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Sun 27th Mar 2022

Whelan’s Main Venue

Remembering to be grateful. “It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to find anything. It’s the searching that counts”. Rónán Ó Snodaigh recounts a valuable lesson learned in pandemic lockdown. “Gratefulness doesn’t just make you happy — it creates a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.” It was in the soil of this powerful sentiment that ‘Tá Go Maith’, a collection of new solo works, began to propagate.

In a spur of the moment decision informed by another valuable lesson learned in lockdown, that isolation and a generosity of time can do much to fuel the creative mind, Rónán Ó Snodaigh and Myles O’Reilly filled a car with musical instruments and decamped to a remote cottage in Maynooth. Bringing with him a canon of new lyrics, inspired by deep and new found connections with time, place, family, friends and… gratitude, Rónán found a nest in O’Reilly’s minimal ambient textures, to lay some musical ideas. In the ethereal sound grown to characterise Myles ambient music moniker [Indistinct Chatter], songs were hatched.

Surrounded by thick forest and overlooking a lake, in Shell Cottage the fire was always lit and the stew pot never empty. Music was a constant. Regular trips to forage for more wild garlic and wood for the fire became a welcome interlude. Each morning a song would begin with Rónán accompanied by guitar. All day and into the night the air would then fill with pace and atmosphere. The pair would take it in turns to play instruments and invent parts, dressing the bare bones of each song with heartbeat, horizon, sunset and stars. Cyclical. Celestial. Each night, listening back from the hearth of a large inglenook presided over by giant antlers from a long extinct Irish Stag, there was a feeling that time held no dominion over Shell Cottage. Ancient, pure and uninterrupted was the well source of inspiration they had access to there. Every sleep was another opportunity to dream the next passage, and each morning arrived with the excitement and anticipation of more discovery, and invention.

The resulting album ‘Tá Go Maith’ is a perfect companion with which to practice Tia Chi. It has that inner poise, depth and controlled meditation, as well as soundtracking a gentle spirituality. O’Reilly has a talent for mining lush, organic sounds from synthetic tools, and his Moog leaves only faint traces of its electric imprint on O’Snodaigh’s mellow acoustic example. A pastoral plain of percussive guitars, zithers, strings, horns, spectral electronics and perfectly timed Bodhran. The atmosphere is both inviting and engaging, and startlingly vivid. It’s difficult to argue that Tá Go Maith is among the Kíla frontman’s most ‘traditional Irish’ solo albums but it could easily be your favourite, because its allure is so simple and pure. Rónán’s Gaelic lyrics and satin voice gently rip through the air like a soft breeze. Song after song has a powerful cumulative effect. You can sense the atmosphere of the woods outside Shell Cottage, and it feels inescapably like you too are there. The trip is beautifully completed, where day breaks at last. Birds twitter, waking up with everything else, and the tape hiss really does seem to brighten. There’s a total sense of calm, renewal, a journey completed, knowledge refreshed. Normal time resumes, and for the two long time friends, it’s time to get to work again.


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€17 available online from Whelan’s.

– 50c per ticket service charge applies on all bookings. Final ticket price may be higher from other outlets.

Strictly over 18′s, I.D. may be required.