Sharon Shannon is a musician who likes to surprise. While she is known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish-influenced compositions, she has always been eager to explore new styles, and to meet and work with other musicians. There are Irish influences here, of course, but these are cheerfully mixed in with often unexpected styles from around the world, including – for the first time – Africa.
Sharon has perfectly mastered an African/Irish crossover. Justin Adams, who co-produced the album has long been an expert in African (and Middle Eastern) music styles. Justin played on Sharon’s 2007 album ‘Renegade’, and she wanted to work with him again on this project both because of his African connections and because “he’s such a generous musician and I love his fearless approach to music”.
According to Justin “ever since a latenight music session at her house in Galway, I’ve been aware of the joy and openness that goes alongside Sharon’s rootedness in tradition. My musical passions that have led to immersion in Blues, North and West African music and Reggae sit easily with Sharon’s dancing rhythm, and show the ancient connections from South and East to West and back again, connections we need to celebrate more than ever”.
It’s her free-wheeling approach that makes Sharon Shannon so exciting. And she puts it all down to the time she spent working with The Waterboys, when there were “no rules as to the type of music played…we could move very easily from a punk song to an old timey American waltz to Irish jigs and reels and onto New Orleans-type blues”. As a soloist, she has continued that approach. Working with Denis Bovell on ‘Out The Gap’, back in 1994, she found that “the reggae rhythm lent a very groovy backing to an Irish reel”. Since then there have been excursions into Argentinian tango, Breton music, American folk and country, and much more besides – including, of course, that massively-successful collaboration with Steve Earle on ‘The Galway Girl’.
Sharon Shannon has had a remarkable and adventurous career. ‘Sacred Earth’ is a rousing reminder of why she is still so unique. Robin Denselow
Irish live electro outfit King Kong Company whose “live shows are events, built from sweat soaked late-night electronic buzz and rumble” (Last Mixed Tape) and who were recently crowned the Best Irish Live Act (2016 Pure M Awards), will release their Choice Music Awards nominated album King Kong Company in Benelux on Gentlemen Recordings together with Mass Market Recordings on Friday February 24th, 2017. Preceding the album release, the single Scarity Dan will be out this Friday, January 13th 2017, coinciding with the band’s showcase performance at Altersonic (De Drie Gezusters, Grote Markt, Groningen at 00:40).
In 2016 they’ve sold out an Irish tour with a headline date at The Academy in Dublin and a headlining spot on big Irish festivals (Indiependent, Electric Picnic). While their highly acclaimed self-titled debut album, produced by Neil McLellan (of The Prodigy fame), landed in the Irish charts. 2017 brings new co-management (MCD/Live Nation), a European release for the album and some of the biggest headline shows to date, as King Kong Company are shortlisted for Festival Republic festivals.
During Altersonic, booking agency Rise Agency (with a roster of acts like Magnapop, The Posies and Maxi Jazz), Gentlemen Recordings (a Rotterdam based label with releases from WHITE, Raglans and The Wonder Stuff) and Belgian based booking agency Soundboxes (with a roster of acts like Whispering Sons, The LVE and Low Land Home) will join forces to present a showcase of some of their most exciting artists. Entry is of course free.
Mass Market Recordings signings Raglans and King Kong Company will perform at the showcase, together with acts like Echotape, Black Horse Society, Aestrid, Cynbel, Gemina and dj Brett Summers.
If you’re in Groningen, for Eurosonic, you can be present at the Draaibar, upstairs at De Drie Gezusters on Friday January 13th, 2017, from 8PM onwards until late. Please note that the venue capacity is small.
This Rise Agency, Gentlemen Recordings and Soundboxes showcase has been made possible with the help of the Rotterdam based Popunie and the online indie music magazine Muzine.nl.
Delorentos will release their album “Night Becomes Light” in Benelux on March 3rd, 2017 on Gentlemen Recordings and Mass Market Recordings. “Night Becomes Light” entered the Irish Album Chart at #5 upon its release and got rave reviews in The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and Hotpress Magazine.
To accompany the release, Delorentos will return to The Netherlands for four shows: So What, Gouda (17.03.17), with Black Horse Society, Taverne, Bergen (18.03.17), Tam Tam, Deurne (19.03.17), with Black Horse Society and Cloudman, and Waterhole, Amsterdam (20.03.17).
Today, Raglans release their Christmas track `Christmas Number One (On My Own)´ with a beautiful video shot on the streets of Dublin with Finn Keenan. All proceedings of the single will go to Humanappeal.ie.
Scottish promising indierockers WHITE release their 10″ EP “Cuts That Don’t Bleed” on Mass Market Recordings (as a co-release with Gentlemen Recordings) in Benelux on November 4th, 2016. The single from the EP will be I Liked You Better When You Needed Me. You can watch the video here. They also just released a video for the track Private Lives, that you can watch here. WHITE’s full length debut album will be released in the beginning of 2017.
Irish indie rock band Raglans returned triumphantly with ‘True North’, the first single from their EP ‘Again & Again’ (both released on October 14th, 2016 on Mass Market Recordings, co-released with Gentlemen Recordings for Benelux). Recorded live in LA ,with producers Jason Wade and Chris Murgia, and mixed by Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Pixies) ’Again and Again’ features five selected tracks from the recordings of Raglans forthcoming album which is expected in 2017. The EP features biographical songs reflecting the last two years in the life of a band who have been travelling the world, getting up and getting down. It presents a new and more expansive Raglans sound, retaining the fist-in-the-air glory of their debut album while adding the ferocious momentum and energy from their acclaimed live experience.
On December 11th, 12th and 13th, 2015, Sharon Shannon and Alan Connor will be the first international guests ever to appear on Herberg de Troost, a special concert series around Jack Poels and Tren van Enckevoort of Rowwen Heze. The shows will be held in Venlo. Tickets to be obtained at herbergdetroost.nl.
On January 15th, 2016, Sharon Shannon & Alan Connor’s In Galway will be released in Benelux by Mass Market Recordings with distribution by Music & Words. The album has been released in UK & Ireland to critical acclaim (“a return to form“, fROOTS). In Galway also included a live version of The Galway Girl, Sharon Shannon’s biggest hit and one of the top ten selling singles ever in Ireland.