INTERVIEW WITH GER WOLFE

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-12-23

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Ger Wolfe is one of the most loved songwriters in Ireland, so much so that he was the subject of an RTE radio documentary titled ‘Gentle Genius, Forgotten Poet’, where a host of people such as Christy Moore, John Spillane and John Creedon paid tribute to him.


Tradition is an important thing for Ger as he explained his annual Christmas concert, “I’ve always done a gig in the city at this time of year, it’s a big time of for a lot of people and for me as well. Every gig is important to me, but Christmas is very special to me and I like to celebrate it.”

This year has been one he is quite keen to celebrate, “2014 has been very good, very busy, I’ve been kept going with the new record ‘I Have Been Loved’. I’ve been on the road a good bit especially from Autumn up till now. I’m still at it, that’s the main thing!”

‘Keeping at it’ is a fitting way to describe someone who has released 7 albums in 15 years, over that time he has seen many changes with venues and he senses we are reaching a new era, “I think music is changing a bit, the scene I’m in is playing in a room to 40 or 50 people that come to listen to you and original music. I think that’s coming back; I did a load of gigs this year in teashops and cafes. I played in some brilliant places – a beachside café, a Victorian teahouse and the dairy in Toonsbridge where they make the Buffalo cheese! I think that kind of thing might really take off, a sort of resurgence of the folk club gigs that were big in the 70s and 80s which I got into at the tail end of. Places that are run by people who love the music they are hosting. There used to be 15 or 20 of those kind of gigs around the country and you’d play them twice a year but that circuit sorted of faded.”

The concept of things developing over time is important to Ger, “I’m in music for 25 or so years, and I’ve always done bits of teaching and workshops, that’s all part of it, if you’re involved in music then you’ll end up passing on a bit of it. I think everyone who makes a life out of music gets involved with loads of different projects and then all the things you do start to add up together.”

He uses the example of his own interest in Irish Traditional music mixed with a writing programme he was on as leading to a recent album he recorded, “the previous album I did ‘Fréamh/Root’ in 2011 was all songs inspired by spending time with older members of the Muscrai Gaeltacht community when I was a writer-in-residence there, I’ve an interest in traditional music myself anyway even though it wasn’t something I grew up with. I wouldn’t be very proficient at playing it, but I’ve found my own level and I’m happy with it.

I suppose the day you don’t find an interest in some other angle of music is maybe the time you’ve lost interest altogether. That’s natural too, it happens to some people but it hasn’t happen to me – I still love it, and it’s all helped inform what I do.”

Ger is looking forward to being joined by some guest musicians in L’Atitude, “I call the musicians that play with me ‘The New Skylarks’ because the line up changes from time to time, on the 29th we’ll have Paul Frost on double bass and Edel Sullivan on violin, we’ll be revisiting the songs we’ve built up over the years, the ‘string-ier stuff’ if you will. I’ve been playing with them in different line ups since the 90s, we’re all very comfortable musically with each other and I’m just mad about them, they are great people and great musicians. A singer-songwriter on their own is grand, and a lot of the gigs I do these days are on my own but it’s so nice to play music with people, it’s such a treat for me to play with them.”

Ger shows no sign of letting up according to the plans he has for 2015, “I will be doing another teashop tour in the Spring and keep it going for the year, it’s a crusade to find new beautiful venues and of course some of the old ones I’ve played for while. I’ve a few projects I’ve had in the back of my mind for years and I’ve going to try and get them done as well.”

Ger Wolfe plays L’Atitude on Union Quay on Monday 29 December, tickets are available from the venue or via 021 2390219.

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