Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ballincollig hip-hop and California soul!

Sorry bout the delay folks! It's been a very busy week! Aosdana joined me on Teenage Thursdays. This young hip-hop band from Ballincollig have stood out from the start for me. They've appeared at Jam Junior aswell as my Steppin' Into Tomorrow workshops in the Triskel and they combine live instrumentation with funky hip-hop. One of their rappers, Cheb (Samir) has been through a lot in the last year or so and he has recently come out of Rehab. Having known him both before and after this personal trauma I have to say I am overwhelmed by the chage in his personality. He is like a new man and he is hungry and motivated more than ever. I'm delighted for him and Aosdana, who's new lease of life is summed up with the banging jazz-influenced tune, "Cheb's Back"! Watch these fellows closely, they are shit hot-Maximunm respect!

Marlena Shaw has been a massive influence on me for years. Again she is another jazz/soul legend who I discovered through hip-hop! I've borrowed some of this from my Downtown column in the Echo but it's worth repeating. “California Soul” is perhaps her most well known record, recent appearances in a well-known TV commercial aswell as countless samples by some of the world’s top producers have instilled the track into our subconscious. Pete Rock
looped it for a classic tune by ADOR ("Let It all Hang Out") while DJ Premier used it for a vintage Gang Starr number ("Check the Technique”). The Wiseguys also used a vocal hook from this track on a big downtempo number called the "Sound Ya Hear"

Blueboy famously used the refrain from the mesmerising “Woman of the Ghetto” on a Guidance B-side for ‘Remember Me”, a track that became so popular with DJs that it ultimately got released as a single itself, and smashed the pop charts open in 1996! It was a very big track for me on Radio Friendly and in the Back Bar of Henry's. An earlier vocal piece from the same song formed the centrepiece to the massive “Rose Rouge” jazz house track by St Germain a few years later, a tune
which is probably in the top ten biggest club tracks that this city has ever seen!

Marlena Shaw has made music that blurs the lines between soul, blues, jazz and r&b and her albums still stand up to repeated listens today. Tracks like “Liberation Conversation” are some of the finest soul tunes ever written and one of the wonderful things about her is that she is still performing excellently. I met her briefly before the gig and was stuck by how much of a star she still was today. I'm never star-struck normally but I have to admit I was initially nervous talking to her. She is not-to-be-fucked with but i respect that.Overall, she was cool though and provided excellent jingles. She was delighted with my "California Soul" shirt too, though, since Ashford and Simpson wrote it, she observed that she would not be entitled to get any royalties!

Aside from a dodgy Diva moment the gig was excellent. Her voice and delivery are still top class and she is as bout as funny as any performer I have seen. I must mention that the Flying Monkey's played a nicely received and accomplished jazzy instrumental warm up too while Marlena's band (featuring ex-members of Galliano) were unreal too! I spun a soul set after and it was great to play some of my favourite tracks of all time to a nice, if dwindling, crowd! A lot of them were old friends from my early days of Sir Henrys and it was great to catch up. Later on I ended up with a few of them back in Jim Comet's gaff and we had a relaxing end to a very nice evening!


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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at