Friday, 29 August 2014

Steve Earle at Derry's Millenium Theatre!

I've certainly heard of Steve Earle and know that he wrote the popular songs 'Galway Girl' and 'Copperhead Road'. But I didn't know much more about him. I knew what he looked like and yet I knew very little else. When I heard he was playing in Derry this summer, I knew I must see him. So when my sister gave me two tickets to his gig last week for my birthday I was well sorted!
Last night my sis and I set off for the long trip (3 miles) into Derry and our first Steve Earle gig. Instinct told us it would be good. Instinct could never have prepared us for just how good!
At 8.45pm Earle came onto the Derry stage. For almost two hours I was in awe of this hugely talented singer/songwriter. One man and his guitar, harmonica and mandolin was enough to fill this Derry stage. His music just kept on flowing. Songs such as 'Copperhead Road', 'Jerusalem', 'Train a Comin'', 'Galway Girl' and many more had the audience constantly wanting to hear more. But it wasn't just the music that had me captivated. It was Earle's storytelling that won the show for me. I was so impressed that before I entered the theatre I knew very little about Steve Earle, and yet I left feeling I'd just met a new friend. He became someone I want to meet and talk to about his life (and I will). He quite simply brought us on a personal journey with him.....his growing up, his marriages, his divorces (there's been many) and his jail term, his heroin addiction and most importantly, his music and his survival!
This multi talented chap engaged with the Derry audience throughout the night and it felt like we were sitting in the parlour listening and chatting to him. Such was the intimacy of the night. Such was the intimacy of Steve Earle!
Earle spoke a lot about his idol and friend Townes Van Zandt. He also spoke about David Broza and sang 'Jerusalem' in memory of all that is currently happening at present in Israel. His knowledge is enthralling and his storytelling mesmerizing.  I wanted to know more, but the night had to end.
Steve Earle left a lasting impression on myself and many others last night. So much so that I now want to hear him again and speak with him. It may not be in the near future but I hope it will be so!

Village ladies keep getting fitter!

The village ladies are continuing with their 'fit camp' and have surpassed one of their expectations in the last week! A number of the gals completed their first 10k. It was all in the name of charity but the accomplishment was very personal on many levels. This fit camp is fun but it's serious at the end of the day. All the gals are trying to achieve a level of fitness that they can sustain. However on beginning this challenge none of them had ever contemplated running at all, never mind completing a 10k. So well done 'us'!
Mia is encouraging, pushing and ever motivating her ladies and it appears to be working. And now that the new vests have arrived there'll be NO stopping them.
Mind you if a marathon is on their minds, they proved on Sunday night that they sure can stand the pace....mind you the pace of downing drinks from a jug and into the wee hours might not be comparable to the pace of running for 26 miles....but one never knows! There's a few thran ladies in the bunch and no challenge is too big sometimes!!
The challenge of the ever popular 'ice bucket' was rampant among the fit campers this week. Most of the girls took a soaking of one kind or another during the week. Another couple decided to invent or create their own take on it earlier today...and enjoyed an 'ice bucket breakfast' of bucks fizz on ice....a nice 'dry' take on the challenge. Money was raised and that's the important part!
Yoga ended another week of 'fit camp' and the ladies are indeed almost perfecting the 'downward dog' pose...well a wee rest when Bendy Aunty Fran turns the head! But near perfection is good enough at this stage.
So as the ladies continue the fitness, and the ice bucket is sweeping the village, whatever will be next for the Muff fitness wonders!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Nik Kershaw comes to Donegal!

As a teenager growing up in the 80's I like every other young girl had my 'first love', my 'first crush'. And I still remember him very well. His name was Nik Kershaw. I went to bed every night with his smile watching over me, and woke up every morning with him next to me! Yes, my bedroom was a collection of Nik Kershaw posters! My mother was non too impressed!
Although a huge fan for many years, I never got to see him on stage. So when I learned just a few weeks ago that he was coming to Donegal I had to clear the diary, and catch up for all those lost years. And so it is now just one week away!
Nik Kershaw is playing An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny on Thusday September 4th at 8pm.
The show is part of Kershaw's tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first chart success. Letterkenny is one of only four Irish venues that he will be performing at. The Me, Myself, I Tour will feature Nik Kershaw performing songs, telling stories from his hugely impressive career as well as taking questions from the audience.
This will certainly be a rare, intimate and authentic evening with one of the '80's most popular pop icons. And it's all happening right here in the North West of Ireland in Letterkenny.
For more information on the event and tickets, see An Grianan Theatre for more details.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Foyle Pride Festival Parade 2014!

Foyle Pride Festival parade 2014 (now in its 21st year)  left the Waterside railway station earlier today and made its way through the city to the Guildhall Square. The parade is the highlight of the festival which celebrates the lives and loves of the LGBT community in the area.
It helps to promote inclusion and respect and highlights the cultural mix in Derry. The parade is a celebration of equality, tolerance and diversity.
Today as the parade came along the Derry streets, thousands of people welcomed them and cheered. As the Pride flag was carried along, the city became alive with colour. The city was not only colourful, but filled with character and had a real carnival atmosphere all afternoon and evening. It was a real family affair and a delight to be a part of. Young and old came together to celebrate Foyle Pride 2014.
Shá Gillespie, chairperson of the Foyle Pride committee, said: 'Foyle Pride promotes understanding and respect for diversity, it provides a diverse programme of quality entertainment and creativity with mass appeal actively enhancing Derry's reputation as an enjoyable welcoming and safe place'.
If today was anything to go by, this promotion was served ten fold! It showed what an amazing city Derry really is and what amazing people are within it!

A selection of photos from Foyle Pride Festival 2014 are in an album on the 'North West Culture' facebook page! Do go and 'like' and 'share' the page!

Foyle Pride in Derry 2014!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Village ladies week 2 of 'Fit Camp'!

The village ladies are going strong and just completed their second week of fit camp. These gals, both young and not so young (myself being in the body not in mind!!) are struggling through and surprising themselves as each day goes by.
The week started off with 'Insanity' on Monday morning. A group of 16 gals going insane on the village all-weather pitch at 6.15am on a Monday is a sight for sore eyes...but there's more than sore eyes at the end of that crazy hour!
On Wednesday they partook in an hour of 'bums and tums'! That sounded fine until the 'dog pee stance' started pulsing and the frog jumps started croaking (the joints that was not the throats!). As for kicking those heels in the air, we thought about kicking a certain Mia instead. But again the gals all fought the pain and looked forward to the relaxing yoga on Friday!
Today was that alleged relaxing Yoga time! Yeah right. Bendy Aunty Fran can be all meek and mild in appearance but then it all starts. The shoulders are pulled back (dislocated more like), the backs are straightened (ouch) and then the flesh is pushed away from the buttocks (if only it would stay away). And we're posing and stretching and flipping well retching! Relaxing is just a distant memory.
But against the odds we, the village ladies, are indeed learning fast that we 'won't get the butt we want by sitting on the one we have'. So as Mia continues to say, 'it's good pain' we'll continue with this exercise on these mornings before our brains can ever work out what we're doing! It's working so far, so here's to the next 5 weeks of this crazy world of fit camp!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Save the streets of Portobello!

Whilst visiting Dublin last weekend I noticed something on my arrival in the beautiful leafy suburb of Portobello which took my breath away! Not in a good way! Being from this small village in the North West of Ireland I always treasure my trips to the Fair City! And this one was no exception. Normally I stay in the city centre on these visits but this time I was staying with a friend in Portobello. I have always loved this part of Dublin. It has such character and remains green and unspoilt. It has many independent restaurants and coffee houses, bars and shops, which I always find attractive and inviting.
As I walked along Kingsland Parade I noticed a number of signs on peoples windows saying 'Talk to your neighbour'. What a lovely gesture I thought for such a busy city suburb! Then as I ventured further along the street I noticed a poster showcasing the proposed new Jewish museum that was planned for the street. It looked so wrong! This beautiful quaint street with so much history and character would be spoiled if this were carried through. The proposed building seemed to me to be a contemporary monstrosity in this beautiful preserved street! So I asked around what was happening!
I learned the following: For generations Portobello was the heart of Dublin's Jewish community and known as 'Little Jerusalem'. This suburb is the home of the Irish Jewish Museum and Ireland's oldest synagogue; but now local residents are annoyed and angered that the group of trustees in charge of the museum want to demolish the existing building to make way for a new museum. The said museum was founded and curated by Raphael Siev for 25 years until his death in 2009. The museum is located in two adjoining Victorian houses and Ireland's oldest synagogue is located upstairs of the property. The proposed plan is to knock down these two buildings alongside three more terraced houses to allow room for a new museum that is six times the size of the existing one.
Included in the new development would be a theatre, two storeys deep, and to be excavated underground. A copy of the old facade would be set up. A large new zinc block building would be set in the old back yards. There would also be a restaurant, six toilets and a shop. The end result would be 600% larger than the existing museum!
As a visitor I have absolutely NO say in what happens in this area. But as an Irish citizen who loves our capital city I think it's dreadful that such a move can be allowed to happen. My take on the situation was only heightened when I learned that there is another site nearby which would be much more suitable and convenient for all concerned but the said group of trustees are adamant that the existing premises be developed! Surely something can be done to save this beautiful part of Dublin! And more importantly surely something can be done to ensure the continued harmony of the lives of the long term residents of Portobello and the Jewish community!
On Sunday afternoon I had a beautiful stroll around the Portobello area. Stopping for lunch in a local pub (and delicious it was too). The sun was shining and it was just divine to be walking along these streets of the leafy Dublin suburb. Again as I re-entered Kingsland Parade it saddened me to think that next time I visit the area, a great big zinc monstrosity will await me. Surely someone can reason with the trustees and allow the area to remain unscathed and stay with its current pretty picturesque appearance.
The world is a better place because we are all different and have all our own beliefs. But the world would be a better place still if we could continue to appreciate the beauty that we already have and allow it to remain. There's always the right time and the right place for development. Surely the right place can be found for this new museum and allow the present site to remain intact!

Local broadcaster Gerry Anderson dies!

I can call him 'local' because I would often meet Gerry walking through Muff village or around Culmore Point. He always had a bright 'hello' for you and a smile on his face! So he was indeed a local man and always made himself 'one of us'! But Gerry was never 'one of us'...Gerry was a man in a league of his own.
Gerry Anderson was broadcasting for 30 years. He'll be fondly remembered for his time on the Northern Ireland radio stations, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle. Tributes are being paid since early this morning on social media and everyone is devastated at the loss of the great broadcaster. Local man Mark Burns has said on his facebook: 'It seems like the whole place is just heart sore today. And we'll never hear the likes of this live on radio again'. He has added a link of Gerry on radio. How true his words are. These are just echoing what everyone else is saying and thinking throughout this sad day.
Mark Patterson from Radio Foyle has said: 'All of us are a bit numb in here today. We are all too aware that this brilliant, intelligent, mischievous, funny, irreverent man meant the world to thousands and thousands of people here and far beyond. A brilliant writer and essayist...and the finest broadcaster any of us will ever know.'
Gerry did indeed entertain many people and he will be missed by all of them and more. Our airwaves will never be the same. But how fortunate are we to have had such immense talent on those airwaves for so many years.
And we are also fortunate to have lived among such a larger than life person. Gerry lit up a room when he entered. If it wasn't his smile, then it was his quirky attire. Gerry was hugely talented on air, but he was also talented for what he was wearing.
One of my last memories of meeting Gerry was at our local shop, Spar, in Muff village. There I said 'hi' to him as he was leaving the shop and I was entering. Gerry said 'hello' and sauntered out. I turned my head to look after him....there he was, a man of 60+ in his skinny jeans and open laced ankle boots. I just thought 'whao, one cool guy'! And I guess that's how I'll remember him, 'One Cool Guy'! Rest in Peace Gerry. The airwaves above are truly blessed today!
Thoughts and prayers are with Gerry's family at this time.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

10K Fun Run/Walk in Muff!

This coming Sunday, August 24th sees the annual fun run/walk in memory of a young local man, Maurice McMenamin, take place. The run/walk will raise funds for The Meningitis Research Foundation and also for Aoibheann's Pink Tie. The local community never fails to amaze in times of need. And this coming Sunday will be no exception.
Registration will begin from 2pm at The Carmans Inn and the fun will start from there. Bring a friend or three and help raise much needed funds for these charities. The afternoon will definitely be a fun one and there will no doubt be a little madness thrown in.
Sometimes little villages in the North West of Ireland tend to be forgotten about in the bigger scale of the country. However these villages never forget each other and certainly never forget their loved ones who have left this world too early.
The day will also be assisting a young girl in our village who is currently undergoing treatment for
leukaemia . Aoibheann's Pink Tie does amazing work for children with cancer.
So this coming Sunday will be an opportunity to help children with cancer and for us all to smile and remember young Maurice. It is a great opportunity for everyone to help raise funds for The Meningitis Research Foundation and Aoibheann's Pink Tie. Come along and enjoy the fun!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chai Yo Teppanyaki: Restaurant review!

 I was visiting the Fair City last Saturday for 24 hours for the occasion of the hen night of my sister-in-law to be! As an avid lover of Dublin, any excuse and I'm there like a shot. So this was not only an important occasion, it was one I looked forward to immensely. And knowing that I was going to be dining with a difference made the trip intriguing.
On arrival to the Fair City on Saturday afternoon I was met by a dear friend and a coffee date was had. Having then sipped a glass of vino whilst getting ready to hit the town, it was off to Chai Yo on Lower Baggot Street, we did go!
I was immediately drawn to the stone washed walls on the interior as we entered the restaurant. They added such character to what was clearly a very warm and inviting environment. This complimented with the dark furniture created a real ambience of serenity within. The staff immediately saw us to our table and the large group of ladies that awaited. I was initially unsure how this evening was going to pan out...the chef was preparing to cook in front of us, just two feet away. When he poured wine on the hot plate and set it alight, I was startled and then laughed alongside everyone else.
And then when the cooking got underway and food games ensued, a night with a difference was clearly on the cards! Had someone told me about all this, I would have imagined it to be childish, but this was elegance and class at an entirely different level. It was fun, it was entertaining and it was indeed fine dining.
As each course got underway, one didn't notice just how much we were eating. The food kept on coming and the fun kept on going. The chef never wavered from entertaining as he continued to cook. After approximately 3 hours we were finished our dining.
And it was only then that I thought about the amount of food consumed! Had everything been put on one plate, we could never have imagined embarking on the eating of such. But as it was served in stages and yet we seemed to be eating at all times, there was never an overload of food.
By the end of the night we had certainly more than enough to eat but one didn't feel bloated or as having over indulged. But I know I certainly ate more that night than I've ever eaten on a night out before.
The chefs here were simply fantastic. Clean, fast and entertaining, they never forgot that we the guests were there. After eating, a cast of three musicians came along and entertained for a short while. They sang popular songs but with their own authentic twist to the music. It all complimented the food and dining experience.
Chai Yo was not overly expensive. When all considered it was in fact exceptionally reasonable. It's a dining experience with a difference and one that I look forward to experiencing again. Not only is this a feast for the palate, but also a feast for the eye!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Week 1 of Ladies 'Fit Camp'!

