Monday, May 29, 2006

An audience with Strict!

Had a great night in the Savoy on Saturday. For about an hour and a half it was as good as I've ever spun and everything worked incredibly! When that happens DJing is the best hjob in the world and i wouldn't swap my headphones for Hugh Heffner's dressing gown. I played loads of old soul classics in the middle of the night and it just lifted the place-the rest of the night was cool too and I played everything from "1979" by the Smashing Pumpkins to "Kick Push" by Lupe Fiasco and "Maneater" by Nelly Furtado.
Afterwards i caught up with Strict from Arm the Elderly, the band who played the other room. MC Strict is a character and a half who I have known for many years and he was the first guy I shared an apartment with when I moved out of home years ago. We had some great times back then as we were both young hip-hop freaks with a love of rock music too! But that's not why he's in my blog.
Strict's current band Arm the Elderly are doing really well and creating a lot of excitement with their brand of rap/metal. As I said, he's a character and a funny man to be around and he kept those who stayed back for a drink well amused with a string of class jokes! The one about Thor the warriors visit to Cork was particularly funny but It's the way he tells em which had me in bits. But again, that's not why he's in my blog!
Strict is in my blog because he told me that he reads my blog regularly and thinks it's great, but he is dissapointed that he has never been mentioned. Whereas my Bebo page ( has thousands of views already, I'm sometimes suprised if anyone see's this blog at all so I immediately promised Strict I'd include him! It's that simple really, the next time I meet you remind me and you too could be immortalized like Stict!
Well in an attempt to attract one or two more views to this blog I'm gonna put in a picture of my Godchild Anna, on her first birthday yesterday. Doesn't she rock! And she didn't even have to twist my arm like Strict! Nah seriously have a sconce at his band at They are cover stars now too don't ya know!

Back is the incredible!

So went a classic tune by Public Enemy and this week was very much a case of returning or going back in some form or another. Went back to spin at Suas on Monday after my show. Suas is a really nice bar in the city centre and I was DJing for the launch of Wagamamma's new book. I DJ'd there before at a similar event and it's a really nice bar. It went okay even though I've had bsuier nights but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Another return happened on Thursday as I invited the Impressionists back for an appearance on Teenage Thursdays (see archives for more on them). They are the first act to be invited back and I wanted to acknowledge their recent success in winning the national final of Blast-Beats battle of the bands. Evrything went smooth and I was happy with the interview (pic below of them!))

I don't really do Fridays in the Savoy much but myself and my Jam partner Colm Kenefick decided to DJ together this week and do an end of exam special for Jam. It was stuffed early on and it was great to be back in Jam on a Friday and we now look forward to having some quality nights there over the summer. We have the amazing Giles Peterson this Friday and former World DJ Champ Cash Money returns on July 2nd, the same night as Kanye does his first Cork date. I'm organising a hip-hop week in Cork that week and I've loads of acts lined up, aswell as workshop showcases, radio specials and lots more! I'll post details soon, meanwhile if ya wanna win tickets to Kanye's second gig or exclusive passes to an intimate Republic of Loose gig in RedFM, stay tuned during the week as I'm givin em' away!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Brazilian Jazz Carnival comes to Cork!

Brazilian jazz and funk pioneers visited Cork last night for a gig in Cyprus Avenue! These guys have been combining soul and jazz with samba for years and their classic track "Jazz Carnival" is one of the most influential tracks ever produced. It used be a huge tune for me back in the day on the "Yo Latino" night I used do in the Half Moon, so I was well looking forward to them playing an intimate gig in Cork! It was raining and miserable for over 24 hours though, which didn't really help things, and I was really worried when only a few people were in the venue by the time I arrived. It filled up a bit alright but ultimately the crowd was dissapointing for a band of this stature, and a lot of the big jazz heads in the city didn't seem to know it was on.

