An idiosyncratic, challenging and richly lyrical singer/ songwriter, Junior Brother is the pseudonym of Co. Kerry, Ireland singer Ronan Kealy. Chosen as The Irish Times’ Best Irish Act of 2019 and nominated for the 2019 Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, Junior Brother has built a rabid following thanks to unmissable live shows, and music both excitingly forward-looking and anciently evocative. His strange stories unfold with reckless abandon upon a distinctive guitar and foot tambourine accompaniment, influenced as much by the avant-garde as music from the Middle Ages and his home place in rural Ireland.
In addition to earning a Choice Music Prize nomination, Junior Brother’s trailblazing debut album “Pull The Right Rope”, also saw Kealy garner two nominations at the 2019 RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards, for Best Folk Album and Best Emerging Folk Act. Similarly, vigorous approval from modern-day Irish figureheads such as the Rubberbandits and Cillian Murphy has furthered Junior Brother’s stock, the latter playing Junior Brother several times on his BBC Radio 6 Music Show. Along-side further airplay, his television performances include appearances on RTÉ’s the Tommy Tiernan show, Other Voices and the Choice Music Prize Awards night in Vicar Street.
PRAISE FOR THE GREAT IRISH FAMINE
“Wry songs of anxiety and frustration”
The Guardian ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
[An] unfiltered acoustic mix of neuroses, loss of innocence and religious oppression…Truly unforgettable”
“Junior Brother’s The Great Irish Famine captures the range of feelings we face when learning our place in an increasingly shaky world built on a foundation of tragedy.”
“More ambitious than his debut, an ambition met”
The Thin Air ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“The songs of ‘The Great Irish Famine’ are from a shaken world, songs that can be both cathartic and comic, personal and universal”
“Magnificent…A strange but wonderful trip”
Hot Press ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We are delighted to once again welcome the return of the Acoustic Forum to this years Guitar festival! This year’s AF will be composed of all the amazing musical experiences you have come to expect from this event however the one thing that may be unfamiliar is the venue. We’re delighted to team up with Scoil na mBuachailli to host this years event in their purpose built music room.
The Acoustic Forum is an eclectic event unlike anything else you’ve ever seen which sees a selection of artists from the festival playing in an intimate and informal concert in the round, with each artist staying onstage for the duration.
Guided by the guest host, each performer gives an insight into their craft and performs a short selection to whet the appetite for the weekend ahead.
It’s off the cuff, it’s friendly and it provides the listener with a varied and spontaneous night that never fails to surprise!
This year’s event will include host George Lowden & guests Gwenifer Raymond (WLS), Gemma Hayes (IRL), John Spillane (IRL) & Junior Brother (IRL)
In keeping with The Acoustic Forum tradition a portion of the tickets for this event will be available at a reduced rate for the unwaged.
This will be operated on an honour system so please be sound!
John Spillane returns to Clonakilty International Guitar Festival this year as a participant of the Acoustic Forum Hosted by George Lowden on Fri 22nd of September and then again on Sunday where John Spillane & the Band of Wrens will perform as part of the legendary guitartown Session trail!
John Spillane is a musician, songwriter, performer, recording artist, storyteller, poet and dreamer. Rooted in people, place and story, his music transports the listener and his live performances captivate audiences around the world.
After his acclaimed release of 100 Snow White Horses in 2021, in October 2022, John will released ‘In Another Light’ a career spanning album recorded live at the Right Here Right Now Festival recorded at Cork Opera House in November 2021.
Gemma Hayes is a much loved and respected Irish singer songwriter. Her debut album, Night On My Side, was released in 2002, for which she won Best Female Artist at the Hot Press Awards and a Mercury Prize nomination. Since then she has released 4 critically acclaimed studio albums and a limited-edition live album. Gemma is constantly in demand for film and television placements – her version of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game, recorded for the US TV series Pretty Little Liars, is now close to 19 million streams on Spotify alone.
Gemma is currently working on a new album which she herself describes as deconstructed folk-pop. Gemma will be releasing a song called High and Low at the end of February with her new album coming in September 2023.
Gwenifer Raymond began playing guitar at the age of eight shortly after having been first exposed to punk and grunge. After years of playing around the Welsh valleys in various punk outfits she began listening more to pre-war blues musicians as well as Appalachian folk players, eventually leading into the guitar players of the American Primitive genre.