Well the group of ladies who embarked on the most recent fit camp with Mia Fun Fitness have just completed the first of 7 weeks. And what a week it's been. From the onset of the fitness test on Monday morning at 6.15am to Yoga earlier today with Bendy Aunty Fran, there were many highs and just a few lows. Well lows when you consider the 'frog jumping' and 'dog pee' stances!!! One does need to go quite low for such!
And there was the high's of burpees, basketball jumps, yoga stretches and more! There's just no end to what one must do in one of these hour long sessions. Sometimes you wish the time away and others you just swear at Mia! But when that hour is done, somehow normality resumes and the body feels good!
The 'dreaded' warm-up on a daily basis leaves nothing to the imagination. One's body is in such outrageous positions and the sweat is a rolling that it's just as well we are well hidden from public viewing. Mia shouts, 'good pain' and somehow one just can't believe her, but then when it's done, we're inclined to forget her torture!
Good pain or not, the week is complete and we are all still intact. A bit achy in places we didn't know existed, sore muscles we didn't know we had, but sheer relief that the weekend is upon us and we have two free days. So girls take my advice and enjoy. 'Cos Monday morning is just around the corner!!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Magnet Bar and Restaurant!

The Magnet Bar  is situated on the Culmore Road, just outside Derry City and just a short distance from the village of Muff. The bar was recently taken over by the Bentley Bar in Derry. It now offers a wide range of food and drinks in a very comfortable surrounding.
I've visited quite a few times lately, both for lunch and dinner, and each visit has only encouraged me to come back for more.
The standard of food is extremely good and the price is exceptional good value. Some people consider is cheap and cheerful, which is certainly is but it also has a really good quality feel to it all. The restaurant is a quiet haven and spacious. Mind you it was everything but quiet during the recent World Cup!
It is primarily a sports bar, but it is somewhere you can go with family or friends, and enjoy a very good quality meal.
Yesterday I tried the Chicken Caesar Salad with salt and chilli chips. It was simply delicious. And I even had enough left over to take home for tea!
The bar also possesses a good range of wines at a price to suit everyone. This establishment is definitely worth a visit!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Fit Ladies in a North West village!

Fitness is all the rage in the modern world. And the small village of Muff in Co. Donegal is no exception. A group of ladies attend a regular 'fit camp' in the village and a few months ago I decided to sign up and see if I could get fit at '40+'! I proved successful! Well I believe I did so as I'm currently in training for a 10k run in just over one weeks time and earlier this week I signed up to yet another 7 week 'fit camp'! I must be mad! Some believe it's a mid-life crisis. But I believe I've not yet hit my 'mid-life' just yet!!
So the said group of ladies are all part of Mia's Fun Fitness gang. Mia is the instructor and keeps us on our toes...or heels, or in the plank position, or the frog position etc etc....
Three mornings a week, we crazy gals meet at 6.15am and the fun begins. The dreaded warm up gets us set up for the hour ahead. As one new lady mentioned this morning, 'is this seriously just the warm up'. Such is the intensity from the beginning! Following that it can be a session of 'insanity' like today, or the fitness test, the hill sprints, the boxercise, the circuits or the many other crazy classes Mia lines up for us. Then on a Friday morning we have our Yoga with 'Bendy Aunty Fran'. Fran has tried to pull my wee bones apart (or so I thought in the beginning) but is in fact helping my body to stretch and indeed tone. Between crazy Mia and Bendy Fran, the ladies in our wee village are certainly shaping up to compete with the big bad world of fitness. We gals are no ordinary village ladies...we're Mia's mad gang!
Although we have many laughs, and indeed many pains, the experience is showing each of us how we really can get in shape and turn our lives around.
North West Culture might just follow these gals over the coming weeks and see just how far the fitness levels can develop in 7 short weeks. And also prove that a group of non-runners can very quickly become a group of runners and successfully complete 10k!
Here's looking at you gals!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Robin Williams RIP

How very sad was it today for the entire world waking up to the devastating news of the death of Robin Williams. Dreadfully so. Not only was Williams well known for his acting expertise but he was also a comedian, a father, a husband, and perhaps most importantly a sufferer of depression!

Robin Williams, like many people the world over, suffered from the taboo illness Depression. Depression is an illness which many people live with in silence.  Mental Health remains one of the least understood areas of contemporary medicine. It's hard to understand how an outwardly happy man like Robin Williams could be living with such a struggle. The actor was loved by people all over the world and yet he was very much alone. His death was no doubt the result of a daily battle with depression which he shared with millions of people.

Robins was a happy presence, had a vivacious personality, and yet he suffered with this debilitating mental illness. The illness which he fought with for so long and in the end 'it' won!
One of the most heart-warming tributes I read today must surely be the piece below from Jason Manford.

As a lover of the English language and literature my favourite movie of Robin Williams will always be 'Dead Poet's Society'. 

'Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

Rest well Robin, the world will miss you. '

Saturday, 9 August 2014

MOSS BROS. at Austins, Derry!

It's not always the easiest thing to go shopping for a young man's suit. And certainly not when the young man in question has firm ideas about the exact colour and tailoring of the suit he wants. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but never expected it to be quite so difficult.
Yesterday we embarked on the journey around Derry and all it's menswear shops. One look at a particular 'blue' suit and it's 'too dark'. Another shop, 'the blue isn't nice'. And then, 'there's too much stitching in that'. There was even, 'no point in taking that off the hanger, I don't like the colour'. There were plenty of suits but just not the right one.
So I decided to call it a day and head for food. Whilst walking towards Bishop street and our regular haunt I suggested we pop into Austins Department Store of the way past. To which the reply came, 'I don't like Austins'! So I told the said 16 year old, 'we're going in to have a look'. And that was possibly the best thing I said to him all day! We went in through the front doors and straight ahead was As soon as we entered Moss Bros the 16 year old was immediately drawn to a very blue suit hanging above! It came off the hanger and it was announced that 'this is the suit I want'. I was just a tad relieved. Then I saw the price tag. Yikes. But after all the trekking around I decided we'd seriously consider this purchase if after trying on, it was still a success.
It was then that a young gentleman assistant came along and offered his services. There was no pressure just encouragement and comment. It turned out the said suit was even on an extremely good price. So the suit was tried on, and it was decided that it was indeed being bought. So then it was enquiries about a bow tie and braces. To which the exact requirement was in store. The young gentleman then suggested we look at a white shirt which was also on sale. And then the 'silk hankie' was thrown in for free!
The entire outfit was purchased within half an hour. That was after a day's trooping around every mans shop in Derry to no avail.
The service we received in was second to none. That young man was the perfect salesman. We shall definitely return.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Muff Festival 2014 shone through the rain!

Last weekend saw the annual Muff Festival 2014 take place once more. It may have been wet and very blustery at times, but the festival spirit in Muff never wavered. People came along in their wellies and their rain coats. Kids played in the puddles. And most importantly lots of fun and frolics was had.
From the opening parade on Friday night, to the closing songs at 2am on Monday night/Tuesday morning, it was a weekend to remember.
Saturday saw a lot of rain fall and many thought that Sunday would be a no-go. But as ever the people of Muff surpassed themselves. They came out and they enjoyed. The kids raced and played. Cullens amusements were in full swing by Sunday afternoon. Street performers and Mickey Mouse were mingling with all!
The Red Cross from the area were spreading a very powerful message throughout the weekend and most especially on the Sunday. It simply said 'Don't be a bully, Be a Friend!'

The organisers of this festival have worked throughout the entire year as always to bring the weekend together. Keep up this great work folks. It's very much appreciated by all in the area and further afield.
As always we all have our own highlights from a weekend like this. And mine was the following!

