April - May 2005

May 4th 2005
Just finished an Irish tour with Patrick Street. Very enjoyable. With our new member, John Carty on fiddle, banjo and flute for the first time and he was a great success. It was great to see them all again and we hatched a few plots for future tours. We are doing a couple of weeks in UK in September and talking about two weeks in the US next February. I suppose a new album will be the next thing to think about...

With all this band touring, my solo performances have been few and far between of late, so it was with some trepidation that I walked onto the stage at Vicar Street on the May Day bank holiday monday. I was nervous! Still it seemed to go very well and I did a lot of my new stuff like O'Donoghues and The Wind Blows Over the Danube. Also 'premiered' As I roved Out with my own accompaniment. It's always been a Planxty number till now with Donal playing Baritone Guitar and me just singing it.

For those interested this was my set list:
'Reynardine/Johnny Cuig', 'The Girl I left behind', 'The Close Shave', 'Never Tire of the Road', 'Bonny Kellswater', 'My Heart's tonight in Ireland', 'The Wind blows over the Danube', 'Gladiators', As I roved Out', 'O'Donoghues'.

My next 'outing' is on 28th May when I am taking part in the Afri Famine Walk from Doolough, Co. Mayo at 2pm. It is organised by Joe Murray and here's what he has to say about it:-

I'm writing to you on behalf of the Dublin-based Justice and Peace group Afri. We are the organisation that, among other things organises the 'Famine Walk' in Mayo, which has been going since 1988. Over the years we have raised many issues including the story about the Choctaw donation which was made to Ireland during the famine. We invited Choctaw leaders to lead the walk in 1990 and again in 1995 as a way of recognising the generosity of their nation to the Irish in that hour of need. Other walk leaders have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Christy Moore, Gabriel Byrne, John Pilger and many more.

We are currently in the process of organising the 2005 Famine Walk. The theme this year is 'Bread and Roses: Recognising the Right of Migrant Workers to Organise.' We are looking at the current situation in Ireland in the context of people who have gone from Ireland in the past and got involved in workers rights - people like Mother Jones who was born in West Cork and having lost everything in the US committed her extraordinary life to the cause of working people throughout the length and breadth of the US and beyond. We also want to celebrate people like those in the Wobblies with whom, I believe, Connolly and Larkin served their apprenticeship. I believe you are a card carrying Wob yourself. We are trying to celebrate that spirit of generosity and committment to workers rights in the context of the abuse of migrant workers which is happening here at the moment. Recently there was that awful story of migrant workers working on a farm in Kilkenny, being paid €1 per hour, working fifteen hours a day and sleeping in Cattle Sheds. How quickly we forget our history.

When we talked about this walk, we thought about songs such as 'Deportees' and about yourself and the Guthrie songs and wondered would there be any chance that you could come along as one of the Walk Leaders and sing a song at the start of the Walk as well? You wouldn't have to do the whole ten miles, if you have to rush off but it would be wonderful to have you there. The walk takes place in Doolough Co. Mayo at 2pm on Saturday, May 28th.

April 20th 2005
Really sorry to have been so lax about writing my journal. I think the Planxty gigs in December and January are to blame. They were such a high that I still haven't come down. From Galway to Dublin to Belfast and London, each one was a memory to be treasured. The joy we all got from the gigs, band and audience was palpable. So many thanks to everyone who has written and emailed to say how much they enjoyed the concerts. We have no plans to play more concerts but I sincerely hope that we do. It was the buzz of a lifetime.

Mozaik has been active this year. We had a good success at Celtic Connections where we also managed to rehearse new material for a possible studio album. We have just returned from a great two weeks in Japan. Again we had nearly a week to rehearse and some magic moments came out of that. The subsequent tour was wonderful. We played solo dates in Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo and with guests in Osaka and Tokyo as well. We cannot thank the people involved in the tour enough. Hide-bow, Kumiko and Aki-chan - our 'staff', Machan, one of the best soundmen I have ever come across, Hiroshi and all the musicians, Soulflower Union Mononoke Summit and more who played with us. It was a really magic experience.

Mozaik are playing in Ireland, UK and Europe this summer. Dates will be put up when I know them.

I have been rehearsing with Patrick Street for the last couple of days in Ballaghadereen, in the County Roscommon. We start tomorrow in Westport and do nine gigs. See my calendar for an update on forthcoming gigs.

This is short but it's late and I have to get to bed!

I'll try and keep a diary of the tour. It's our first with our new member, John Carty on fiddle and banjo.