Travelling folk band Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies to play Bantry

Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies

Posted on: 20th January, 2015

Category: Arts & Entertainment

Contributor: West Cork People

Floating folkies, cast adrift on the high seas of song. That might best describe Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies, skippered by singer-songwriting guitarist Harry Bird (Bilbao) and multi-instrumentalist Christophe Capewell (Dublin). Split between Ireland, the Basque Country, and several other locations depending on the line-up, their origins are to be found in the North of England, where they first met as students; strumming, bowing and beating away in various musical outfits at the heady turn of a fresh-faced millennium. Since then, they have have spent the last seven years touring Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe playing all sorts of venues.

Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies will play The Mariner in Bantry, on January 24. The gig is free of charge and starts at 8pm.

After college and the inevitable parting of ways, Harry and Christophe were united again in 2008 by an offer to tour Ireland with mutual friend Natascha Leonie, as part of her Frankfurt-based rock band. The lads’ hastily assembled support act, with Irish artist Maria Blackwell as backing singer and percussionist, was the trio that came to form the original line-up for Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies.

‘Long Way to be Free’, was the fruit of the subsequent year they spent travelling together around Ireland, Britain and Spain (where they also doubled as Basque circus band Txintxo Portatu). Released on their own label, Hot Drop Records, their debut was meant originally as a simple, home-made reminder of the good times had upon the road. However, as the gigs increased in number to average around 100 a year and they began to venture further into mainland Europe, the album began to pick up interest from international radio stations and music festivals.

When Maria left to pursue a fine arts degree in Melbourne, the lads turned to old college friend and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Durkan. Paddy, recently freed up from his tours with singer-songwriter John Redfern and newly installed in the Netherlands, agreed to step in with a whole wealth of experience and a whole lot more gear in the form of a banjo and a drum kit (all miraculously squeezed into a picnic box!)

With Paddy’s drums adding a fuller sound, February 2012 saw the release of their second album, ‘The Bones on Black’, recorded in the front room of a big old house in Lincoln, England. All tracks were recorded live by the three of them and then, after some choice collaborations from the affectionately dubbed Lincoln Stompers (bassist Ian Paterson, brother Jamie Bird and engineer/co-producer Adam Sinclair), were hauled off on the road in typical Welly fashion for a bit of love from friends further afield (in England, Ireland, the Basque Country, Catalunya and Syria no less). In 2013, they released a 7” single ‘Kettle of Silver’, as well as collaborating with acclaimed singer Gwyneth Herbert on her album ‘The Sea Cabinet’.

For live shows, the Wellies have had their fair share of guests and stand-ins, among whom number Harry’s aforementioned brother Jamie (a firm Greenbelt Festival favourite and backing singer on both albums). Others include Dublin’s Sweeney Lee (backing vocals around Ireland and Spain), Gaddafi Nuñez (the Peruvian whooper in La Grietita) and the Basque pairing of David Larrínaga (aka La Baldosa Flotante) and Borja Dolara (Humanos Intentandolo). The latest additions to the crew have been London-based Will Rutter, another old friend from student days, who contributed mandolin and Hammond organ to The Bones on Black and Adam Downey, who plays drums when his busy schedule with Sons of Gingerbread and others allows.

2014 saw a successful tour in New Zealand, Australia and Switzerland as well as another 100-date tour closer to home. A third album is planned for release in early 2015, along with another extensive tour of Ireland, Britain and beyond on which they will present their intimate cabaret of joyful sing-a-long choruses and general participatory fun. Pirates, lizards, cracks in the wall and Basque cyclists all inhabit the songscape. And a beard snood….

“One of my favourite bands of recent years” – Mike Harding, former BBC Radio 2 presenter

“An album that consistently surprises and delights…it is folk music as artefact, not industry…simply magnificant” – Sean McGhee, editor R2

Latest News Articles:

Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence
St. Joseph’s in Clonakilty looks back on 50 years of educating young girls
‘Operation Transformation’ for Young Beef Farmers
Macra President welcomes publication of EU Young Farmer Survey
Vital role of Focus in the West Cork community highlighted at Open Morning
Clonakilty Food Company opens new production facility in Clonakilty
Beara student one of three Cork students awarded €20,000 scholarship by Naughton Foundation
International success for Skibb rowers

Join us on Facebook

Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at or text at 086/0476124.
... See MoreSee Less

26th September, 2017  ·  

Jump to: