Traditional Irish Music
In the words of Gino Lupari of the much travelled Four Men and a Dog "Irish music is in safe hands with this new and exciting band.” The band is Cúig and Gino states that they are “young musicians that are at the cutting edge of the music. The band are Miceál Mullen (Banjo/Mandolin), Rónán Stewart (Fiddle/ Uilleann pipes), Ruairí Stewart (Guitar), Eoin Murphy (Accordion) and Cathal Murphy (Bodhrán/Drums).
They have a new EP on release and it packs quite a punch with its infectious, upbeat approach to the music. Time will tell if they can bed their sound down in a manner that reflects the energy that is coming off this EP. If so the raw potential is there. They have been busy throughout 2014 with lots of stage time being accumulated in support to other acts as well as taking centre stage themselves.
They achieve a rather big sound with their music and when we spoke to the band recently they said “the sound is something we toyed with for quite a while. When we brought in the drums for the first time we completely fell in love with the sound and the overall rock and roll vibe that came with it.” This has given their music that extra drive that is central to their live shows. “We love to put on a great live show and we felt strongly that drums would really add to this.”
The first track off the EP is included below and gives a good taste of what is in store. The track includes Tickle her Leg, The Monk and Best of Friends a composition by Siobhan Peoples. They seek more mellow ground on other tracks on the EP including an accordion driven slow reel called The Pleasant Beggar by London banjo player Mick O’ Connor. Three Outta Five comprises a strathspey and two hardy reels. Speed Bumps is another standout track featuring some laid back electric and acoustic guitar work that works its way slowly into a very involved set that is Breton and Galician in origin.
The bands inspiration comes from just about anything they say. Guitarist Ruairí Stewart states that their music has deep roots “within the boundaries of Irish traditional music” adding that “we’re not afraid to take inspiration from Breton, Galician and American Bluegrass styles. With regard to individuals that have inspired them he says that “there is no real central figure but rather a multitude of them ranging from the likes of Dermot Byrne, Cillian Vallely, Jim Goodwin, Cathal Hayden” and many more both locally as well as internationally.
This world view of music is becoming a recurring feature within traditional music as artists find the balance between their respect for their traditional roots and at the same time exploring new sounds and recording techniques. Social media and the immediate access that is now available to a world of music contributes to this. Some are fearful of it and others, especially young energetic musicians like Cúig have grown up with it and accept it as their reality.
“Social media is fantastic for promoting music!” they state. “On social media you have an almost limitless reach to people with whom you can share your music, via Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud etc. It has given a lot of really talented musicians out there an audience and a following that they might not have had without social media. The ability to see how people perceive your music is also particularly helpful on social media through ‘likes’ on Facebook and other such methods of communicating praise.”
At the end of the day it comes down to the quality of the music and on the basis of this EP Cúig offer an exciting new prospect.
Their website will be live later this month and the EP can be downloaded from there. In the meantime check out their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Cuigmusic
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