Just realised that I have neglected the blog here for ages... New Year resolution is to look in here more often with updates! Looking forward to this most unusual gig with Patrick McCabe in Belfast's Black Box Theatre on Sunday January 25th at 2pm. There are just a few tickets left and it will probably sell out very shortly. If you'd like to come along, there's a link below. Happy New Year to you all! https://cqaf.ticketsolve.com/shows/873524302/events
It's taken a while but we're nearly there!
Colum Sands, "Turn the Corner" (Spring Records SCD1062)
Ten new songs take to the road in this special launch concert at Fiddler's Green International Festival
on Saturday July 27th, 4-6pm,
in the company of special guests.
The album will be available there and should be for sale on the website shop by middle of next week..more details shortly!
So many journeys since the last time I looked in here to write a few words..among the highlights a performance back in April at Clonter Opera, (an amazing venue in rural Cheshire), and a performance with the inspirational Spoken Dance Company for President Michael D. Higgins in Newcastle West.
Sultan, seated on photo left, was hit by a shell in Afghanistan when he was two years old. He has defied adversity to become a dancer with Lisa (left) and Mary (middle) and I had the privilege of singing "Fresh Bread" for their dance, "Getting to Know You" in one of the most moving performances that I've ever been involved in. They are based in Limerick where Sultan studies, I'm looking forward to more gigs together in the times ahead.
Then there were a couple of great festivals in Priddy (near Bristol) and Mission (near Vancouver) where many musicians and festival goers came to the conclusion that 2012 could be remembered as the year of the wellington boot! But fine music and sunshine came through the clouds and there was even time to take a close up look and pic of one very powerful grizzly up in Grouse mountain.
Many more gigs to look forward to as I head out this weekend with Sands Family on nine concert dates to celebrate 40 years on the road. Among the radio interviews to help spread the word, an appearance on RTE's John Murray show (left) and BBC Radio Ulster on Your Place and Mine and with Gerry Kelly. We've already had memorable gigs this summer at Fiddlers Green Festival in Rostrevor and the All Ireland Fleadh in Cavan last weekend. Hoping to see many of you along the way!
Thanks for looking in for the latest news, as you'll see in top pic, I'm finding time to enjoy some fresh air between the showers these days in the garden at home in Rostrevor...if that green gate in the background looks vaguely familiar it's because it's the very same gate which inspired Colum McEvoy's fine painting on my March Ditch album cover. The farmer who owned it (just up the road from where I live) was widening the entrance to his field and, thanks to my good neighbour Liam Baxter, the old gate is now in the garden here at home. Happy to say that after keeping sheep in a field for 100 years or so, the green gate now helps to save the vegetables from our four healthy free range hens who live behind it in what is possibly Europe's most compact farmyard!
Greetings everyone and here's wishing the joys of Spring to you all. Sorry that's it's been a while since I wrote a few words here. There have been some wonderful concerts and people along the road and many thanks to all who came along to the gigs or have been in touch since then
I've just been thinking that, much as I enjoy travelling the world in search of its wonders, sometimes when you take time to sit still and have a look around, the wonders of the world come walking (or hopping!) right up to you. Such thoughts in the garden at home (where I took the photo above) on the last day of February lead to this little offering, a song for the child that is in all of us and a video to say in another way what I started off with here...Welcome to Spring! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbkUNC5VadU
With the sunshine and stages of summer keeping me busy I fear that I have neglected the news page for months but just getting back to it now as August disappears for another year. Many thanks to all of you who have come along to concerts and kept in touch by email or guest book, special thanks to those of you who visited the shop here on the website and cleared the shelves of two of my albums, “Unapproved Road” and “Live”. Not a copy of either left! Apologies for the delay for those of you who have ordered either of these in last few days but new supplies are on the way and the shelves should be replenished with new editions by mid September!
I’m just home after a couple of lovely festivals last weekend. On Saturday I was in the North East for the first Sunderland Folk Festival where it was great to meet up with many friends including Doreen Henderson who inspired the song “From the Darkness of the Mine”. Then Sunday and Monday it was all the way down to Cornwall and the wonderful Wadebridge Folk Festival with music, song and dance filling every corner of the winding streets. I even managed to join Pete Crassby’s All Star Ceili Band in a session that included a rare appearance by the legendary Cornish musician, John the Fish.
Looking ahead and the road leading into September has some gigs that I’m really looking forward to very much. In the early part of this month there are four “sailings” of The Seedboat in Scotland with the superb Scottish Gaelic singer and harper Maggie MacInnes. Because of the salt water between us and our own work in other areas, it’s rare enough that we get the chance to do The Seedboat gig so it’s always special to meet up with Maggie to investigate those bi lingual songs and stories from either side of the sea. As you’ll see on the gigs page, we have concerts in Irvine, Girvan and The Blas Festival in Strontian. Sad to say that the concert planned for The Rothes Halls in Glenrothes has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control.
Back home after that for solo concerts in the atmospheric little theatre in Stephenstown Pond just outside Dundalk in County Louth on September 14th and the equally intimate setting of the Iona Bistro in Holywood County Down on Monday 19th. Check the gigs page for more details of concerts in the weeks and months ahead and it would be great to see you somewhere along the way!
