March on

Posted on: 8th March, 2016

Category: News

Contributor: Mark Holland

Hunky Dory Music Shop in Spillers Lane, Clonakilty stocks a huge range of instruments, accessories, CDs and vinyl. Contact Mark on 023 8834982 or pop in to have a listen.

Seasons changing are so stimulating; each one prepares you for the next, there is joy, delight and dread in all of them and not like we have any choice but you wouldn’t swap one for the world. As a ‘scorpion’, i.e. born in October, I always thought that the Autumn was my season, but I was quite taken aback the first time someone said to me how much they were looking forward to the winter?  A big long excuse to cut the short day short, get the stove or fire going, stay in and snuggle up, or head out early for a bit of craic.

As the days get longer everything starts happening a bit later, and around here later becomes so late — we are so far north of the equator that our time change from deep winter to deep summer is so extreme that I think its remarkable that we are all, subsequently, quite as sane as we are. I know the seasons also change for our continental brethren but not even close to the same degree — it’s got to do with the twilight, dusk, or whatever you might call it.

But now March is coming upon us with a vengeance and it’s all happening. For us here in Ireland the whole Patrick’s weekend thing is the major turning point, equinox for daylight balance, hopefully temperatures doing something similar, tourists coming back and us all thinking about going out again.

Since last we were talking, Levis’s corner house in Ballydehob has won the IMRO Munster Live Music Venue for 2015; we all love a winner, and well done to Joe, Caroline and the crew down there and well-deserved for the imaginative effort they have put in to reinventing the place. They are all over the space with a Patrick’s weekend special on March 19 with Cork stalwarts Stargazers, Jazz/Swingin’ around the place since the 1980s with their vocal harmonies and acoustic set of 20s/30s inspiration.

Connolly’s in Leap are building on what has surely been a phenomenal reopening season for them with a mid-month visit on Saturday, March 12 by Cork duo Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson collectively known as Fish Go Deep with their awaited ‘Fish Go South’ set of House treats bringing us back to the to the heydays of Sweat in Sir Henry’s and beyond.  The production duo have been releasing on their own label since 1997 with two albums and a rake of EPs under their belt, it will be fun.

In the meanwhile De Barra’s, with respect to every other music venue on the planet, is literally on fire! Packing in the goods in anticipation of the Patrick’s day session they’ve got The Vincents launching an album, supported by local bad boy Arty P. on March 11, Strange Attractor on March 12, with loads more for the following weekend with the Bruce Unger Band on March 18 and my favourites Jester on March 19 — we are truly spoiled.

Having had a difficult December and January to deal with, we had the terrible news on February 2 of the loss of Fergus O’Farrell, so passionately regarded here in his West Cork home, but also so highly regarded farther afield.

With his band Interference, Fergus launched the very first of the Other Voices gigs in Dingle in 2003, and what a wonderful recording, listen again and again if you get the chance. Aside from his music, his visual art was also so unique, powerful…words fail. We could do with a break, March on…

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