Musical Rooms

April 3, 2009

50 Best Irish music acts right now (who contributed to Musical Rooms)

davidholmesMyself and three Ticket colleagues (Jim Carroll, Tony Clayton Lea and Lauren Murphy) were each recently asked to compile a list of the ’50 Best Irish music acts right now’. As expected there’s lots of debate about it over on Jim Carroll’s blog. There were lots of bands I voted for that aren’t on the list, and some I didn’t vote for that made the final 50. Either way, it’s great to see a light shined on so many bands and the list proves that Irish music is in a fairly robust health. Well done to David Holmes for bagging the No. 1 slot.

Here’s a list of those included in the Top 50 who have contributed to Musical Rooms so far. Watch out for upcoming contributions from Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Ann Scott and Dark Room Notes.

(49) David Turpin
(46) Mick Flannery
(38) The Jimmy Cake
(29) Julie Feeney
(23) Messiah J &The Expert
(20) Oppenheimer
(19) Chequerboard
(13) RSAG
(8) Adrian Crowley
(6) Villagers
(5) Lisa Hannigan
(4) Fight Like Apes
(2) Jape

February 23, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 60: Lisa Hannigan


“I’ve spent a lot of time rehearsing in a big old barn in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny with the guys in my band – Tomo, Shane, Donagh and Gavin. Tomo, who plays drums with me very kindly pushed aside storage crates and old rugs and broken furniture and we fill up the rest with rehearsing.

It’s pretty cold in the winter and I have very sneakily edged myself into prime position next to the storage heater. The walls used to be bare concrete but since a recent party they now are covered with giant pictures of foliage (these got a good wash down as they used to cover fences at the Electric Picnic). There are strings of huge flowers (made from hangers and coloured tights) suspended from the ceiling and lots of fairy lights and the like. Because it’s so cold we don’t leave any instruments in there except the drums, Harmonium and Glockenspiel. We’ve got a simple vocal PA set up but in general I find it easier to rehearse unamplified. We all face each other so we can balance ourselves better.

Apart from the instruments I would have to say that one of the most important things about it is the proximity to Tomo’s house. There’s a constant flow of tea, coffee, snacks and occasionally children and animals. Tomo’s cats like to sleep in the furry guitar cases and try to ignore the racket. We spent a few months over the winter there and I’m looking forward to getting back there when we’re not gigging.

I tend to write alone but I really enjoy bashing the songs into shape with the band. They’re much better at playing than I am so that helps. I like to wander off by myself if I have an idea for a song. I don’t have a regular starting point really. I might hear a word that I really like or get a melody in my head that I hum away until words come. Other times there’s a story already there to be set to music. Sometimes I’ll mess about on the guitar or an autoharp. I’m not very technically minded so I’ll ask Gavin Glass for help if I want to crack open Garageband.

This space has a lovely relaxed atmosphere. It’s great having it all set up and to be able to mess about on all the different instruments. Also being within 20 feet of Tomo’s kitchen always improves a situation.”

Lisa Hannigan was once best known for her collaborations with Damien Rice, but with the release of her debut solo album Sea Sew in 2008, she has garnered critical acclaim internationally. The album is one of this year’s Choice Music Prize nominees but Hannigan will be touring the US when the awards ceremony takes place on Wednesday March 4th in Dublin. For more information visit or

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