I only arrived in time for the last seven months and five or six days of 1951 but I’m told that it was a momentous year. To be honest, I remember very little of it but that arrival date gives me a special fondness for this month of blossoms and bluebells. I’ve just been out with the camera for a walk among the flowers of May with a grateful glance back down the years and a hopeful look ahead to the promise of summer.
The longer days are drawing me out of a “hibernation” that involved much indoor activity in the recording studio. For the past few months I’ve been working with artistes as diverse as the flowers of Spring, from the great fiddle player and composer Josephine Keegan to New York based band The Screaming Orphans, and, from the local and highly talented Brennan Family to the Bretagne musician Pol Huellou in tandem with the renowned Tunisian poet Tahar Bekri, the latter venture involving Tahar’s work translated into seven different languages. A special word of thanks to Parisa for all her help in the studio in stitching that linguistic cloak of many colours together and here’s wishing safe travels to herself and Kolya on the streets, slopes and salt water around Vancouver!
Before emerging from the studio I completed work on some music for the new Patch Connolly play “Our Ma” which had its world premiere in Armagh earlier this month. The play is set around the Armagh train disaster of 1889 when 88 people, many of them children, lost their lives following an accident that involved an over crowded and under powered train. The play was a great success and connected many people to a very human story. The final song, “The Spirit Lives On” specially written for the show, is one which I hope to include in gigs in the months ahead.
Speaking of which, no shortage of variety there either! See Gigs page for full details but in brief, weekend of 27th to 29th May I’ll be playing solo at three festivals in England, Ireby, Whitby and Chester, Saturday 4th of June in The Marketplace Armagh with The Sands Family, solo at Tredegar Folk Festival in Wales on June 5th and again at Wimbourne Festival on June 11th, then teaming up with the sublime Byrne sisters Claire (uileann pipes) and Ursula (fiddle) for a special County Down Fleadh concert in Warrenpoint on June 18th. Would be great to see you at any of the above, more on News Page later in June and please keep an eye on Gigs which are updated on a regular basis.
In between times I’m looking forward to work on a special BBC Radio Documentary recalling the first Irish LP. Along with producer Owen McFadden I’ll be following in the footsteps of Seamus Ennis and Alan Lomax when they made historic field recordings from Donegal to Cork and we’ll even be meeting up with some of the singers who they recorded back in a year that I mentioned earlier -1951. Ah, that was some year alright!
One last piece of news before I go, German ‘s Deutschlandfunk is broadcasting a Colum Sands special "Liederladen ", catching up on what I’ve been up to since 1951, that goes out May 11th 1.05 early morning German time or 5 past midnight here. Should be available world wide on their website too.
Thanks to you all, enjoy what’s left of May and hopefully see you somewhere along the way soon.
It’s the last week of January and the year ahead is looking good with gigs of all shapes and sizes coming in.
So far there’s been a really enjoyable trip to Sixmilebridge Festival in County Clare where I made the second appearance of my life in a Court House, this time to do a gig.
Tomorrow night it’s closer to home, The Community Centre in Laurencetown County Down, a wonderful spot where storytellers emerge from the shadows of the old converted school house as the night goes on.
In the month ahead there’s a trip to Strib Festival in Denmark, a gig with The Sands Family in Cookstown and then back to home soil for the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival.
As well as covering the miles it’s always great to see how some of the songs I’ve written turn up in all kinds of places and appear in all shapes of cover versions.
Let me steer you towards an amazing recording of “The Night is Young” by the USM Concert Choir in the USA
well worth a look and a listen if you have the time!
Still in the time of year where plans are being made and there’s a bit of time to look at what other artistes are up to…from time to time I’d like to do just that here.
So, if your vision is blurring from looking into screens and your mind is numb at what’s coming out of them, you might like to take a few minutes to hear Wee Wise Words, the story of the world according to some very young children from my part of the world, illustrated, with inspired animation, I think, by a Belgian artist now living in Belfast, Joel Simon
Hope you enjoy having a look!
More gigs going up here all the time, I hope you’ll look in here now and again, and better still, that you might find your way to one of them!
It’s a clear frosty morning on the shores of Rostrevor…the 7th of January.
I hope you have all waltzed the Christmas tree out of the house for another year without feeling like you’ve been attacked by a giant green porcupine in the process.
Yesterday was the 6th of January, or Old Christmas Day as it’s called, when we nod in the direction of other times and other calendars. Whichever calendar you’re going by, Happy New Year and welcome to the work in progress of this new website.
Rambling through the debris of this early version, I appreciate more than ever the construction work and maintenance that was done on the original dot net website for the past years by Fiona and Jacques. My thanks to you both for all the work you did from your home in the Netherlands in keeping people around the world in touch with the gigs, the recordings and all the other goings on. Indeed there were many times when you kept me in touch as well! No doubt I’ll be coming back to you for help but the New Year Resolution is in place to look after this new site myself and no better time than the present to start.
So on this Friday morning, with a robin looking in through the window to my right and a guitar nudging my knee to the left, I’ll make the plan to write a few lines here every few days. I hope you’ll all look in from time to time and say hello if you like. See you later!