arcade Fire at his studios in Canada, which is fairly impressive to say the least.

Fans of Fred can look forward to them blowing the roof off the Róisín Dubh this Saturday for what promises to be a great gig. For more info on Fred and for all things festival related, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

A Moveable Feast: James Vincent McMorrow

The star of Dublin’s James Vincent McMorrow continues to climb and we’re delighted to be welcoming him to this year’s festival Big Top on July 26th. After the critical and commercial success of his debut album Early in the Morning, James has toured the world and played support to the likes of Al Green, Bon Iver and Iron and Wine. Not too shabby for a young fella who used to make his living pushing trolleys around Dublin airport.

James recently featured in the Guardian due to his participation in Bands in Transit, a web series looking at the role of humble transit van in the life of musicians, who use them to traverse the globe. Sure how else could you cart around all that gear? Like other artists featured in the series, including the chart topping Rizzle Kicks and the hotly tipped Ben Howard and Kyla La Grange, James performed in the back of a transit van, which you can watch below for a beautiful rendition of his hit, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree.

Thanks to GAF and the Róisín Dubh, James plays the festival Big Top along with Lisa Hannigan and Elaine Mai on July 26th. Tickets are flying out the door for what will be an incredible evening so to secure yours, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

Watch It: GAF TV

A GAF TV screenshot of the Misterman set.

With so much packed into the two weeks of Galway Arts Festival every single year, keeping track and preserving all those special moments is a mammoth task. Thankfully, GAF TV have been doing a stellar job of capturing the magic on film and now, for your viewing pleasure, the GAF archive is available online.

If there’s anything you’ve missed or a favourite festival memory you’d like to relive, then spend some quality time flicking through the gems on http://gaftv.ie/ For this year’s latest GAF TV reports, including an exclusive interview with Chic’s legendary Nile Rodgers, check out http://www.youtube.com/galwayartsfest or click on the clips below, featuring comedian and star of RTÉ’s the Savage Eye Dave McSavage, artist David Mach whose exhibition Precious Light is taking the festival by storm and Michael Kaeshammer, one of Canada’s brightest musical exports.

For more of GAF TV and all things festival related, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

The Wonderful World of Terry Alderton

Laughing – it’s great. Thankfully, Galway Arts Festival 2012 is choc full of funny bone ticklers including this man, the not-to-be-missed Terry Alderton. Labelled ‘astonishing’ by the Sunday Times and ‘hilarious’ by the Times, Perrier nominated Terry has stormed the Edinburgh Festival two years in a row, not to mention his star turn on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (see below), which saw Mr. McIntyre declaring Terry’s performance to be ‘inspirational’.

Terry doing what he does best on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

It can be hard to believe that Terry used to be a professional footballer such are his comedic talents. Just ask Joan Rivers, who he recently worked with or indeed Eddie Izzard who described Terry as  ‘a very funny comic with a fantastic comedy mind’. High praise indeed. Interesting fact: very early in his career, Terry beat Chesney ‘I Am the One and Only’ Hawkes to a place on Sky’s Star Search, which Terry subsequently won. That’s a story we’d love to hear him tell.

Terry Alderton plays the Roisin Dubh on July 18th. Don’t leave it too late to get your ticket. Check out : http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ We’ll leave you with Terry, who, as you’re about to hear is a man of many voices. Enjoy!

Piano Man: The Magic of Michael Kaeshammer

Being able to play the piano is an ambition many people have but few truly realize apart from the select, some would say chosen few of which Michael Kaeshammer is certainly one. After studying piano as a child in his native Germany, the young Michael became fascinated by the boogie-woogie playing style of Fats Waller. A few short years later, Michael was playing jazz clubs across Germany before moving to Canada where he has gone on to achieve huge acclaim, with Now magazine recently describing him as one of Canada’s hottest musical exports.

Jazz fans, piano lovers and indeed anyone with a love of breathtaking live performances will not want to miss the amazing Mr. Kaeshammer whose star is set to soar. For a taste of what you can expect, check out the clip of Michael performing his hit ‘Lovelight’ below. It will have you tapping your toes and humming along in an instant. Boogie-woogie indeed.

Michael Kaeshammer plays the Galway Arts Festival on July 23rd and 24th in the Roisin Dubh. To get your tickets and avoid disappointment, check out: http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

Are You Having A Laugh?

Here at GAF, we love a good giggle. That’s why every year we bring top quality comedy acts from across the world to Galway for two weeks of fun and laughter along with everything else. This year is no exception. Along with the lovely folk at Róisín Dubh Comedy, GAF is putting homegrown talent, new kids on the block and masters of the art of stand up centre stage with a comedy line-up that will be sure to tickle every funny bone from here to Timbuktu.

Fans of classic Eighties movies will know Michael Winslow from Gremlins and Police Academy. Having more recently lent his considerable voice skills to the likes of Family Guy and the Simpsons, Winslow’s sparkling stand-up routine has been described as ‘remarkable’ by the Guardian – and who are we to argue? Meanwhile, fans of Irish comedy will delight in the return of Jason Byrne, whose unique brand of lunacy has endeared him to audiences at home and abroad, on stage and on the small screen for many years. ‘Gas craic’ might as well be Mister Byrne’s middle name.

Fans of whip smart, tell-it-like-it-is comedy with bite will be delighted to welcome Reginald D. Hunter to Galway. Widely acknowledged as one of the most talented comics working today, prepare to hear the unspeakable spoken in Reginald’s brutally honest but always hilarious style. This is comedy that not only makes you laugh but also see the world differently. During the day, Galway comedy stalwart Gerry Mallon will be holding court in the Ruby Room at the Kings Head every lunch time, introducing a host of fantastic Irish comedians including Colm O’Regan, Maeve Higgins, Dave McSavage and many more.

We can’t sign off without mentioning Piff the Magic Dragon – you might have heard of his brother? Piff recently became a viral video sensation and is a must see for this year’s festival. For more info and to purchase those all important tickets, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/ but for now, take a look at the wonderful Piff in action:

This Charming Band: West Cork Ukulele Orchestra

Uke, I am your father… West Cork Ukulele Orchestra in session at 2FM

If the Smiths had written This Charming Man about the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra, they would’ve called it the This Charming Band because charisma, talent and the feel-good-factor is something these West Cork guys and gals have in spades. Since their surprise appearance in the Slow Food corner of last year’s Electric Picnic, word-of-mouth buzz has seen the group pop up everywhere from Clonakilty to 2FM’s Breakfast with Hector, winning new fans by the bucket load. If you love savvy covers (think A-Ha, Cyndi Lauper and even Jessie J) beautiful harmonies and great craic, you can’t afford to miss the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra. They’ll charm the pants off you – so maybe bring a spare pair. The gang play the Roisin Dubh on July 16th. For booking details and more, click here:  http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

One Man, One Voice: Damien Dempsey

Few contemporary Irish artists embrace our storytelling heritage and traditional music with the vigor and pure love of Damien Dempsey, a man who is proud of his roots and whose music explores all facets of Irishness, from the contemporary to the our often painful past. Damien’s incredible voice, his unmistakable delivery, the humor, passion and insight woven into his music have ensured that where ever he plays, people follow for what is always a special, rousing night, one that reminds you – if you ever needed reminding – that the Irish love a good ballad and by God, we love singing them too.

Damien has recently been a huge part of the success of Today FM’s chart topping Euro 2012’s single ‘The Rocky Road to Poland’ so expect a roof-raising rendition of that and many more of his gems on July 22nd at Monroes Live. This is one you won’t want to let slip by. Damien’s huge following will ensure tickets are like hot cakes. To secure yours, check out: http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

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