Jack O' Rourke, Strung, Anna Mitchell & Cork Opera House Orchestra. Right Here R
Cork Opera House Doors 8:00 pm - Admission: €20
Jack O Rourke with Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra,
plus special guests Strung and Anna Mitchell
JACK O’ ROURKE
The lone figure of Jack O’Rourke hunched over piano keys and moody synths, is one that Irish gig goers are becoming more accustomed to seeing. Whether performing his startlingly honest ballads solo or driving Spectorish rock with his band, Jack’s plaintive baritone, ethereal falsetto and piano are core. His songs speak of the human conditional with poetic flair – (“a nifty lyricist”, Tony Clayton Lea ), melodic flair and inventive arrangements. Flattering comparisons have been made to Bowie, Kate Bush, John Grant, Emmylou Harris and The National in his eclectic style – yet Jack has carved his own musical landscape and songwriting voice., more distinctive, with each release.
During 2015, Jack O’Rourke established himself as one of the most prolific Irish songwriters and powerful live performers in the last few years. He performed his moving composition “Silence” (the anthem chosen for the Yes Equality Referendum) on The Late Late Show live, His songs ‘Shining for You’ and ‘Silence’ became radio hits, building a consistent and musically adventurous profile. He toured with The Staves, Sinead O’Connor and Declan O’Rourke. ‘Silence’ featured on the BBC Radio 4 documentary series, ‘The Irish Songbook’, presented by Cerys Matthews.
Throughout 2016, Jack’s singles – the alternative folk tune, ‘I’ll Forget You in the Morning’ (Nialler 9 complimenting “the commanding voice and orchestral flourishes”) and the Bowiesque ‘Dreamcatcher’ with funky Stax soul rhythms were radio favourites, playlisted on RTE Radio 1 and Red FM and other National and regional stations. Jack took the coveted 1st place in the lyrics category of the International Songwriting Competition of ‘Silence’, which was judged by Bill Withers and Tom Waits among many others.
2016 saw many highlights for Jack including selling out his debut Dublin performance at Whelans, performing ‘Galileo’ with Declan O’Rourke at Live At St. Luke’s and performing on The Frank and Walters new album alongside Cillian Murphy. Jack also played live at Dublin’s Bloom Festival. Ever pushing for more, Jack played main stage with his band at Indiependence and finished the summer with an intimate performance at The Hazel Woods Stage at Electric Picnic, sharing billing with Cathy Davey.
All these accolades and strings to his bow were building up to the release of his debut album. ‘Dreamcatcher’ (the album) was released on September 23rd, entering the Irish Album charts at number 19 (independently released). Promoted with features on RTE’s Today with Séan O’Rourke, Pantisocracy, The Paul McCloone Show and Arena with Seán Rocks, as well as interviews with Ed Power, Don O’Mahony & Michael Carr in The Examiner, The Times and The Echo and features on The Neil Prendeville Show and Green on Red on RedFm, in its third week of release, ‘Dreamcatcher’ climbed to number 5, just below Drake and Bon Iver! ‘Dreamcatcher’ features edgy baroque pop, plaintive ballads, noir blues and startingly honest reflections on the world around him. Reviews were stellar.
The first single from the album, ‘On the Downlow’ was play-listed by RTE Radio 1 and played on heavy rotation on Today FM, Classic Hits 4FM and Regional Stations throughout the country. The album was officially launched in the iconic Everyman Theatre in Cork on October 15th with a nationwide tour following. Jack played the album in a mesmerizing live set with his band to a sold out Everyman Theatre and Whelans, as well as Dolans in Limerick and the Duncairn Arts Centre in Belfast.
Jack capped off 2016 with a blistering performance at ‘Other Voices’, paying tribute to the recently departed Leonard Cohen with Glen Hansard and Hattie Webb (Cohen’s collaborator) which was filmed for the series. He joined Mundy, John Sheehan and Lisa Lambe live on RTE 1’s New Year’s Eve televised celebration, ringing in the New Year with his contemporary interpretations of ‘Down by the Glenside’ and ‘Song for Ireland’.
2017 looks promising as Jack continues to promote his debut album, with more singles to be released, as well as collaborations with electronic duo, FreezerRoom. Writing has begun for his follow-up…
“Dreamcatcher is an album that knows when to swing for the fences, see the bombastic joie de vivre of the baroque-pop masterpiece ‘Naivety’ or the fun fuzz-laden nod of the head to Bowie ‘Iggy’, and to opt for a more nuanced restrained sound, look to the weighty strings and pensive piano of ‘Silence’. 9/10.”
