April 26 – May 30, 2024


‘Moscow to West Cork!’ epitomises value of folk song storytelling

‘M oscow to West Cork!’, a new single by Mitchelstown ballad band The Fógues, is an original song composed in response to the historic stand-off between the West Cork fishermen and the Russian navy in 2021. Although writ- ten around the time of the event, the band has only now gotten around to releasing it. “It has been getting a great reception when played live and I really think the people of West Cork will enjoy it,” says band member Ted O’Brien. The Fógues is usually composed of three Fogarty cousins, Micheál, William and Jack, who, with their friend Ted O’Brien, have been on the road for the last seven years; the band has just recently gone down to a three piece as the youngest member, Jack, is off in Canada. “We hope to see him return to our ranks in the not too distant future,” says Ted. The last 12 months have been extremely busy for The Fógues who can boast full capacity performances at Indiepen- dence, Electric Picnic and most recently Cyprus Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day.

could have been exercised by the Russians, common sense still prevailed,” Ted muses. “It was ordinary hard working people that brought the Russian navy to a standstill, and I felt like this was a story worth remembering. “The story was so good in fact, that the song practically wrote itself. It was Patrick Murphy’s in- terview with CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan that gave me the hook for the chorus. All they wanted was to be able to say to their men ‘Listen lads, out ye go, fish away’. “After that, the song came together more or less in one sitting.” It’s always difficult to strike while the iron is hot though, especially when dealing with current affairs. “It takes time to rehearse the song, record it, get the cover art and everything else prepared,” Ted explains. “I did record a demo and was considering putting it up online. It never happened though, and it was put on the back burner. “Fast forward a few weeks to the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine, and it just became too raw and didn’t feel right

to be singing it. The song was fairly lighthearted in nature but on seeing the atrocities that followed, there was nobody laughing at the Russians any more. It was later that I adjusted the last verse to say ‘Just talk it out and ‘leave’ Ukraine’. “The song has slowly but surely found its way into our set and has been received very well by live audiences. That’s really what made it come alive, and playing it with the lads gave it the new lease of life it needed before getting it recorded and released.” People can find the song on Spotify, Apple Music, You- Tube, Soundcloud or anywhere else they normally stream or download music. They can also request it from their local radio stations, which would be very much appreciated by the band who will be performing all over the country this year. Upcoming gigs around West Cork include: May 18 - Casey’s Bar, Clonakilty; August 10 - Valley Rovers Festival, Innishannon; August 15 - Allihies Family Festival; August 24 - Inchi- geelagh Festival; November 2 - Maritime Hotel, Bantry

“We’re enjoying the recent folk and ballad revival,” Ted explains. “We’ve gone from playing in the corner of small pubs, referenced in our first single ‘Long Nights in Pokey Places’, to selling out venues across Ireland, England and a major folk festival in Germany. Their latest single is sure to stir up even more interest in the storytelling power of folk music. ‘Moscow to West Cork!’ was written in the immedi- ate aftermath of the much takes about stand-off between the Russian navy and West Cork fishermen. “I found it fascinat - ing that in spite of all the might that comes with this big super- power, the political pressure and the sheer brute force that

Gallery Asna in May

E mma O’Shaughnessy’s exhibition ‘Those Hours’ will run at Gallery Asna at Clonakilty Arts Centre in May. Emma’s exhibition takes us on a journey through West Cork during the bewitching hours of dusk and into the night. Present is an exploration into the enchanting yet obscure effect darkness can have on familiar places. Void of people, these paintings emanate life through tender yet glaring light bulbs that dot across the canvases. The perceived stillness and hush in these scenes encourages one

to ponder upon these concealed moments we observe from afar. Scenes spanning a cold tired street which is bathing in the warmth of streetlights, to fleet - ing colours infusing the night skies while below imagination is absorbed by an abyss that is the blackened land adorned with specs of distant lights. Whether expansive or intri- cate, sombre or comforting, the work aims to show the uncanny and captivating beauty of West Cork at night. ‘Those Hours’ opens May 4, 5:30pm at Gallery Asna. All welcome. Show runs to May 25.

This year the 13th annual Clonakilty Bicycle Festival takes place from May 14-19. Events include a town-wide photo exhibition, bike workshops at the Bike Circus, film night, the ever popular sunset estuary cycle, river cycle, ‘kidical mass’ cycle and more. The festival will end with a lap of the town and a free ‘Waste Not Want Not’ curry supper and Bikeoke party (think karaoke on a static bike!) at O’Donovans hotel. Visit www.clonakiltybicyclefes- for all the details. Clon Bicycle Fest to take place during National Bike Week

Lyra continues dynamic rise with release of debut album

Lyra, the singer-songwriter from Bandon commonly described as a dark electropop artist, has just released her long awaited self-titled debut album. A variety of lyrical stories are beautifully told in Lyra’s raw, yet outstandingly well- controlled and sincere voice, reviews Ella McSwiney . In fact the voice and lyrics of ‘LYRA’s’ featured songs are on par with musicians like Adele, Florence and the Machine, and Ellie Goulding. L yra’s star has been raising for a number of years. Her first EP ‘W.I.L.D’ had its second track,

‘Emerald’, featured on the ‘The X Factor’, ‘The Only Way is Essex’ and RTÉ drama ‘Striking Out’ in 2016, which garnered recognition for this West Cork artist; a deal with Polydor Records and Universal Music followed in 2017. By 2020 her single ‘Falling’, recorded in 2019 but included on this new album, had featured in the 16th season of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and on ‘Love Island’, and Lyra was preparing to work on her debut album and go on tour; plans that were halted by the pandemic. Lyra had just moved to the UK, away from her family, and so she used this time to concentrate solely on her music. Between 2020 and 2022, she brought out a four-song length Christmas album ‘The Magic of

Christmas’, and contrib- uted a track to the film ‘Riverdale: The Animated Adventure’. She also released the single ‘New Day’. Back in the present day, Lyra’s new album showcases her impressive vocal skills. Although the backbeats are dramatic, heartfelt, sometimes fierce, and always include an effective build-up, they are crafted in such a way as to never overtake the singer’s powerful voice. There are many tales told through this album’s lyrics, though they can be narrowed down to three main themes: love, heartbreak, and self-em- powerment. ‘America’, which mixes a slow, almost fragile backbeat with a heartfelt,

dynamic rise is compelling – a sincere yet mysterious tale of love lost. ‘Loved by U’ is more positive with a simple yet very effective melody and lyrics of wanting to be loved in a new relationship. Love lost and love gained – opposing themes maybe but both songs share a passionate and honest identity; which is the best way to describe the whole of Lyra’s debut album.

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