December 5 2015: Those of you who live in Sligo will most likely have seen me perform in various pubs and hotels with a variety of bands. As well as playing with NoCrows and Anything Goes, lately I’ve been playing quite a bit of jazz and with the arrival of pianist Patrick Gilbert in Sligo and the great Dublin saxophonist Ciaran Wilde also close at hand, I’ve taken the opportunity thanks to the lovely folks at Hargadons, of starting a new residency on Thursday nights. Last week we had a very talented visitor, Boram Lee, sit in for a few tunes with Ciaran and I. Boram was in Sligo working with my friend Felip Carbonell. She’s a really fine jazz player. Check out her facebook page.
I’ve been performing regularly with Patrick Gilbert in a variety of line ups, including the Jazz Collective, which features my Anything Goes colleague Sinead Conway Kohlmann and her husband Steve Kohlmann on Drums. Every Sunday we play a jazz brunch session from 1:30pm at Sligo’s Riverside Hotel. Come and check it out sometime if you’re in town.
UPDATE, April 2016: Dark Sky Island is heading for 2 million sales! Nice one, Nicky, Enya and Roma! ????????????????????????????????
I’m happy to report I feature as the only guest musician on the latest Enya CD, Dark Sky Island. I had a most enjoyable, if a little surreal, session in Killiney with Enya in August and the CD, her first in 6 years was released last month. I’m so proud and thankful to be the only guest musician on this new release by Ireland’s biggest ever selling solo recording artist. Special thanks to Nicky Ryan for making this happen.
It was great to hook up with Enya, Nicky and Roma after so many years. We had collaborated back in the late 1980’s when I was a member of Those Nervous Animals, who Nicky managed for a period back then. It doesn’t feel like 27 years ago!
January 2015: I have been back on Coney Island again, returning to the lovely artists’ house with my friend and colleague David Lyttle. I co-wrote the Barinthus Suite there with David a couple of years ago, it was an arts council commission from the Hawk’s Well Theatre for that year’s jazz festival and was very inspired by the landscape, the area of Strandhill, Culleenamore and of course Coney Island and Rosses Point. This time we again had fun writing without any constrictions. The highlight was a quirky little song about the Metal Man, a famous Sligo Bay landmark, standing between Coney Island and Rosses Point, which we could see from our window. His story is interesting, he’s been standing out there since before the famine, guiding ships to port.
Coney is a very inspiring place to work. It is near home for me, but yet when the tide is in, you know you are going nowhere and the sense of isolation can be very powerful. I certainly find it works in getting creative juices flowing. I spent two periods of work there with NoCrows, writing and arranging for our last CD, and fell in love with the place. David has a new CD coming out soon, he’s very excited about that, and it has a lot of great collaborations including Joe Lovano and Duke Special. He’s a great guy to work with, immensely talented but extremely humble and a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to our next trip to the island.