We tasked a mix of local and national musicians to each curate a playlist under a theme of their own choice.
A community mixtape lovingly selected by musicians to help keep us company during this period of unknown.
RCC SOUNDS 023 Curated by Jeremy Fitz Howard
Earagail Arts Festival Special
Jeremy is the General Manager of the Regional Cultural Centre and performs and releases music regularly with Little John Nee and Ramelton based alt-rock band Aul Boy.
He is a trained composer and studied electroacoustic composition and later film composition in Keele University and Bournemouth University.
Today’s playlist is entirely composed of musicians that have performed at the Earagail Arts Festival in the past. Although a traditional festival cannot take place this year, the Earagail team are delighted to present a re-imagined condensed festival of srutháin (small streams), featuring nomadic pop up theatre, mini documentaries, online and radio broadcast performances and interactive conversations across the original dates of 9th to 26th July.
Listen to Jeremy’s Earagail Festival themed playlist here: Listen Here
RCC SOUNDS 022 Curated by Jerry Early
Jerry Early is fisherman, businessman, community activist and proud Islander from Arranmore, off the coast of West Donegal.
Jerry has hosted many great acts in his pub, Early’s Bar, on the island from Sean Keane, Daniel O’Donnell, Ye Vagabonds and many more. A great lover of music, and singer like his father Andrew, Jerry enjoys joining the regular, and impromptu sessions, in the pub for a song by favourites of his like Kris Kristofferson (featured in his playlist).
In 2015, Jerry and his cousin John Gallagher also wrote and released the song I’ll Go, a tribute to the Arranmore Lifeboat crew that risked their lives to rescue 18 men from the Dutch steamer Stolwijk on December 7, 1940 in the worst weather conditions that locals can remember before or since.
Jerry’s playlist is based on songs he has seen performed live in concert, with a very heavy Irish influence. Little Musgrave by Planxty in Vicar Street was pure poetry. U2 in the mid 80s in Chicago was a memorable performance that made me so proud to be Irish. Graceland by Paul Simon is without doubt one of my favourite album, so I went with the title song.
Paul Brady’s The Island is right up there with any Peace song, while Bagatelle’s Summer in Dublin takes me back to my teens, and still an Anthem! Rainy Night in Soho is classic by Shane MacGowan who has no equal as a songwriter, in my opinion. Chris Stapleton’s More of You is for my good wife and best friend, Pat. Jason Isbell’s Cover Me Up is another classic love song that tells a great story.
Foy Vance’s Guiding light and Van the Man’s Into the Mystic have that seafaring peace and wildness about them and Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol) is song for the ages that I never tire of listening to.
Finally, I have featured Ye Vagabonds – I think these guys, who have huge connections to Arranmore, are just brilliant and I love Whistling Wind because it puts me in a good space. LISTEN HERE
RCC SOUNDS 021 is curated by Gary Doherty
Gary Doherty is a well-known musician on Donegal’s music scene, as both a member of The Heads of State and a solo act performing around the county.
Gary has been an elected member of Donegal County Council since November 2013 and is heavily involved with community organisations such as the GAA, Tidy Towns and Meals on Wheels. He also recently appeared in a number of amateur dramatics productions in the Finn Valley.
Gary chose an ‘eclectic’, feel good mix of music, ideal for your Sunday mornings, from waking up to dancing in the kitchen, while making the breakfast! LISTEN HERE
RCC SOUNDS 020 is curated by Daniel Cullen
Originally from Tirlaughan, Carrigart, Daniel is a talented singer and musician and member of The Cullen Family, a highly-regarded musical family who have entertained locals and visitors across Donegal and further afield for decades.
Daniel lives on Tory Island with his wife Majella and children where they run The Social Club which hosts many musical acts, from local to well-known such as Sean Keane, The High Kings and many others.
Daniel wanted to put together a ‘local’ Spotify playlist, paying tribute to some of the great musicians and singers he has performed with over the years. One singer that could not be missing on such a personal list to Daniel, is his late father, Paddy Cullen.
Compiling the list for Spotify, Daniel was encouraged to upload his father’s album Deep Shiphaven Bay to the platform with his brother-in-law Ruairí Friel (In Their Thousands) so he could feature some of the songs.
Paddy was a much-loved man and popular singer, so his addition to Spotify has been really well-received and people will be able to continue to enjoy his beautiful voice for many years to come. FOLLOW HERE
Other acts featured from across the county are Arranmore’s Jerry Early, Ramelton singer Jonathan Smeaton, alt rock four-piece In Their Thousands, Sheerbuzz, The Reflection Box and Rann na Feirste’s Clann Mhic Ruairí. LISTEN HERE
RCC SOUNDS 019 is curated by Jacqui Sharkey
With three critically acclaimed albums under her belt, Donegal singer/songwriter Jacqui Sharkey has become a well-known name on the UK and Irish music scene. Raised just south of Glasgow, Jacqui’s music career began as a teenager on the city’s folk scene, and despite pursuing a career in law in her native Donegal, she continued to indulge her passion for music.
In 2011 Jacqui took the leap and recorded her debut studio album, A New Dawn. In the following year she opened for music legend Billy Ocean at the National Concert Hall in Dublin where she received a standing ovation from a packed audience.
Over the years, Jacqui’s voice has been compared to that of Canadian star Anne Murray who was famed for the 1978 hit You Needed Me. It was these comparisons, as well as a chance introduction to the singer, that led Jacqui to perform and produce her own headline show at the National Concert Hall in 2012 celebrating Murray’s music.
Jacqui has been invited to perform and jam with, as well as support, some of the biggest names in Irish music including Moya Brennan, Altan, Paul Brady, Manus Lunny, Tommy Fleming, The Fureys and Goats Don’t Shave. Jacqui’s own writing, both lyrically and musically, reflects not only her multi-instrumentalism, but also her varied influences from folk, Celtic, rock and New Country to a little jazz and pop.
After a brief hiatus from recording, Jacqui released her latest single, Home– a song written by American Singer/Songwriter Karla Bonoff – just a few weeks ago. It was produced by Pat Gallagher (Goats Don’t Shave’) and engineered by Seamus McGee in Gaoth Dobhair. Jacqui has more singles to come in the coming months, which include more of her own original music, so stay tuned!
“Right now we are carried through with older music we are drawn to and new fantastic music emerging… Hope in these mad times being the thread [of this playlist]… Hope (And Sanity!)” Hope (and sanity!) – LISTEN HERE
Paddy, better known locally as PK, is one of Letterkenny’s best known DJs and music promoters.
If Paddy isn’t selecting the tunes at a Donegal night-spot or writing about them in the Letterkenny Post, you would likely find him at the front row of rock, punk or ska gig.
Paddy also co-runs the infamous Christmas shindig ‘PK & Marty’s Annual Punk & Ska Night’, one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Donegal music calendar. I get locked down…But I get up again! – LISTEN HERE
Donegal fiddle player is a household name in the Irish traditional music industry and much sought after touring and session musician.
The Ardara native released his solo album, The Tin Fiddle (available on www.damienmcgeehan.com), in 2017 to rave reviews. One of the interesting aspects of this album is that only a tin fiddle was used to create all the sounds through bowing and plucking, tapping and sweeping.
A hugely innovate artist and arranger, Damien is the only instrumentalist featured on the album, so the result was achieved through layering the individual elements to give the impression of a band or a group. Make sure to check it out.
Damien has recorded and toured all over the world with well-known Irish performers such as The Country Kings, Barry Kirwan, Derek Ryan, Nathan Carter and Daniel O’ Donnell. He is also a member of the Donegal fiddle trio, Fidíl, who released their latest album Decade (Raelach Records), earlier this year and was described by The Irish Times’ Siobhán Long as ‘nothing short of breath-taking’.
Damien is enjoyable journey into compiling his RCC SOUNDS mixtape relfects music has been listening to recently and then made him think of other artists he hasn’t listened to in some time, while compiling. LISTEN HERE
Micheál Ó Ciaraidh is a well-known Irish broadcaster and television producer who came through the ranks of TG4’s Young People’s Programming and now works in wide range of media forms, from in front and behind the camera, social media, to hosting major events.
Born into a musical family, The Letterkenny native has played the violin from a very young age and is a former member of Donegal Youth Orchestra, receiving his training through the Donegal Music Education Partnership. Music is very much part of his everyday life.
Micheál chose a playlist very much reflecting his love for classical and Irish music, the Irish language and Donegal, featuring everything from local folk heroes Arcanadh, to classics such a Linger by The Cranberries and Golden Brown by The Stranglers. LISTEN HERE
“These are tough times and we are all feeling a lot of pressure to be productive. There are pictures of everyone using this time to write novels, get a six-pack, invent alternatives to fossil fuel, and you know what? Good for them. But we shouldn’t forget that this is weird and confusing and more than a little scary. You don’t have to take this time to be productive.
