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John Muldowney

Last chance to get your Islander tickets

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Last updated Monday, July 17, 10pm
THIS is an important notice regarding Islander tickets to this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival. The discounted tickets have been on sale since Wednesday, July 5, and we are delighted to say that they are nearly all gone!

Island residents who have booked tickets are asked to collect their tickets from Early’s Bar by Wednesday, July 19, at the latest.

Members of the island diaspora who can’t make it home until Friday can still pick their tickets up then, but are asked to please contact Jerry directly on Mobile 0878054246 or send a direct message to the Early’s Bar Facebook page to confirm that they are definitely taking the tickets, as demand has been very high for the Islander tickets.

Due to such an enhanced line-up at this year’s Swell, there will be no free resident passes issued this year and there is only a very small amount of discounted Islander tickets left. So to avoid disappointment, purchase your tickets as soon as possible from Early’s.

Members of the Arranmore Diaspora also have the chance to book tickets for themselves, if you can’t purchase them in person before the festival. You can do so by contacting Jerry directly on Mobile 0878054246 or sending a direct message to the Early’s Bar Facebook page.

If you do miss out on the Islander tickets, we would still love to see many of you at the festival as your support is very important to us. Day passes will still be available on the website. We thank you all for your understanding and support.

Swell is a homecoming for Spats Colombo

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WHEN Spats Colombo perform on the Stáitse na nGael (Irish Stage) at Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore later this month it will very much be a homecoming.

The band has been together for several years now and the current line-up features no less than three Donegal natives – Not bad for a Connemara-based band.

Spats Colombo features Donegal’s own Caroline Ní Dhubhchoin from Falcarragh (vocals), Stephen Curran from Castlefinn (drums) and Letterkenny man Micheal Ó Ciaraidh (fiddle).

The band’s line-up is completed by founding member, Simon Noble from Oxford on vocals, Grainne Bleasdale (vocals) and Brendan Feeney on bass.

Micheal said: “We have a lot of different members of the group all from different schools of musical thought. Caroline brings a traditional Irish quality to the vocals while my background in classical violin playing is probably noticeable.

“Simon (who writes the music) has a diverse taste in music – from the likes of The Beatles to the Mamas & Papas and people can tell us that they can hear these influences in the close harmony, easy-listening nature of our songs. So – alternative Irish language music is probably a safe summary of our style!”

Jokingly known amongst referred to as the unofficial TG4 House Band by friends, as a lot of them work at the Irish language station, it is only fitting that Spats Colombo will be one of the highlights on this year’s Stáitse na nGael at Swell Festival which will be compered by RTE Raidio na Gaeltacht broadcaster Donall Mac Ruairí.

Micheal said: “Although our musical tastes differ, we definitely all share a common love of the Irish language and culture.

“There has been a real new energy and life to the Irish language in recent years so it’s great to be a part of that in some small way.

“There are also some amazing individuals and groups who are doing great things musically for the language. The likes of Muireann NicAmhlaoibh and IMLÉ.

“We were nominated for Banna na Bliana at this year’s Gradaim Nós in the Sugar Club in Dublin and I remember talking to a music reviewer on the night who complimented the performances as progressive musically…and that the music just happened to be in the Irish language.

“I thought that was really well put. And, I suppose because of our strong Donegal connection we’re particularly excited about playing Swell.

“We’ve only been able to do one tour of Donegal as a band, so it’s great to get back up there again to play for our friends and family.”

Spats Colombo are well experienced in getting festival crowds going having performed at most of the major festivals in Ireland. “We played the Pobal Gaeilge at Electric Picnic the last two years running and really enjoyed playing the Bulmers Tent at Body & Soul, as well.”

Meanwhile in his day job, Micheal will be going into his fourth year in the television business this September and with that is taking on some new roles including starting work on a brand new online platform for young adults launching soon on TG4.

“I can’t say too much about it yet, but the details will be publicised soon. It’s been a busy year between fronting the 10@10 schools campaign with Operation Transformation, Dancing With The Stars and working with Art Parkinson and Miriam O’Callaghan as ambassadors for Seachtain na Gaeilge earlier in the year. Outside of television and social media, I’m enjoying working on my radio show with Galway-based station Raidió na dTreabh.

“Check Spats Colombo out on Facebook and give us a like to follow our progress. We have links there to our Soundcloud and iTunes pages. I’m a bit of a Snapchat addict so anyone of a similar disposition can find me on @irishmike-carey or on Instagram: @_mickyc_.”

The Stáitse na nGael will also feature Moya Brennan, Clann Mhic Ruairi amongst others. Other highlights at this year’s Swell include Mundy, Mark Geary, Orchid Collective, The California Feetwarmers, The Emerald Armada and many more.

Click here to buy your tickets online and follow the festival on Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival and Twitter: @SwellFestival

We have lots of comedy talent at this year’s Swell

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We are delighted to announce that we have a host of comedy acts once again performing at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore.

Both Saturday and Sunday, comedian Barry Mack will be hosting the comedy showcase from 3 to 4.30pm on the Kinnegar Stage feauring some great talent such as Gary lynch, Peter E Davidson, Kieran Mena, Jessica Harkin, Sara Ni Cuireann, Mary Flanigan, Liam Harris and Brian O’Toole.

In the past year, Barry Mack has written for RTE Radio, appeared in a short film that was featured in the Underground Film Festival and another that was short-listed for RTE Short Screen. He is currently touring his fourth one man show ‘The MackDaddy’ about fatherhood, social networking and Shakespeare.

Ireland’s leading mid-Life crisis comedian, Gary Lynch has performed all over Ireland, UK & Scandinavia, and has made over 600 appearances at the Edinburgh Festival alone over the past five years.