The crowd there mainly heard about it word of mouth and in fairness, everyone was really into it and eagerly received the 2 hour session of mind-blowing musicanship. The band themselves were really humble too, and clearly delighted to be spreading the good vibes that they have been consistently bringing for many years. They are still recording with the excellent Far Out label and they played a mixture of old and new tunes. They paid tributes to musical legends such as Antonia Carlos Jobim and Chick Corea and played a nice re-working of my own favourite song of all time, "What's Goin On" by Marvin Gaye. They even took a break half way through, one of my buddies commented that it was the first time he saw a split show since "Little Red Riding Hood" in the Opera House years ago! By the later half of the gig we had forgotten about the rain and were instead whisked away into a sunnier world of beautiful jazz, funk, samba and soul by these amazingly talented legends of Brazilian music!

2 young DJ's and one MC!

First of all let me say well done to Joe who joined me on last weeks Teenage Thursdays. I didn't review it properly but we had a good chat on all things hip-hop and it was great to talk to a fellow hip-hop enthusiast! Last night I had a pair of DJ's up with me (OC and DJC) aswell as a young rapper from Shamrock Lawn (Sintar). It went realy well and we got loads of texts and positive reaction. I played a tune from each of them. We started off with a clever DJ mash up created by DJ C, who threw 50 Cents "In Da club" over Snoops "Drop It Like Its Hot" Hip-hop isn't even his main forte but he's defo got some musical talent as the blend was effortless. I then proceded to play one of Sintar's tunes. I've had his demo for a few weeks and have been impressed by the way he has put together and structured his songs. "Rappin Is My Style" is a low-riding Easy E sounding west coast styled number featuring banging beats and quality lyrics and flows. He makes his own beats aswell whcih is great. We finished the show with OC's remix of Kanye's Shirley Bassey's sampling "Diamonds From Sierre Leone". He brings this tune into the banging dance territory whcih so many youngsters love and fair play because it totally brought the original to a different level. That's what remixing is all about! These guys are great and we had a really good laugh, I hope to hear much more from them all in the future!

Monday, May 15, 2006

I Get the Sweetest, Sweetest Feeling!

Those of us lucky enough to be hooked on soul music will get pretty excited when there's a good opportunity to spin our tunes! I spin a wide variety of music on the radio and in the clubs and even though hip-hop and soul are probably my speciality, I rarely play long sets dedicated to one genre anymore. My All Day Sunday in the Woodford this Sunday was the perfect opportunity to do a soul special, and who better to call than my man Phil, who was the main man involved in setting up Cork's Chapter 5 soul club a few years ago.

Phil has since moved out to Mitchelstown and set up a record shop, so it was a rare chance to hear his music in a nice laidback setting with no time restictions. Like all of my guests in the Woodford, I choose Phil mainly because I wanted to hear him spin for a few hours! I'm also aware that almost everyone to hears this music loves it and appreciates it, so it was set up perfectly for a long and lazy summers Sunday evening. I was pretty wrecked as I had been in both the Savoy and RedFM the previous night before playing footy on Sunday, but as soon as I put a copy of "Jimmy Mack" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas on my turntable at home, I knew I was in the mood! I dragged as much old 7"s and albums as I could, and off I went!

It was pretty quiet in there at around 4PM when I started, and I immediately put on an epic 12 minute personal fav my Rick Holmes, calld 'Remember to Remember" This slow and mellow Roy Ayers produced cut sums up my life philosophy as Rick namechecks a list of influential historical and musical figures such as Martin Luther King, Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane. He roll-calls a number of their famous lines and is backed by a chorus of "Pass the information, extend the knowledge" by some rare groove backing singers. This sums up exactly what I believe music should be about, and as Phil joined me a few minutes later, I knew we were in for a serious musical lesson for the afternoon. Once he started with Curtis Mayfield, I was hooked!