For me this was being awakened to the musical talent that is ever present in Muff village. On Friday night Route ’66 played at the Festival Queen dance. They brought young and old under the one roof. They entertained into the wee hours. Liam Atcheson, from the village, fronts this group with his vocals. Anything can be sung by this man (however Liam, do pass on that dreaded bloody Wagonwheel!!). Golly G and Mickey B played over the weekend. These guys are brilliant musically, vocally and just born entertainers. Ghosts Legs played on the Saturday night and at last the village has some real new talent. These guys are simply great. Luke McLaughlin (adopted by Muff) gave an amazing performance on Saturday night. Milk Thistle play in the village every weekend and again, great musical talent. And then there is the talent hidden among the crowds. Those like Natalie, Dunn, Francie, the mischievous Decky Reid, Big Billy and his son, and so many more. If a music festival could be held in Muff, there’d be no need to bring in from the outer area. Muff has in all right in the village.
So it’s all over for another year, but 2015 is just around the corner….we’ll be waiting!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mary Black to play McGettigans Letterkenny, Sat. 9th Aug!

McGettigan's Promotions, Letterkenny, presents Mary Black for one night only this coming Saturday night, 9th August 2014! The show venue is the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny and will commence at 8pm. Support on the night will be provided by Roísín O!
For the last quarter-century, Mary Black has been a dominant presence in Irish music, both at home and abroad. She has regularly shared stages, tv shows and recording studios with some of the most revered performers of her time. She has also played a frontline role in bringing Irish music, past and present, to an increasingly appreciative and ever-growing global audience. She has been described by The San Francisco Chronicle as 'One of the best interpretative singers around'.
Tickets for the night are prices at €25 and are available from McGettigans and The Clanree Hotel, or call the ticket hotline on 074 9124369.
This is a gig not to be missed!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Luke McLaughlin impresses Inishowen audiences over the Bank Holiday!

I had heard this young guy playing last year. I've seen him gigging from time to time in Derry. So I knew we were going to be in for a real treat on Saturday night when I heard he was playing in The Squealing Pig bar in Muff. The Muff Festival 2014 was well and truly underway, so this was going to be yet another bonus of the weekend. And I wasn't wrong!
Luke McLaughlin from Derry (although has close ties in Muff) was the young man in question. He embarked upon a set which included The Beatles classics, Bruce Springsteen, Oasis and many more. I'd heard this young man last year and was well impressed with him. But on Saturday night there was a mature young man singing. A definitely developed musician over the past year. This chap has a voice that will turn heads, a look that will turn heads, and a personality to match both. Down to earth, friendly, exceptionally talented, this guy is someone to watch!
Currently playing with his band, The Turning, and based in London, Luke travels all over the UK, Europe and Ireland. When home in Derry, he always gigs in the area. Muff was fortunate to experience him this past weekend.
Last night Luke was part of the Moville Beatles Fest 2014. He played in the Redcastle Hotel bar to an audience of Beatles Fans. Unfortunately I was unable to make the gig, but the festival organiser told me that 'He was brilliant. A good musician and a good singer. Tony Bramwell watches some songs when people are playing but he watched every song of Luke’s very intently. I was hoping my taxi driver wouldn’t be able to find me for a while.' Bramwell was clearly impressed with our young Luke (Yes, we in Muff are adopting him as one of ours!)
Today I caught up with Luke and was keen to see what his perception was of last night's gig at The Beatles Fest. He tells me 'The Audience at the Beatles fest were great, they seemed to really enjoy set, and really interacted which was great, I'd definitely play again if I was asked!!'
I thought that maybe 'The Turning' would be a great act to possibly come aboard for the festival next year in Moville. Luke agrees. 'Without a doubt, I would love to see The Turning asked to play next year at the festival, I think people could really enjoy a full band of 17/18 year olds enjoying and playing the type of music they love!'
Although Luke is clearly confident and competent as a solo artist I wondered which he preferred...solo or within the band: 'they're two very different feelings. I enjoy one as much as the other. Playing on your own when all eyes are on you is great and people really clue in. But there's nothing better than just making a huge racket with a band!'
The Turning are going to be playing in Derry later this month. They will be Headlining The Gay Pride festival in the Guildhall square on the 23rd of August, then again in Sandinos on the 24th in the back bar!! Be sure and go along if in the vicinity. This is one group worth checking out. And you can't be disappointed with the vocals of  Luke McLaughlin!