.“All you have to do is look after yourself and try and be kind. And when that gets too much, sometimes we all need a good cry. This is a collection of songs to have a good, guilt-free cry to, and when you’re done with your cry, go make some tea and some toast and rest assured that we’re going to get through this and you’re going to be fine.” Songs To Have A Good Cry To – LISTEN HERE
Martin is a passionate music lover, a well known DJ that performs throughout Donegal and an avid drummer, keeping time for many groups over the years in both the U.K. and Ireland.
Martin also co-runs the infamous Christmas shindig ‘PK & Marty’s Annual Punk & Ska Night’, one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Donegal music calendar. No Place Like Home – LISTEN HERE
RCC SOUNDS (SPECIAL Audio/Visual EDITION) is curated by ‘Slow Place Like Home’, the music project of producer/musician Keith Mannion.
Based in the forests of South-West Donegal, he has already released a series of EPs and three critically acclaimed albums – debut ‘There go the Lights Again’ (2012) ‘Romola’ (2015) and ‘When I See You… Ice Cream!’ (2017).
He is currently writing new material as ‘Slow Place Like Home’ and has just finished a forthcoming album as a member of the heralded Scottish-based band ‘Gaze is Ghost’.
His music has been play-listed on illustrious radio stations such as KEXP, KCRW, WFMU, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 music and his videos featured on MTV. Teaming with Google, he penned the soundtrack for their Marriage Equality campaign adverts in 2015.
He has worked with the likes of Fujiya & Miyagi, Dan Deacon, Squarepusher, Per-fume Genius, Day Wave, Ezra Furman, Moodoïd, Prince Rama, Glass Animals, Pantha Du Prince, Gold Panda and Amadou & Miriam, to name a few. He is currently signed to the Strange Brew record label, along with Junior Brother, Squarehead and others.
Ruairí Friel is a guitarist guitarist and vocalist with In Their Thousands and curator of the ‘Raised on Songs and Stories’ concert series.
In Their Thousands are a four-piece alternative rock band from the north-west Atlantic coast of Co. Donegal, Ireland. Two brothers, their first cousin, and a lifelong friend making deep, epic but accessible stadium alt-rock.
2019 was a monumental year for In Their Thousands with the release and critical acclaim of their much anticipated debut album ‘Acrasia’, coupled with sold out shows throughout the County and beyond, including the legendary Whelan’s venue in Dublin, and festival appearances including this year’s Electric Picnic. Although plans have changed for 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, Ruairí and In Their Thousands are using the downtime as an opportunity to prepare songs for a much anticipated second album. Travelling At Home – LISTEN HERE
BANYAH is a ‘crunchy pop’ Dublin duo consisting of brother and sister Aisling and Paul Jarvis whose roots are firmly rooted in Donegal and its music.
Working as independent musicians and music producers for years, the duo has supported their mother Moya Brennan, solo and with legendary Irish family group Clannad, from a very young age.
Having released their debut single (Nothing Free), little over a year ago, BANYAH officially release their newest song, Stuck Under, this Friday, 8th May. The RCC was delighted to invite the duo to bring us some of their favourite songs, a tribute to their musical influence, heritage and the Irish music scene entitled ‘These People That We Like’, in this latest edition of RCC SOUNDS.
“The two of us look at music in many similar ways, whether it’s the melodies and harmonies, production or the subject matter. We also have our musical differences, which we’ve come to realise, is where we’ve created a magical bridge upon which our releases sit.
“One thing is for certain, and that is that we’ll always hold strong roots in the music of our upbringing and heritage. We have so much pride for the Irish music as a duo, and as a result of that, we’ve created a playlist of past and current influences with a strong anchor in the music from this fine nation!
“We’ve designed it with the intention of listening from start to finish, and hopefully bring you on a bit of a journey. Enjoy!” These People That We Like – LISTEN HERE
Provocative alternative-punks The Wood Burning Savages are an incendiary four piece from Derry that proudly wear the rebel spirit of their hometown on their sleeves.
Recent winners of the NI Music Prize, their ferocious debut album ‘Stability’ beat out the likes of Snow Patrol, Ash and Bicep to be the first self released artist to win Northern Ireland Album of the Year. The band also took home the prize of Northern Ireland’s Best Live Act.