The best thing I can say about Phil though is that, even though he is a serious soul record collecter with one of the rarest collections in the country, like myself he believes that music should be shared with everyone and not just the purists. Many in the northern soul and rare soul scene that he grew up in would frown on such beliefs, but thankfully Phil has seen that music is a gift that we should be sharing and not hiding, and thankfully for me and those lucky enough to have been in the Woodford, he delivered hours of musical joy with record after record of killer tunes last Sunday! I love the laidback nature of these gigs and as we chatted between tunes Phil offered a facinating insight into the heyday of Nortern Soul that he grew up in. His baby daughter Martha Etta (dig the name!) briefly joined us with his missus and nearly junped out of her buggy at the music that she evidently is already in love with!

We were also joined by Shane Johnson for a drink, and the three of us were laughing at the similarities between the legendary soul Meccas such as Wigan, and the club which myself and Shane played at for years, Sir Henrys. While many refuse to let go of those amazing days, I'm glad that we all appreciate that we were lucky to have experienced such nights over a long period of time, and have moved on to other things with similar enthusiam and passion. The spirit of great music and great nights is always alive and as Phil dug out another rare 45 that Shane and myself didn't know, I felt grateful for all the DJ's (including both of those next to me) who have shaped my own musical education through the years.

Even though the bar never got to busy all day there was always a respectable crowd and enough music fans to get us both well in the mood. Phil was buzzing over someone asking him what a certain tune was and we both agreed that the simple things like that mean so much. I've never lost the sight of the fact that when I got a new record when I was about 11 or 12 I wanted to share it with people and often my friends or whoever might just shrug their shoulders. Even having one person come up and acknowledge a good tune years later is something to be treasured and that's why DJing is the best job in the world! I even managed to play one or two that Phil didn't know and he enjoyed a re-issue I got of a La Shawn Collins number, but I have to say, as someone with a pretty good knowledge of soul and r&b, I only knew about 25% of the tunes Phil played all day and was overwhelmed with the quality on display. Regular All Day Sunday heads like Ronan Hat and Scottish Steve were also very impressed, and I was went home that night with the melodies and words of a thousand forgotten singers and musicians spinnning around my head! I took a few photos's of our records, check the rare Jimmy Bo one worth over 4 figures! And the Dusty Springfield promo on Atlantic (gasps!) Incidentally, there's also a pic of a young Dj named Joe, who joined me on Teenage Thursdays , by the way! But check out Phil's pristine collection of 7"s, a bunch of tunes that are worth a good few grand alone! But really, on days like this money ain't a thing, it's music and life that brings the sweetest feelings of them all!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More pictures from Roy Keane's Testimonial!

It's been covered extensively by the media so I won't bang on about it all day but It was a fitting tribute to one of my favourite players of all time! I never forget the buzz I got back in 1993 when Roy signed for United. Cork had already had many close links to the reds with everyone from Noel Cantwell to Brian Carey and when Keane joined Denis Irwin it further cemented this special relationship. As a lifelong red I have to say, these last two were up there with the very best and I feel privileged to have went over and seen them play many many times. I can't go over as many times a year as I would like these days and I normally wouldn't go to a testimonial but since Roy left in bad circumstances, I wanted to get some closure and see him in red for the very last time. Watching himself, Scholes, Giggs and Ole play together in the second half was great, and a fitting way to close his United career. Respect!

Some things never go out of fashion

I've always loved DJing at fashion shows because you can play whatever you want and it will sound great to everyone, who are focused on other things aswell as the music! I've been involved with Culture's fashion shows for a few years now and even though I usually prefer to have my Sunday's off, once I get there i'm always bang up for it! The Woodford hosted Culture again last Sunday and Glenda Gilsen was the special guest. The show went well and I spun a few tunes afterwards too. I was getting a bit tired but when my buddy Rossi grabbed the mic for some impromtu MCing (see pic), I started gettin a second wind! He's not a rapper or an MC but it was funny and soon everyone was going a little bit mad! Well some things never go out of fashion, and on Tuesday I was off to my home from home in Manchester, to pay tribute to the one of the sportsman my city has ever seen! I'm not gonna bore ya with tales of my love for all things United, but check out the pics and the blog which i'll post later.

