Freelance music, books and arts writer. Bylines: Sunday Business Post, Journal of Music, The Irish Times, The Thin Air, Nialler9 etc. Music podcast host @ Nialler9.
Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary announces its Word of the Year, a word or expression that captures the prevailing mood and preoccupations of social life over the preceding 12 months. 'Fake news' and 'hashtag' have featured before, and if it weren't for all the talk of 'social distancing', and 'self-isolation', this year's word may well have been 'cancel culture'.
Essentially, it's an updated version of 'PC gone mad', a catch-all phrase that's more harmful than the thing it's trying t...
A new documentary on the history of Irish hip hop explores the views of current artists such as Denise Chaila, Costello, Ophelia, Kojaque and Mango X Mathman. Is the genre becoming an agent of change in Ireland? Andrea Cleary reviews.
There’s a lot of talk, these days, about Irish hip hop’s current ‘moment’. To many, the scene still feels raw, new, like it’s finding its feet, despite its four-decades-long history – a history that is examined in a new documentary from Collective Films, Origins...
Talking to artists about emigration in 2020 feels a little like Groundhog Day. The first time round – for this generation at least – was during the 2008 financial crisis, when young artists had little choice but to leave Ireland in search of viable careers. The movement rate of young creatives to artistic hubs such as Berlin has remained largely stable ever since.
Karen Cowley, one-third of the Choice Prize-nominated band Wyvern Lingo, speaks to me over...
Last Saturday (15 August) Lankum performed at The Abbey Theatre. The live-streamed show, titled 'A National Disgrace', portrayed an eerie image of the arts today – empty theatres and audiences watching from home. Andrea Cleary reviews.
It was during the second performance of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars in 1926 that a riot broke out, causing playwright W.B. Yeats, famously, to take to the stage and declare to Ireland’s theatre-goers: ‘You have disgraced yourselves again. Is this to...
Life & Arts
With the coronavirus restrictions on movement and foreign travel, artist Debbie Godsell found herself refocusing on the relevance of our surroundings. She believes people are becoming more attuned to their own corner of the world
If we have learned anything about the arts in the past six months, it is that the sector is prepared to adapt and reframe during a crisis. In a new exhibition, entitled Visions Of An Unsettled Earth – taking place at the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh – artis...
Colm O’Regan’s witty, fiercely loyal Mammy holds her own alongside millennials, politicians, podcasters and men’s-rights activists
If it weren’t for a certain pesky virus, the talented Irish R&B artist would be gathering fame and fortune on the tour circuit right now. Instead, she’s taking her music online in generous collaborative projects
Artists often say that success often comes from being in the right place at the right time. Music is a notoriously insular industry, and Irish pop and R&B artist Fia Moon will be the first to tell you of the value of luck when starting your career.
“When I was doing my economics...
Broadly acknowledged as the most influential Irish rapper, God Knows sees the murder of George Floyd as a defining moment for black and Irish artists
“It’s been an amazing year so far,” Munyaradzi GodKnows Jonas, better known to his friends and fans as God Knows, beams at the start of our conversation. “I feel kind of guilty for saying it. I’m talking strictly musically for myself and for my peers, but it’s one of those years where no one could have predicted this.”
We’re speaking just ...
Though it’s only just past its halfway point, 2020 has already been the strangest of years for Dublin rock trio The Coronas – for reasons that need no elaboration
Covid-19-era interviews are strange. When I go to meet The Coronas in Dublin city centre for this interview, there are no handshakes on arrival or even bumps of the elbow, but rather sheepish waves of hello from across the room, epitomising face-to-face interviews in the new normal. After awkwardly placing the recorder on the ...
Ilaria Bernardini’s first novel in English is an intriguing study of art and deception and how relationships can be maintained when truth isn’t always what it seems
Two decades on from his groundbreaking debut Original Pirate Material, Mike Skinner – aka The Streets – is still trying to make full sense of a confused, changing world
Mike Skinner: bastion of early 2000s geezer-garage, laddish everyman with a heart of gold and, as it turns out, a bit of an introvert.
In the Zoom window, Skinner is sitting cross-legged in a squishy office chair, surrounded by studio equipment in his London home. “I’m definitely a sort-of sit-in-my-house-type of person,...
Championing Irish women in music is not – and should not be perceived as – a risk. And yet, were you to tune in to plenty of Irish radio stations, hoping to hear a female Irish voice singing or playing music, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a different matter.
There’s a disappointing trend evident in what is playlisted on our stations. If you really thought about it, can you remember the...
Caution is advised with Neil Young’s legendary ‘lost’ album
Interviews over the phone can be tricky, but these days we have little other choice. We rely on networks and signals, digital barriers that can cut through insight in an instant. We rely also on tone of voice, risking asking the wrong question, with no body language to aid us in reading one other.
But if we’re lucky, sometimes phone interviews allow a bridge between our spaces – bedroom windows in Dublin, attics in Ardnacrusha...