With blistering riffs and a sharp political edge, they are often compared to IDLES, Frank Turner and The Clash. Having played in session for BBC Radio 6 Music and Ireland’s Today FM, the band has also been championed by BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 1, Radio X, RTÉ 2FM and Amazing Radio. Staring Out The Window – LISTEN HERE
Castlefinn native Tommy Callaghan has been a firm fixture on Donegal’s live music scene for over two decades.
Having won the prestigious RTÉ 2fm/Jacob’s Song Contest with his close friend, Lifford’s Marty Keeney at the young age of 18 and 19, respectively, in 1999, he went on to write and release popular hits with his band The Heads Of State (Our Native State) and has enjoyed success on the national airwaves.
He can be seen regularly (when the pubs are open) performing on Donegal’s pub scene with the ‘Heads’, solo, as well as the fantastic Midnight Session Band.
We asked Tommy to get his hands dirty for RCC SOUNDS and he came up with a beautiful mix entitled Solitary Contentment! Solitary Contentment – LISTEN HERE
Áine is a journalist from Gaoth Dobhair and presents the entertainment, music and chat show ‘Bladhaire’ on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Thursdays and Fridays.
Studio sessions and interviews with musicians are a key part of the show, and musicians such as Dónal O’Connor, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Ye Vagabonds, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Clann Mhic Ruairí have played live sets for the show.
Áine also co-hosts the weekly RTÉ podcast ‘Beo ar Éigean’ with her friends Siún and Sinéad and is a keen follower of music, particularly of traditional Gaeilge song.
“I hope we can all enjoy the wild wonderful reaches of Donegal after this period and lose ourselves in music and nature! Níl teorainn nó srianta leis an cheol – music has no boundaries or restrictions.” Fiántas /Wilderness – LISTEN HERE
A founding member of Highland Radio, Packie spent years promoting musicians from around the north-west and Ireland, including the famous Monday Night Live Sessions.
Now retired, the Ardara native and former Engineering Manager with Telecom Eireann, still spends lots a lot of time following his greatest passion. LISTEN HERE
Lochláinn is an independent concert promoter from the North West of Ireland and runs the very successful ‘Why. Gigs’ agency.
His mission statement is to bring Indie and Alternative gigs to the local scene and he’s being doing just that since the age of 16.
Lochláinn has themed his playlist Hope – LISTEN HERE
John is a fantastic singer-songwriter, youth-worker and festival organiser from Letterkenny, he is also well known throughout the North-West as one of the founders of Swell Festival on Árainn Mhór island.
John has themed his playlist simply Songs I Love – LISTEN HERE
Sheerbuzz are a young high-energy indie rock band from Donegal that have already released one of the most streamed independent Irish EP’s and have plenty of new releases in the pipeline. Keep an eye out for them!
Lachlann has put together these songs in hope to inspire you to have a little dance in your kitchen this easter weekend. Brick by Brick – LISTEN HERE
Donegal singer-songwriter and recording artist Maria McCormack has been writing songs for over 20 years and released the extremely well received album ‘I Choose to Love’ in 2019.
Once we re-enter a COVID-19 free world, Maria will be going back to the Grooveshack Recording Studio in Ramelton with producer Billy Robinson to record her next album. We can’t wait. Cheap Whiskey & Pandemics – LISTEN HERE
John O’Neill is one of the north-west’s most prolific hit songwriters and innovative musicians.
John is responsible for writing ‘Teenage Kicks’, ‘Jimmy Jimmy’, ‘Here Comes The Summer’ and ‘You’ve Got My Number’ (amongst many other great songs by The Undertones, That Petrol Emotion, Rare and recently The Lost Connection).
Letterkenny native Gabriel is a member is one Ireland’s leading alternative music acts The Murder Capital.
“Like everyone, I’m missing being able to be around my friends a lot.
“I based this playlist off tracks that mean something to me and my pals. Connections mainly made through either driving or dancing.” i miss my friends but we’ll [dance][drive] again – LISTEN HERE
Our very first community mixtape, RCC SOUNDS, is presented to us by one of the most prolific and entertaining Donegal musicians of recent years, Peadar Coll.
Peadar has played guitar, bass guitar, fiddle and keys with many local groups and collectives over the last number of years (Aul Boy, The Inishowen Gospel Choir, Lunch Machine, Rory Gallagher, Tuath, Mickey Joe Harte, Keltic Kaos, Billy Robinson, Jonathan Smeaton, Percy Robinson, Leila Keeney & Maria McCormack). Love Songs In Isolation – LISTEN HERE