Friday, May 05, 2006

An Interesting day!

Thursday was pretty interesting. Kanye sold out in ten minutes and I was delighted, because we promoted the hell out of it on air and on Bebo! Vic had a few of my young homeboys (Mickey Gatch and Nash) on Cork Talk's back, at 11.30 the previous night, rapping and beat-boxing live on air as they entertained the already building crowd! Class!

My day continued in the Millenium hall of the Cork City Hall where I was guesting for the Cork Community Partnership and speaking on behalf of Cork Drink and Drug Awareness week. I also helped the organiser (Aoife) get a few Cork City players down there (Joe Gamble and Danny Murphy); the more positive role models the better! It was mainly second level students down there and arriving at around half twelve I immediately recognised loads of people from Jam Junior! I checked out the stalls and was impressed by the variety of different community groups offering help and advice for young people.

Just to mention a few, there were stalls by

NeCoDrA-New Communities Drugs Awareness
Mayfield Youth 2000
Mna Feasa
OSS Cork (Domestic Violence Information Resource Centre)
Youth Information Centres
Youth Health Service
Gurranabraher Youth Deveopment Centre
Matt Talbot Adolescent Services
Tabor lOdge Addiction centre
Al-Aonon Family Groups
ANEW (Able and New Women)
Ken McCarthy (Outreach) (Drug Services In Cork)
and much much more

I quickly had some chats to some of the people involved before I spoke to the group of teenagers present. I had nothing prepared so it wasn't the best ever but in fairness, most of them listened up and appreciated the message that I was attempting to deliver. I started out by mentioning the example of the man-of-the-moment Kanye West. I told those present that he is a good example of someone who doesn't do drugs, if he did he wouldn't be able to tour and release music constantly and wouldn't be so motivated and driven. I drew comparisons between Kanye and other people doing positive things. In a nutshell, I reckon it was a lot cooler scoring a goal in Turners Cross, hitting a point in Croke Park or performing at the Savoy than being strung out and broke and with no real friends.

Even those who have boasted about their drug-dealing past (50 Cent etc), would not trade the strides they've made since for it becasue they know at first-hand that drugs (and indeed drink) are only a fleeting escape. I finished by summing up that people are using drugs to escape social and domestic problems, and that the powers that be should make more options available for the young people that are not given enough positive options. Everything in this country is drink orientated and even the so-called positive things like sport (which I Love) are tied into alcohol in some way. It's the same with the music industry aswell but It's important to educate peple about the dangers.

It may sound like a lecture but it certainly wasn't as I hate when young people are talked down to so it was far from that. When the questions started and I was put on the spot I admitted that I had taken drugs myself in the past because it would have been a lie and a joke otherwise. Luckily enough, music is my own drug of choice and has been for a long time and having given up drink myself a few months ago (till June), I tried to explain the benefits it does for motivational purposes. It was madness afterwards as loads of the girls from St Mary's in Macroom accosted me and (very embarassingly) were asking for loads of pics and autographs!!! I gave out a good few CDs and we had a good laugh, I gave them loads of mentions and on the radio last night! I also called out the winners of the sticker caption competition, including the classic "Drive Sober, Don't be a Langer". You can't say it better than that!

One of the many positive options is music and last night a young DJ from Togher, Lenny K, hooked up with me on Teenage Thursdays. His cousin, Dave O, had previously been on and half of his family tree are DJs and music fans, so it was no suprise that Dave went down that road. He is a very nice fella and was comfortable and assured on air, I wish him best for the future! Lenny hopes to get into the Broadcasting course in Scoil Staofan Naoifa so hopefully he'll do well. I wished Lenny good bye and hung around and updated my last blog while in the background the station got taken over by loads of crazyness, as Paul Dee hypnotized loads of people on Victor's Show. Check out his blog for more-Damn, It's Friday already, let it roll!

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    About Me

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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