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Single Review / Essay: Daithi – Falling For You (feat. Sinead White)

 
By on Friday, 4th November 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s a month now since I last touched down at Dublin Airport, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my trip. America may be a proud nation, but its pride is nothing compared to Ireland’s. Think about the number of times they’ve been invaded and been under someone else’s thumb. And yet they’ve still managed to come out on the other side, holding steadfast to their culture and traditions. How did this happen? Plenty of stewards dedicated to preserving their way of life, the history, even the landscape. You might think that those folk are now few in number and dwindling, aged, but in fact, there are plenty of young people ready to take on the baton and continue their hard work. Daithi, from County Clare in the West of Ireland and staunchly proud of where he is from, is one of them. And he’s decided to go about this in his own unique way through music.

I was lucky enough to be invited along for an outdoor sound-mining expedition the Irish singer/songwriter/producer undertook on a typical autumn day in Ireland. That is, driving past a major sheep farmers’ auction and through windy gales and at times lashing rain, making for a somewhat treacherous but altogether highly memorable experience I will never forget. Along the now famously named Wild Atlantic Way up and down the west coast of Ireland – arguably Ireland’s greatest advertising campaign yet to introduce the world to the splendour of their little, green island – Daithi was eager to collect the sounds of the land he loves. The surf, the pooling and running of water, the wind: these are the evidence of nature’s beautiful fury he committed to tape.

As I mentioned in my review of his Canadian Music Week 2016 show in May at the Rivoli, it is a stretch initially to consider in your mind mixing electronic beats with a fiddle. However, Daithi does it with such finesse, and the same finesse can describe what he’s doing with these recordings so lovingly collected in the field. He is releasing a new EP next March, ‘Holiday Home’, and he’s decided to preview the EP with a single. ‘Falling For You’ was recorded in various cottages in the West Country he rented, so there’s a literal connection between this song and the name of the EP. By living alone and away from most direct everything else, the experience allowed him full immersion into and be inspired directly by his environment.

On vocals is his longtime collaborator Sinead White, whose voice can be heard on the exemplary ‘Love’s on Top’ and ‘April’. This summer, she appeared with him at Irish festivals, and judging from the rapturous response from audiences, theirs is a match made in heaven. Her vocals, which complement the at times grand, at times bouncy instrumentation, were recorded on Valentia Island, off the coast of County Kerry in the southwest part of Ireland. If you’ve read any Greek mythology, you will feel like she’s on a craggy rock off the coast, emoting her siren song out to sea. Sounds from the ocean at Inch Beach in Cork and the gentle tones of a chime that he happened to come across in one of his rented houses on Achill Island in County Mayo are truly distinctive touches he’s placed on this track. Electronic producers are notoriously known for their attention to detail, and Daithi is no exception. Instead of hitting you over the head with these samples, they’ve been layered on to add to and heighten the mood.

The overall effect of ‘Falling For You’ is awe-inspiring, and its accompanying video by Feel Good Lost shows the many faces of Western Ireland. The song sounds nothing like you’ve heard before. While most dance floor bangers have the intention of transporting you to a night out during which you may or may not have made some questionable life decisions, this one’s different. The raw beauty of his homeland, put together with the emotional beauty of elicited from a thing called love, makes for a very special track you won’t soon forget.

9/10

‘Falling For You’ featuring Sinead White, Daithi’s newest single, is out now. It’s the lead single on his ‘Holiday Home’ EP, which is due out in March 2017. For more of my coverage on Daithi on TGTF, follow this link.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwstlsh_0CM[/youtube]

 

CMW 2016: electropop at Studio Bar and more from the Music from Ireland showcase at Rivoli Thursday – 5th May 2016

 
By on Tuesday, 24th May 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

So that I would not miss one of my must-see bands a good 20-minute walk away, I left the Music from Ireland showcase at the Rivoli before Dublin grunge act Fangclub settled onstage. From what I heard from other punters, they went down a treat, so Carrie and I will need to investigate them further at some point. Walking up Spadina Avenue, then west on Dundas Street, I returned to the Studio Bar, where I’d interviewed Llanelli, Wales group Cut Ribbons earlier before dinner.

