Lankum review – eerie, overwhelming radical Irish folk already feels centuries old

The Mercury-nominated four-piece play every song as if they’re fighting with it, gasping for air before verses

By Katie Hawthorne

A menacing rumble fills the Queen’s Hall. Four empty chairs line the front of the stage, crowded by instruments: fiddles, guitars, hand organs, pipes, pedals, a harmonium. Slowly, the rumble builds into a fidgety clatter, as if a ghostly orchestra is preparing to play, and Lankum walk on stage, their first notes bleeding into the din.

Such eerie theatre is a fitting introduction to the Dublin folk band, who turn traditional songs into fresh horrors and write stormy, gothic elegies to modern life which already feel centuries old. Their latest album, the Mercury prize-nominated False Lankum, is bound together by similarly haunted atmospherics, and yet it still feels a surprise when the band – Radie Peat, Cormac Mac Diarmada and brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch – pull their first song proper out of this mist.

They have a ferocious physicality to their musicianship, and although Daragh describes new (old) song The New York Trader as a “workout, every time”, just moments later he is hunched over his guitar with a violin bow, sawing as if cutting a thick rope. The Rocky Road to Dublin is sung with such intensity that the band collectively gasps for air before each verse, both meditative and ominous. The weather worsens further for The Pride of Petravore: pipes roar and Mac Diarmada’s fiddle turns into a horrifying groan.

Then, as if the evening has been breezy entertainment until now, Peat offers a blunt warning: “We wrote this one during level-five lockdown. Probably why it’s so intense.” Go Dig My Grave is the showstopper of False Lankum, a bone-crunchingly heavy ballad about love and death. Peat’s astonishing voice cuts through the dark, and the song builds around her: four-piece harmonies, guitar strummed like a funeral march, and a doom-laden siren with the circular swing of a lighthouse’s beam.

“We always sing, even when we’re losing,” goes their first single Cold Old Fire. This mix of grief and joy is why some songs live so long, and to close the night Lankum offers the latter: a rowdy version of Bear Creek has the audience whooping and stamping in cleansing release.

Source: Lankum review – eerie, overwhelming radical Irish folk already feels centuries old

Lisa O’Neill and more announced for April Sounds – in aid of Red Cross Ukraine and UNICEF Ukraine

Tickets for the concert series are on sale now.

A selection of Ireland’s most celebrated musicians, actors and spoken word artists are set to descend on Kilkenny next month, for April Sounds – a three-day concert series, running from April 8–10, with full proceeds from ticket sales going to the Red Cross Ukraine and UNICEF Ukraine, in response to the ongoing conflict there.

The Ukrainian Red Cross is carrying out humanitarian work, from aiding refugees to training doctors, while UNICEF Ukraine is repairing schools damaged by the bombings, and providing an emergency response to children affected by the conflict.

Taking place in Kilkenny’s St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Medieval Mile Museum, April Sounds will feature performances from Lisa O’ Neill, Rónán Ó Snodaigh, actor Stephen Rea, spoken word artist FeliSpeaks and many more across the three days.

The series opens on Friday, April 8, at St. Canice’s Cathedral with live sets from Lisa O’ Neill, duo Rónán Ó Snodaigh & Myles O’Reilly and Arrivalists – with Kilkenny’s singer-songwriter Bríd Lyons opening the series.

The following evening, April 9, St. Canice’s Cathedral will play host to Saíocht – a celebration of Ireland’s leading poets and Irish traditional musicians.

Saíocht is hosted by world renowned actor Stephen Rea, and features poet Gabriel Rosenstock, spoken word artist FeliSpeaks plus poems by two Kilkenny poets Robert McLoughlin and Emily Murtagh. They’ll be joined by acclaimed Irish traditional musicians, Louise & Michelle Mulcahy and Neil Martin – exploring the fascinating artistic relationship between the Irish literary tradition and Irish traditional music.

Following their moving performance of the lament ‘Anach Cuan‘ on the Late Late Show in honour of Aishling Murphy, Connemara siblings Caoimhe and Séamus Uí Flatharta will make their Kilkenny debut on Sunday, April 10, at the Medieval Mile Museum at 12pm. Critically-acclaimed songwriter Niamh Regan and local musician Gary O’Neill will then take to the stage at 3pm. Alt-folk act Ailbhe Reddy, meanwhile, will perform at the Medieval Mile Museum at 6pm that evening, with support from local musician Elise.

Celebrating the launch of his new record, Twilight, Kilkenny-based singer-songwriter songwriter John Hegarty will close out April Sounds on April 10 with an album launch at 8.30pm.

Source: Lisa O’Neill and more announced for April Sounds – in aid of Red Cross Ukraine and UNICEF Ukraine | Hotpress

Bridget St John (Live) French Television 1970

By Johnny Foreigner

Here in the colonies, Bridget St John remains one of the more under-appreciated artists in the British Folk genre. Her voice is not as sweet as Sandy Denny’s, nor possessing the huskiness of latter-day Marianne Faithful, but combines a small scoop of each with a delicious melted Nico topping.
In England during the 1970s, she worked with Kevin Ayers, John Martyn and Mike Oldfield. Her first album, Ask Me No Questions was released in 1969, and during the early seventies, she shared Folk charts and BBC radio time with Sandy Denny, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens and Fairport Convention.

Born in Surrey, England, she lived periodically in London, Aix-en-Provence, France, eventually landing in Greenwich Village, New York, only to decide to take the next 20 years off from performing.

This small concert made for French television in 1970 is quite wonderful. Listen, and appreciate Bridget’s je ne sais quoi.

Don’t miss The Unthanks February 26-27

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'THE UNTHANKS 26 and 27 Feb Exclusive New Performance Online concert ticket includes brand new exclusive show (Saturday night) plus included in the ticket, ten piece Mount The Air show from Newcastle City Hall, recorded in 2015 (Friday night), previously only available limited edition CD. Concert tickets and all weekend tickets including other exclusive content from: hts/'

Tickets now available for exclusive new show, filmed in the beautiful, atmospheric Simpson Street Studios, Northumberland.
Two shows for the price of one!
8.30pm, Fri 26th – Mount The Air show, Newcastle City Hall 2015 8.30pm, Sat 27th – Exclusive new intimate show
This double bill concert ticket grants access to these shows only. They are part of The Unthanks Winter Onliner – a full weekend with heaps of exclusive new content.

Follow this link for details, where you will also find tickets for the full weekend: