tweety stuff @ronanfromcork
first published in @The Evening Echo 2015-03-12
While Scullion prepare to launch their new ‘Live Album’, it is worth wondering how they have found the time to do it, all three members have careers away from the band that many would consider to be too busy; Sonny Condell gigs constantly as a solo singer/songwriter as well as with Tir Na Nóg; Robbie Overson is a guitarist who works with a variety of artists such as Karan Casey and Mary Black; and then singer Philip King has a very busy diary altogether.
Even a cursory glance of Philip’s career will show you that he is a multi-talented man, he is a much loved Radio DJ with ‘South Wind Blows’ every Sunday on RTE Radio 1; a festival curator with Other Voices, which he also has developed into an internationally renowned Television series. He has also directed documentaries for BBC and TG4; he co-founded Hummingbird Productions who created the Emmy award winning ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ Television series in 1991, but it was as a singer with Scullion that he first came to prominence when they formed in the mid 1970s.
What all his work has is common is a deep love of music, which he reflected on when speaking to Ronan Leonard the day before he was one of the judging panel to award this years Choice Music Prize to The Gloaming, “the first notes of music that came into my head were when I was growing up in Cork City, and from there I heard them in Dublin, London and New York as I travelled. Hearing what happened to our music as it mutated and changed developed a series of musical relationships that have sustained me through the last 40 years. From ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ through ‘The River Of Sound’ (a seven part documentary he made on Irish traditional music for RTÉ and BBC), and then through ‘Other Voices’ for the last 13 years it’s been interweaving and running in parallel with the Scullion story. It’s constant and always there. Everything is woven together, and at the heart of the matter is the pure love of music.”
In 2013 Scullion played two concerts in Triskel Christchurch entitled ‘The Live Album Sessions’, while both nights were recorded for this album Philip revealed they aren’t the only recordings they’ll be using, “we did two separate sets on the two nights we recorded 18 months ago but also a few years ago in the ‘old Triskel’ we played for 5 nights in a row in the smaller room. We’ve found some interesting things there listening back to them. So the body of the album comes from those two recent concerts with other bits and pieces will come from those earlier nights. Through it I think you’ll hear Scullion’s relationship with Cork and Scullion’s relationship with Triskel. There are some new songs, covers we’ve never included on an album before and reworkings of songs that we’ve done in the past.”
Philip is aware that while Scullion have been reflecting on their last 30 years of performing as they prepare this record, there are larger themes for the country as a whole to reflect upon, “next year we’ll be 100 years on from 1916 and there are questions to be asked. Where are we now? Are we comfortable with our identity and our self-worth after everything we’ve been through – the remarkable, the traumatic, the financial – over the last several decades? And also the big question of ‘where from here?’”
While Scullion wouldn’t be considered a ‘political’ band Philip points out that their music is shaped by those points of culture and heritage, “our music isn’t overt flag-waving music, but what is there is a confluence of three different streams, Sonny is a romantic classic songwriter in many ways; Robbie coming from London and making his home here and bringing the blues music that he grew up with; and then I grew up here in Cork with all the different music that was here. All those inform how we go about making our music”
Philip and the rest of the band are looking forward to Scullion playing a Cork gig again, “we are approaching the gig in Cork with a few days down in Dingle, where we’ll play two small gigs in McCarthys there and then we’ll be well warmed and ready to go in The Triskel Christchurch. For me, personally, walking those streets, where music and myself first met and collided is always emotional. The tape rolls in the head, you remember things you haven’t in a long time. Music has that power of getting right into the heart of other parts of your life.”
Scullion will be launching ‘Live Album’ in Triskel Christchurch on Friday 20 March at 8pm, tickets are €20 and available via www.triskelarts.ie