Funny how things go


A few years ago a friend of Iain's dropped by the studio to say hi and show the place to a young Parisienne singer.  Myself and Jean-Paul got to chatting, speaking in serial-numbers and gear related gobbledegook pretty much straight away.  Standard studio fare it must be said.  A pleasure to share a bottle of wine with, and much fun it was to listen to Iain and him tell tales of early Black Box days.

A number of years later JP passed by the studio again.  He asked me if I'd be interested in working with him on a record he was making with an African band called Tinariwen.  A friend of mine in Dublin had given me Amassakoul a few years previously, I really liked that record so I was more than happy to work with JP on this record.  We spent a few hard weeks compiling and editing the record, it was recorded in very much a "field recording" method, so there was a lot of listening to do and choices to be made.  A number of weeks later we finished the Imidiwan album.

A year later I was again asked if I'd care to mix the following Tinariwen record.  I was explained how it was a different approach to the band.  Somewhere between a collaborative and acoustic record - needless to say, though I seem to be, I was delighted to be working on another of their albums.  There was a lot more to do on this one.  The two producers, Jean-Paul and Ian Brennan, had recorded a lot of material in the desert and had invited others to join them and add to the recordings.  

We spent a couple of weeks at a studio in Paris building the mixes, listening through the various takes of songs with Ian and Jean-Paul passionately arguing over where the record should get to.  Passions ran high from time to time, it was indicative how how much we all believed in the band.  We later adjourned to Black Box to mix a few more songs and fine tune the work we had been doing in Paris and after a few days last spring Ian headed over the John Golden to master the album that has been released as Tassili.

Some months later I found myself playing with my old band the Frames at the Other Voices festival in Dingle in Kerry, only to be rudely awoken early one morning by a message from Ian to say that Tassili had been nominated for a Grammy.  I'm fortunate to be from a musical background that places a huge value on performance and during the mixing of Tassili I was struck many times by the potency of the band's performances.  It's really gratifying to see that kind of authenticity being acknowledged.  

So very happy for everyone involved.

You can hear some of the record here:


Chips and Old Blocks 'n all

Here's a letter that Lughán had printed in The Irish Times Today.  Proud Dad Moment...


A chara, – The only truly abhorrent element of this Budget is the cut in overseas development aid. Development money goes to places with no living memory or realistic hope of prosperity. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin (one of the six vice-presidents of the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa) has imposed domestic austerity that may cause serious discomfort and anxiety; his cuts to global aid, however, will cause death.

I ask for empathy: it is not such a long time since we were in the grasps of famine – and we know well the scarring that colonisation leaves. Ireland has always punched above its weight with regard to global aid: let our banking reputation rise and fall, but please don’t tamper with what makes us proud to call this place home. – Yours, etc,


St Columbanus Road,

Dublin 14.


Last week a huge gathering of friends and family got together to play a show to celebrate the life of our departed friend, Mic Christopher. It was such a wonderful gathering, a night of friendship and music. How great it was to be reminded of where we all came from musically and to see all the different roads that people have travelled upon. I'm so sure Mic would have been proud.

Start blog

For a number of years now I've tried to write a blog.  Several iterations have been started and few have moved far beyond a programmed reminder on my phone.  I enjoy writing and I enjoy telling a story, so a blogging adventure seemd like a logical destination at some point.  So here I am doing it.
I recently wrote for a friend a list of the things that were the most ispiring and important to me so I'm guessing that these facets of my life will make it into these entries.  Amongst these (in no particular order) are - eating, guitars, family, coffee (especially when accompanied by madeleines),  travelling, gadgets, music, running and laughing.  When I wrote that list in my mind I included recording equipment with gadgets, but I guess that deseves to be a category in and of itself, as, Lord knows, I like to talk about gear.
I also like to take photographs, some of which I may put up here, and if allowed perhaps some of the people I'm lucky enough to work with will allow me post some of their music here also.
I've read that the best way to make something a habit is to do it every day for thirty days.  So tht will be my first test - to see if I can make a blog entry every day for thirty days...…….!