Loyola describe themselves as the first music band to come out of Galway Ireland! While that is clearly a joke, their brilliant first single is clearly not. Launched just in time for Christmas, It’s Clearly Christmas takes a critical look at the excesses of the season. A strong melody, clever lyrics and haunting chords make this debut our Christmas Number 1.
You can follow Loyola on Instagram at @loyolatheband, purchase the single at bandcamp, itunes or apple music, or listen to them on Spotify, Tidal, or your favourite music streaming app.
In a follow-on to I Need a Vaccine, Mary gives us a new take on an old classic (Bobby’s Girl), especially for New Year’s Eve. What happens when you get what you think you want? She says:
“I actually wrote this parody before Vaccine – on Valentine’s Day 2021 (I was hosting an alternative online party for single people that night) – so it is my first ever song parody, but I didn’t get around to making a video until now. I promised myself that I would get it done in 2021 though, so here it is.”
TW: this song contains swearing and feminism. If you have ever used the words “Not all men” in a non-ironic way, then please don’t watch.
It’s doubtful that any other person, apart from the artistic director, has contributed to Notes From Xanadu in as many different ways as James Keaney. He has been both front of house and backstage for all of our live performances in the theatre, as well as playing the piano in our launch concert and taking the part of Colm in Riders to the Sea last December; he did work experience on all aspects of the arts centre during TY (transition year in secondary school, for readers outside Ireland); and has shared his work as a prolific composer/musician with us on many occasions. And it’s in this last guise that we are featuring him today: James has released a new single especially for Hallowe’en, and we think it’s delightfully spooky. This is Kick or Treat!
If you would like what you hear, you can follow James on Youtube and Soundcloud (and on Notes From Xanadu, of course). James’ albums can also be purchased at Bandcamp.
Notes from Xanadu is delighted to be featuring another track from the prolific James Keaney as part of our birthday celebrations. As you probably know, James has been heavily involved with Xanadu Online Theatre, taking part in the launch concert, playing the role of Colm in our production of “Riders to the Sea” in December 2020, as well as taking on several roles front of house and behind the scenes in both the theatre and the arts centre. Today’s track is called Cat Coup, and is taken from his new album, Wait. If you would like to hear more from James (why wouldn’t you?) you can follow him on Youtube and Soundcloud (and on Notes From Xanadu, of course). Wait, and James’ previous album can be purchased at Bandcamp.
We promised you more short comedy film from Ian MacNaughton, and here it is, helping us celebrate day one of our birthday weekend. Before there were apps like Tinder and Grindr, even before there was internet dating on the web, there was video dating. Would you go out with any of these gentlemen?
Lockdown has been going on for a long time. If you live in one of the countries who are lucky enough to have a good supply of vaccines, the end might be in sight. For most of us however, shortages are dictating a slower pace. Inspired by comedy song writers such as Futzy and the Bitch, our artistic director Mary Tynan decided to take a humorous look at the situation. The backing track is by James Keaney.
You probably know Ian Macnaughton from his Covid Times column. Those of you who were at the launch concert for Xanadu Online Theatre will know that Ian is also a talented actor, and we are delighted to share one of his short films with you today. If you enjoy this one, you will be happy to learn that there are more in the pipeline.
As well as appearing in our launch concert, James Keaney took the role of Colm in Xanadu Online Theatre’s production of “Riders to the Sea” in December 2020, as well as taking on several roles front of house and behind the scenes in both the theatre and the arts centre. Today we are showcasing him on the arts centre for the second time with his new piece Preserve. Do all James’ track titles start with P? Follow him on Youtube and Soundcloud (and on Notes From Xanadu, of course) to find out!
Tuam Online Choir was founded towards the end of 2020 by Peter Mannion. Dreams is their second recording, which was made especially for St Patrick’s Day. Notes From Xanadu artistic director Mary Tynan is one of the singers, and can be seen in this video.
Guests at the launch concert of Xanadu Online Theatre in September 2020 would have heard this song being debuted. Many people have had an increase in anxiety levels over the past year, but does yours have a name?
Those of you who were at the launch concert for Xanadu Online Theatre will know James Keaney as a talented pianist, who was the first winner of the Junior Musician of the Year competition at the Galway Music School in 2016. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – James is also a skilled bass player, guitarist and composer. Today he makes his debut on the arts centre with his new piece Plank. You can follow James on Youtube and Soundcloud.
Paul (the performer) is based in London, where he is variously employed as an osteopath, a baker of unusual cakes, and a creator of comedy such as in the video below. The cinematographer is Steve Kirkham. This is interpretive dance with a difference!
Described by Hot Press as having the voice of an angel, Suzanne Ledwith is a multimedia artist from Mullingar. She was introduced to the acoustic guitar in her youth. ” I remember Mary (Tynan) showing me how to play Romanza on the guitar, for which I am very grateful, as it was the first time I every played a guitar, and I discovered a life long passion. In her teenage years a chance meeting led to her being asked to join a band. Not seeing any reason to say no, she said yes, and Dreams of ID was formed with Patricia Raleigh (electric guitar) and subsequently Monica Raleigh (bass) and Paul Muligan (drums). Eventually this morphed into Suzanne performing solo.
For the past number of years she’s been developing a different style from the early pop/rock focus of the band. Her style reflects an interest in Irish music, world music, folk and classical music. She’s been working with Donal Lunny for a number of years on an album, which is finally coming to a not-too-hasty conclusion (Suzanne’s words). Suzanne says that working full-time as a teacher in the further education sector leaves little space to make her passion for composing, writing, singing and playing guitar more than a hobby. “I am grateful to Mary Tynan for contacting me and inviting me to contribute to her wonderful online space for artists. We are lucky to have you Mary.”
Here she performs her haunting composition “Pearly Moon.” Additional instruments played by Dónal Lunny. Notes From Xanadu is very lucky to have you, Suzanne!
Laney Rie is a singer songwriter from Colorado. She has been writing songs since she was 12. Her inspiration comes from her life experiences and the people she has come in contact with. Her musical style is indie pop, with mellow piano and poetic song lyrics. Laney has a soulful sound, especially for her youthful age. She wants her music to impact people in such a way that they don’t feel alone in this world.
This is our third song from Laney this launch weekend. Her EP, Childish Dreams, can be purchased from Apple Music.
Ailish Tynan is a world-renowned soprano who has played the lead in operas such as La Boheme, Hansel and Gretel, The Cunning Little Vixen and The Magic Flute, appearing in venues such as The Royal Opera House, La Scala and Grange Park. She also performs extensively at recitals and concerts, and is a regular on the BBC Proms. Here she performs Ein Traum by Edvard Grieg, from his Sechs Lieder, Opus 48, accompanied on the piano by James Baillieu. This was recorded while in self-isolation during the current Covid 19 pandemic. An English translation of the song is printed below the video. Ailish is represented by Steven Swales Artist Management.
I once dreamed a beautiful dream:
A blonde maiden loved me,
It was in the green woodland glade,
It was in the warm springtime:
The buds bloomed, the forest stream swelled,
From the distant village came the sound of bells—
We were so full of bliss,
So lost in happiness.
And more beautiful yet than the dream,
It happened in reality,
It was in the green woodland glade,
It was in the warm springtime:
The forest stream swelled, the buds bloomed,
From the village came the sound of bells—
I held you fast, I held you long,
And now shall never let you go!
O woodland glade so green with spring!
You shall live in me for evermore—
There reality became a dream,
There dream became reality!