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Posts Tagged ‘ Terry Hooley ’

Alternative Folk Band Hits Belfast

The music scene in Belfast hosts a wide variety of genres such as Punk, Rock, Dance and Indie. Venues such as The Limelight and The Empire continue to attract crowds from all over the city and offer them the experience to listen to the home grown talent that Belfast provides.

These genres seem to be the backbone of the music culture in and around the city. Although, there is a style of music re-growing in popularity in Belfast. Traditional music seems to always correspond to Irish folklore and tales about Giants who prowled the land, but in recent years folk and traditional music has seen a rise in areas such as the Cathedral Quarter and Fiddler Magee’s. These areas attract locals and tourists alike.

When researching this genre, I came across The Lagan Band. The Lagan Band perform Traditional Folk music that relates to our Homeland. With quirky lyrics, catchy titles and eclectic performances, the Lagan Band have gained the reputation of being the new band on the Belfast Scene. They have been compared to a mixture of The Pogues, Bob Dylan and Seasick Steve.

Formed over three years ago with the help of a local Belfast singer and song writer Tony Bunting, East Belfast musicians Les Patterson and Davy Galway both had a idea of wanting to create a band that was doing something different in the city. They wanted to write about something that inspired them, so they wrote about Belfast. “Rather than trying to write a group of songs, this album gave us an anchor to write a book about Belfast and by the end an historical view is told” explains Les.

Both Les and Davy have a wealth of experience playing a variety of instruments like the Banjo, Fiddle, Penny Whistles and Mandolins. They use these instruments in harmony with their lyrics. Les describes how different they truly are, “ The amount of instruments we play between Davy and I shows just what we can do at any one time, during some of our songs we would start with a fiddle then move onto the mandolin while singing. Not many bands can say they do that.”

Recently the Lagan band have released their debut album, Napoleons Nose, in which every song has a unique style, melody and lyrics that separates the band from other folk bands across the city. ‘Bridges’ is one of the songs on the album that talks about uniting the two communities in the city. The lyrics read, “Two Bridges on the river, Two Bridges side by side, It’s our home within the city, Cast all prejudice aside.”

As expected, Les and Davy have wrote a song called ‘Belfast Man’ that tells the tale of life in Belfast when working in the shipyards was the main occupation for men. “I’ve lived my life by Belfast’s shores, like my forefathers years before, who spent their days at making ships, stood and launched them down the slips.” For these men who grew up in East Belfast, they were no strangers to this life and know what they are writing and singing about.

In the future Les and Davy hope to promote Belfast in the means of a cultural experience, in which tourists and locals can have the chance to learn more about the rich history of Belfast through their performances. “ Everywhere we play we try to interact with the audience such as handing out percussion and involving them in our performances.” With the Belfast theme integrated into their lyrics, the Lagan Band also play a variety of cover sets in which they play to suit the needs of the audience, such as The Eagles, Rolling Stones and Oasis.

The Cultra Inn showcases the Lagan Band every Friday evening, showing their creativeness and individual persona’s performing their hits. You can see at first hand how different they are to mainstream acts and once you listen to the lyrics then you will truly experience some home grown talent. One element that the band are trying to pursue is to break into the theatres across the city with their main song and both musicians favourite, ‘Where’s The Chile.’ The band would like for their lyrics to translate onto the big screen.

If your looking for a band with a good vibe and quirky lyrics, then listen to the Lagan Band’s debut album Napoleons Nose which is available at Premier Records at Smithfield and at the Godfather of Punk Terry Hooley’s Good Vibrations Record Shop in Great Victoria Street. Or you could visit their website at http://www.laganband.com , where you can view live performances, find details of gigs and is also available online through CDBaby.

Les and Davy are already on course to create their second album due to the success of Napoleons Nose and so the future looks bright for this unique folk band whose lyrics tell a tale of our great city.

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