In 2018 she signed to the American label ‘Tompkins Square’ and released her first album ‘You Never Were Much of a Dancer’ to widespread acclaim. In 2020 her second album ‘Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain’ shifted somewhat from straight Americana and started to take more of a spiritual influence from the landscape of her homeland of Wales. Recalling from her childhood memories of spooky trees, black against the grey sky and breath misting in cold air there is present a style of guitar playing that could be referred to as ‘Welsh Primitive’.
Gwenifer has toured extensively throughout the UK and the Europe and has established herself as one of the leading lights of the scene, and not to be missed under any circumstances.
Molly O’Mahony has spent much of the last decade writing and performing with art-folk group Mongoose. She returned to her home place of west Cork in March of 2020, and against the backdrop of the unfolding pandemic, began work on her first solo collection of songs.
During lockdown, she bounced many ideas off her two musician siblings Matilda and Fiachra and collaborated on arranging a number of covers with them. This period of time and these collaborations greatly informed her own songs, which were recorded over the summer of 2021, and which her siblings played a crucial role in arranging and playing on.
Molly released two of these songs over the latter half of last year, Remember To Be Brave and Brother Blue.
Marisa Anderson channels the history of the guitar and stretches the boundaries of tradition. Her deeply original work applies elements of minimalism, electronic music, drone and 20th century classical music to compositions based on blues, jazz, gospel and country music, re-imagining the landscape of American music.
The New Yorker calls Anderson ‘one of the most distinctive guitar players of her generation’, while NPR refers to her as among ‘this era’s most powerful players’ . Her work has been featured in Billboard, Rolling Stone, NPR, SPIN, Pitchfork, the BBC and The Wire. Festival appearances include Big Ears, Pitchfork Midwinter, Le Guess Who and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival.
Anderson’s discography includes five solo records and multiple collaborations. Her latest release, Lost Futures (2021), is a collaboration with guitarist William Tyler. In 2020 Anderson released The Quickening with drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, Xylouris White). Anderson is sought after as a collaborator and composer, contributing to recordings by Matmos, Tara Jane O’Neil, Beth Ditto, Sharon Van Etten and Circuit Des Yeux among others, as well as creating music for short films and soundtracks.
Classically trained, she honed her skills playing in country, jazz and circus bands. and currently tours extensively throughout Europe and North America.
Cherished and admired in equal measure by listeners and fellow musicians, award-winning guitarist, singer, songwriter and prolific collaborator Kris Drever has been a leading light on the UK roots scene for well over a decade.
A highly skilled guitarist who adroitly blends traditional folk and flat picking with more contemporary influences – allied to a distinctively relaxed and poised vocal burr – Drever is an astonishingly fine interpreter of others’ songs, with an increasingly frequent knack for concocting seriously smart lyrical observations and earworm melodies of his own.
Drever has played and recorded with an extensive range of artists including Mark Knopfler, Jack Bruce, Danny Thompson, Eddi Reader, Bela Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Sarah Jarosz, Joan As Police Woman, Tinariwen, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis.
George Lowden is a luthier based in Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. He constructs steel and nylon string acoustic guitars by hand without any UV finishing as well as solid-body electric guitars.
The Lowden Story:
In the late 1980’s George Lowden accepted an invitation to visit the main Lowden dealer for Switzerland, Servette Music in Geneva. Upon his arrival, co-proprietor Yves Imer thanked George for coming, because some of the Lowden customers he was to meet had not realised he actually existed – they thought “George Lowden” was merely the figment of some marketing man’s imagination – a leprechaun, in fact!
This served to enlighten George to the principle that an ‘information vacuum’ will always be filled – sometimes benignly, sometimes bizarrely.So, for the record, HERE is the complete story of George Lowden and his guitars.
Andy Irvine is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He has been hailed as “a tradition in himself”.
Musician, singer, songwriter, Andy has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his over 50-year career.
Andy has been at the helm of legendary bands like Sweeney’s Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, and then Patrick Street, Mozaik, LAPD and recently Usher’s Island. Andy has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.
As a soloist, Andy fills the role of the archetypal troubadour with a show and a travelling lifestyle that reflect his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. To quote the Irish Times, “Often copied, never equalled”, his repertoire consists of Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dance tunes and a compelling canon of his own self-penned songs.