Island Sessions off to a Great and Irreverent Start

Yvonne Daly, Mick Flannery and Jeffrey Martin during their Island Sessions gig at Browne’s Bar.  ©Photographs: John Reidy
Relaxing after the inaugural ‘Island Session’ at Browne’s Bar in Castleisland on Sunday night were: Yvonne Daly, Mick Flannery, Jeffrey Martin, Kate McSweeney, Neil and Peter Browne. ©Photograph: John Reidy

It has served many a purpose in the long history of the house, but Browne’s back bar and its ambience was the perfect setting for the inaugural ‘Island Sessions’ on Sunday night.

Organised by Kate and The Mad Ones, the night went down very well with the intimate audience. Many of the attendance clung to the hope that the inaugural bit really is what it means and that there’ll be more of this kind of night in ‘The Island’ in the months ahead.

Widely Expressed

But then the performers on the night had much to do with the hopes for more – which were widely expressed in the immediate afterwards.

Mick Flannery made the trip to Castleisland for the night and he brought American, Jeffrey Martin with him.

Relaxing before their gig they had some close encounters at Kearney’s Bar – from which a song might yet spring – for they’re the kind of boys we’re dealing with here.

Delivered in Person

There were strains of Tom Waits and flecks of John Prine and, for those who occupied the audience seats, there was pure Mick Flannery and Jeffrey Martin.

It was delivered in person, irreverently at times – but then, there was nothing to revere – nothing to fear – nothing to run from.

It was all rounded and soothed by the subtle backing of Mick’s oft times singing partner and aunt, Yvonne Daly. Yvonne fronted for several songs – including their haunting, duetted version of the Seán McCarthy ballad, Shanagolden.

A Running Rapport

The performers kept up a great and running rapport with the audience and they won it over within minutes of stepping up to the mics.

Even though the gig was sold out shortly after being revealed on social media, Kate McSweeney made an advance and brave promise of a magical evening – and every sparking and sparkling second of it manifested itself live before us in one way or another.

Stripped Back Form

“The concept of The Island Sessions is to celebrate the musician in an intimate setting with great sound, to listen to the stories behind the songs they have written and to hear them being performed in a stripped back form,” said Kate McSweeney.

“It is our hope that The Island Sessions will create a sense of atmosphere in the town of Castleisland.

Vino or Cool Beer

“They should provide us with reason to carve time out of busy schedules and relax with a glass of vino or cool beer in hand,” she said.

The first Island Session certainly hit all its targets. A post event pow-wow between Kate and proprietors, Mags and Peter Browne should be a scene-setter and a floor-cleared for more of the same. You will be kept posted.


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