— The Last Mixed Tape
“Jack O’ Rourke’s music has a grace and a glory to it that will stop you in your tracks and make you forget where you were going! “Silence” is one of the songs of the year for me…’I’ll Forget You In The Morning’ took me away too….Beautiful honest song-writing delivered with a transporting musicality that will take you there… wherever you are going!” — Fiachna O’ Braonáin, RTE Radio 1
“Jack O’Rourke is one of Ireland’s most exciting new emerging talents” – I.M.R.O. (Irish Music Rights Organisation) Ireland
“Silence is a modern rebel song. The song is truly beautiful. It the change that happened in Ireland” – Cerys Matthews, BBC4 – The Great Irish Songbook, 2015
“This is a seriously good album from a seriously good songwriter. ★★★★”
— Tony Clayton Lea, The Irish Times
Strung are a contemporary Irish music ensemble based in Cork, comprising Maria Ryan (violin/vocals), Lucia Mac Partlin (violin), Séan Warren (cello) and Aonghus McCarthy (piano). While undergoing classical training at Cork School of Music, they maintained a participating interest in Irish traditional music. Their dynamic ensemble and unique backgrounds allow them to subtly integrate complex harmonies and innovative motifs, while staying true to the deep-rooted authenticity of traditional Irish melodies. Strung’s sound radiates with originality, yet has an understated energy that instantly captivates.
In March 2016, Strung were winners of the Michigan Irish Music Initiative, a national competition for up and coming traditional Irish groups. In September 2016, they performed at the Michigan Irish Music Festival.
“Congratulations to Strung on their grand prize victory at the 2016 Michigan Irish Music Initiative. Your fine ensemble brings a truly unique, innovative and entirely musical energy to the trad Irish music scene. Your award was unanimous and enthusiastically given”– Tom Schaub (Michigan Irish Music Festival)
“A new approach to the tradition using the rarely heard instrumentation of piano, two fiddles and cello. It is a must listen for lovers of the tradition as well as forward thinking innovators within music”– Pádraig Rynne
“…symphonic grace and contemporary brilliance alongside a sound that can only come from a deep knowledge of the Irish tradition”– Martin Tourish
All 4 members of Strung are students. Lucia and Maria are undertaking a Masters at CIT Cork School of Music while Seán is undertaking his Masters at the University of Limerick. Aonghus studies biochemistry at University College Cork.
Anna Mitchell released her debut album ‘Down to the Bone’ on Feb 13th 2015.
‘Down to the Bone’ captures the songwriter confidently moving between soulful Americana, brooding late night ballads and country tinged folk, paying homage to the traditions and influences that went before while carving out a unique and contemporary space for her voice to be heard.
‘Down to the Bone’ was recorded at Monique studios by Christian Best ( Mick Flannery / O Emperor).
With Anna sat behind an old Yamaha upright piano, with a six piece band sensitively recording assured performances that highlight the mood of Mitchell’s songs with an appreciation of the craft of storytelling, songwriting and expression.
“The album was recorded and mixed in my friend Christian’s studio over a couple of sessions, We set the band set up throughout his house and recorded the tracks onto an old studer tape machine. It’s a home studio so there’s a lovely calm atmosphere there, the kettle’s always on!”
Singles ‘ Lets Run Away’ & ‘What’s a Fool To Do’ have been championed on Irish National radio by Seán Rocks , Alf McCarthy, Fiachna Ó Braonáun & John Creedon on Rte Radio 1 and saw Anna being named ‘Irish Artist of the Month’ by Galway Bay Fm and Highland Radio in Donegal. Live ‘in studio’ sessions with Charlie Mcgettigan (winner of Eurovision ‘94, with the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids) 96fm and news talk as well as a national television appearance on RTE’ 2’s Two Tube further cementing Anna’s flourishing status in Ireland.
BBC radio and Resonance FM have begun to pick up on Mitchell’s music in the U.K with the latter inviting Anna to headline a showcase show for the station at Green Note, Camden , London.
With a reputation as a passionate live performer able to capture an audience, Anna has performed and toured with many celebrated singers & songwriters including Sarah Jarosz , Aoife O’Donovan, Mick Flannery, John Smith, Duke Special, Lisa Hannigan, Simone Felice & many more. So impressed was the celebrated American poet and songwriter Simone Felice, he invited her to join him on 5 week European tour in winter ‘14 stopping off in Ireland , U.K , Belgium and Luxembourg as well as a 3 week tour throughout the states in May/June ‘15.
A quick trip to Woodstock in February saw Anna at Applehead studios in Woodstock , singing, playing piano, harmonium & percussion for a live recording of Simone’s new double album ‘From The Violent Banks Of The Kaaterskill’ (also feat. The Felice Brothers, Simi Stone & Gabriel Dresdale) which will be released this summer on Mighty Hudson Records.
“If David Lynch were to reset Blue Velvet in the wilds of West Cork, then Anna Mitchell’s evocative, dark songs of life and love’s painful kiss would sit well on the soundtrack. ★ ★ ★ ★” — The Irish Times
“Anna Mitchell burrows to the marrow on ‘Down to the Bone,’ . The Irish singer-songwriter-keyboardist with the Appalachian soul polishes these dusky jewels with a spacious, searching piano and a voice that’s earthy, ethereal and full of resonant hollows. Guided by an emotional compass, she roams haunted rooms with stained-glass windows” — ‘Wise Lullabies for Brave Adults’ Mauch Chunk –USA
“Anna Mitchell debuts beautifully on her album, her soft singing is like being kissed better Blast FM U.K” — Blast FM. U.K
“fully formed, deeply crafted, a serene songwriting experience produced and performed with pristine precision”