In the spring of 2020, Aoife Nessa Frances packed up her things in Dublin and moved to rural County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. It was there, amidst the stillness, that she began to work on the songs that would become her second album, Protector: a personal, mystical journey of self-discovery through dislocation, transformation, and restoration. “I might have been running away from my problems,” she admits. “I was disconnected from myself and from nature, but I found peace far away from the city, where there were no distractions. I isolated myself with nothing to do but make music.”
Recording took place in a small house in County Kerry, at the foothills of the Annascaul, along with Brendan Jenkinson (producer, keys, bass, synth, clarinet) and Brendan Doherty (drums). “We’d wake up early every day and swim at Inch Beach before making music,” Frances describes. “This ritual was crucial for our process. There was an unexplainable joy happening between the three of us.” The arrangements grew with later contributions from Ailbhe Nic Oiroictaigh (strings), Meabh McKenna (harp), and Conor O’Brien (horns). No matter how it expanded in scope and involvement, Frances never let it stray from a central focus on deep truths. “For me, Protector acknowledges the part of myself that steers me towards a brighter path. The almost psychotropic power of nature gave me a connection I never felt before. As the countryside seeped into me and lines of communication opened up with my family, I developed an ability to perceive myself and my choices within an expanded world.”
Protector builds pastoral landscapes through light flourishes and open spaces. Songs float along effortlessly, remaining anchored by Frances’ deep voice. Contemplative tempos tug along atmospheric synths, minimal bass, and shimmering guitar notes, conveying a serenity like early morning. “Writing and recording this album was a spiritual experience,” Frances explains. “I experienced love for my family on a level I didn’t know existed, while slowly putting myself back together and watching the ‘protector’ in me grow much bigger.”
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.
Join the Sister Ghost gang for an afternoon of herstory, creativity and zine-making activism! Suitable for beginners to advanced zine-makers, this workshop will be fun & hands-on, touching on topics within intersectional feminism, women in music and activism. You’ll learn about zine culture and have the opportunity to create your own zine with the band.’
This workshop is for female & non binary participants.
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.
As CIGF 21 reached its conclusion, the bard of the Lee, John Spillane sent a rapt audience out of Spillers Lane into in the dusk with his songs still ringing around the streets. It was an event so enchanting that we are returning to Spillers Lane at the height of summer with acclaimed and eclectic collective Dog Tail Soup.
This is going to be one of the most memorable events of the year as we enjoy one of west Cork’s best musical projects in the historic and atmospheric courtyard at the centre of our town.
Dogtail Soup is an eclectic and flavourful musical stew made by carefully simmering Camilla Griehsel (Swedish World Music diva) with Maurice Seezer (Twice Golden Globe nominated Film Music composer), adding a pinch of Paul Tiernan (International troubadour, pillar of West Cork’s favourite band, Interference), a sprinkling of Anthony Noonan (drummer for Roy Harper with extra dulcet tones), a cupful of John Fitzgerald (bass and all known instruments… last seen touring with Gilbert O’Sullivan) and an occasional splash of James O’Leary (founding member of Interference on electric guitar).
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.
TEKE::TEKE is a Montreal-based Japanese psych-rock group composed of guitarists Serge Nakauchi Pelletier and Hidetaka Yoneyama, bass player Mishka Stein, drummer Ian Lettre, flutist Yuki Isami, trombone player Etienne Lebel, and visual artist and vocalist Maya Kuroki.
Featuring traditional Japanese instruments, flute and trombone alongside raging guitars and a pulsing rhythm section, TEKE::TEKE creates a sound reminiscent of 1960’s and 70’s era psychedelic Japanese soundtracks, with a frenetic, modern twist.
A critically acclaimed performer, as well as a member of King Kong Company, SON – aka Susan O’Neill – is one of Ireland’s brightest emerging talents. The basis of her first album ‘Found Myself Lost’ saw SON find her voice amongst her peers, introducing her unique and otherworldly style.
The album was one of Hot Press magazine’s ‘Albums of the Year’ and garnered her a number of opportunities, including joining Sharon Shannon on her sold out tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The enigmatic singer-songwriter honed her musical skills as one of the youngest members of the Ennis Brass Band and gained her first gospel influences with the ‘Really Truly Joyful Gospel Choir.’ SON has recently been collaborating with multi-platinum, award winning artist, Mick Flannery, whom she recently released a duet, “Baby Talk,” to rave reviews. In promotion of the song,
SON and Flannery have made several late night talk-show appearances as well as having announced joint tour dates. Her solo career as SON has begun to pique critical and industry interest. Eclectically fusing traditional Irish folk with rock, soul, gospel and blues, her live performances are quite simply electrifying. Her husky vocals combined with her superb guitar technique, loop pedals and trumpet, have wowed audiences everywhere from Stradbally to Sydney, Glasgow to Glastonbury, Manhattan to Milwaukee, and many places beyond.