Featurette CMW 2016 Studio Bar Thursday

I understood The Studio Bar’s lineup for the evening to be entirely electronic, or at least electropop / synthpop based. So it was no surprised to see electronics at the ready when I arrived and local Toronto duo Featurette were performing. They weren’t that bad, per se, but having seen my fair share of mediocre electronic acts at festivals all over the world, it was hard to be impressed. Further dampening any enthusiasm I may have had about them was singer Lexie Jay singing (er, shouting) into a megaphone a song that I’m guessing was by Drake (?), complete with lyrics that can’t be repeated on a family Web site. I give them credit for giving it their all to a handful of onlookers, but not much else.

Cut Ribbons CMW 2016 Studio Bar Thursday

Cut Ribbons, whose debut album ‘We Want to Watch Something We Loved Burn’ was among my top 5 albums of last year. After some warm-up shows in Guelph and an invigorating visit to Niagara Falls that very morning, they were raring to go, eager to show off new material they’ve been working on at home. While I enjoyed them as much as I did seeing them on the Horizons / Gorwelions stage at the Great Escape 2015, I wish there would have been more punters seeing them that night. That would be one of the cons of Canadian Music Festival: if you’re not hyped enough going out to Toronto, and you find yourself at one of the further out venues, you might not get a great turnout. However, professionals as they are, they put on a great show and I’m really looking forward to hearing their newest music – their new acoustic-based music! – when they make it available to the public. For now, check out a live session track of ‘Helen of Troy’ they shared 2 months ago.

Walking back to the Rivoli with much purpose, I was all about making sure I made it in time for Daithi, with whom I’d had a great chat with Wednesday afternoon in Toronto. On paper, a traditional Irish fiddler mixing his instrument with disparate genres of electronic, house and math rock shouldn’t work. However, live, it’s an entirely unique, lively performance. It’s my understanding that many of the punters who saw him earlier in the evening at Drake Underground walked quite a distance back east to see him play a longer set at the Rivoli. At 1:30 in the morning thousands of miles away from Ireland, Daithi succeeded in being the centre of attention at a dance party of his own creation.

Daithi CMW 2016 Rivoli Music from Ireland Showcase Thursday

While I have some friends enjoy EDM a whole lot but don’t enjoy watching an electronic master at work, I love the spectacle. Making something off the cuff, from general guidelines the artist has set but otherwise allowed himself to improvise up and away from, and being present while that ephemeral art is being made is an amazing honour in itself. For more on this exciting musical alchemist, have a listen to my chat with him in Toronto here. Want a feel for his music and with a very happy tabletop cat? You’re welcome.

 

CMW 2016 Interview: Daithi

 
By on Friday, 6th May 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Irish musician Daithí (pronounced inexplicably as “DAUGH-hee”) can’t be put in one box musically, and that’s perfectly fine with him. From the west coast of Ireland and the famed city of Galway, it isn’t hard to conjure up Daithí’s backyard as huge tracts of land that are beautifully desolate and emerald green, hearing the roar of the Atlantic Ocean. (If you follow him on Facebook, you will be treated to photos of such scenes that he’s taken himself, such as this one from Monday.) But what kind of music does a storybook town in the West of Ireland inspire?

For Daithí, it isn’t just one type or style of music that moves him. One might think that growing up around family members well versed in traditional Irish music (his grandfather is a keen concertina player) and he himself having the fiddle as the first instrument he ever learned how to play, he’d have just become a trad musician himself and be done with it. Or left for the bright lights of Dublin – or emigrated to Canada, I suppose, as I’ve learned there are MANY Irish people who have done just that! – and never looked back.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0V3v-jc_vQ[/youtube]

In this interview with me Wednesday before his two live performances Thursday night at Canadian Music Week 2016, Daithí explains how he has come to a deeper love and appreciation for his hometown and how important it is to him to keep ties to the city. He also stressed the importance of pushing boundaries with his music and trying new ways to engage the listener, while connecting himself to the art itself through the process of making it (like Stornoway and Glass Animals, he favours a good field recording!). This is a musician who has a lot of say and with his ambition and drive to make music not only enjoyable to listen to but also makes you think, he’s a great example of what makes the new music coming out of Ireland exciting and vital. Have a listen to our chat from CMW below.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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