Sara Ni Cuireann, a bearded culchie from Gaoth Dobhair, has been living the dream in Belfast and is looking forward to performing at Swell having attended previously.

Jessica Harkin is a children’s entertainer trying desperately to break into adult market because children are terrifying and drunk people love magic.

Liam Harris is a Dublin-based comedian who has performed around the country. This is his second year performing at Swell Festival after a stellar headline gig last year he is not to be missed.

Brian O’Toole is a young comedian from Carlow who has performed in clubs all over Ireland as well as Longitude and the Edinburgh Fringe. If you see Brian on the street please give him a hug. He needs it.

Mary Flanigan has been gigging for three years, making a name for herself in the comedy circuit across the UK and Ireland. She was a semi-finalist in the Funny Women 2016 awards, has been featured on BBC Radio Ulster, and has written for Late Licence on BBC NI. She is taking her one-woman show to the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe, ‘Mary Flanigan Is A Pisces, Obviously’.

With a delivery as rough as the Belfast estate he grew up in, Kieran Mena gives his eccentric outlook on life, Donald Trump and time travel, having supported well know names such as Rich Hall, John Bishop. Kieran has preformed internationally to wide-spread acclaim.

As a member of sketch group Love the Concept, Peter E Davidson has performed at the Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh fringe. As a writer he’s written for BBC Radio 4, 4 Extra Ulster and BBC NI. He is one of the regular host of Masons Comedy Club. In 2016 he performed his new stand up show “Guns N’ Rose” as part of the Belfast Comedy festival and appeared as a guest panelist on BBC’s The Blame Game.

Tickets for this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore, July 21 to 23, are available here and follow the festival on Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival and Twitter: @SwellFestival

Bigí linn ar an toinn i mbliana arís ag Féile Swell

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Tá sé buailte linn arís Féile Ceoil agus Ealaíne Swell suite sa Ghaeltacht ar Oileán Árainn Mhóir amach uaidh chósta Dhún na nGall agus dar ndóigh béim ollmhór á chur ar cheol agus ar fhilíocht na Gaeilge ann.

Don dara bliain as a chéile beidh Stáitse na nGael ag cur ardán ar fáil do cheoltóirí, idir óg agus aosta, atá ag cleachtadh a gceirde as Gaeilge.

‘S é Dónall Mac Ruairí, láithreoir le RTÉ Raidió Na Gaeltachta, a bheidh mar fhear a tí arís i mbliana agus é ag súil go mór le fáilte a chur roimh ghlór ‘Clannad’ Máire Ní Bhraonáin agus a clann, a bhí mar phríomhaíonna ar an stáitse anuraidh.

Cé go mbeidh go leor acu sin a bhí i lár an aonaigh linn arís i mbliana, Clann Mhic Ruairí, Emma Ní Fhíoruisce, Árchú, JJ Ó Dochartaigh, Lauren Ní Chasaide agus Megan Nic Ruairí, beidh maighdeana go leor ag teacht isteach ar an toinn i mbliana. Ina measc siúd beidh Spats Columbo, Diane Ní Chanainn agus príomhaíonna na bliana seo Imlé, buíon a bhfuil clú agus cáil bainte amach acu mar cheannródaithe cheol comhaimseartha na nGael.

Muna bhfuil go leor ansin, beidh idir fhilí agus cheoltóirí den scoth as Albain inár gcuideachta, Síneag Nic A’ tSaoir, Pàdraig Mac Aoidh agus bean a mheallfadh an fhuiseog ón aer Kathleen MacInnes.

Dar ndóigh, ar na stáitsí eile, beidh ceoltóirí agus buíonta d’achan chineál Mundy, Mark Geary, Orchid Collective, The California Feetwarmers, The Emerald Armada agus go leor eile nach iad.

Bigí linn ar an toinn i mbliana arís ag Féile Ceoil agus Ealaíne Swell ar Oileán Árainn Mhóir, 21ú go 23ú Iúl, gabh chuig agus lean muid ar Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival agus ar Twitter: @SwellFestival

Mark Geary is playing Swell 2017!

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This year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore island (July 21 to 23) features some fantastic acts and it’s all thanks to friendships being made over the years.

The organisers are thrilled to announce that well-known Irish singer/songwriter Mark Geary will be one of the headline acts at this year’s Swell Festival.

Mark Geary is a songwriter’s favourite and first struck a chord with Swell co-founder John Muldowney when the well-known Letterkenny and saw the singer on RTÉ’s Other Voices.

“He just blew me away singing Volunteer and I promptly bought his album 33 1/3 Grand Street which has been a firm favourite and go-to album of mine since.”

John said he hadn’t heard about Mark in a while, but when he discovered that the singer had a new album coming out, he promptly placed his order.

Through his interaction with the website, John discovered that Mark did a lot of the work behind the scenes himself and the two struck up a conversation and became friendly online.

John said: “He actually sent me two albums and I emailed back thanking him. He befriended me on Facebook and when I sent out the blanket invite to Swell Festival, he sent me a personal message thanking me for the invitation to the festival and we started talking about it.

“I told him that we didn’t have a large budget to work with, while he told me that he had a new album coming out that he was hoping to promote. So between the jigs and the reels I am so delighted that Mark Geary will be performing at this year’s Swell.”

John also paid tribute to the young and emerging talent performing at this year’s festival, attributing many of the acts to the connections made to BIMM Dublin Music College.
“There have been so many musicians from Donegal who have attended BIMM, performed at Swell and then also told all their friends about us who in turn want to play.

“We also have a number of ‘local heroes’ playing who have cut their teeth and regularly event like Disturbance hosted by Nigel Hegarty at No 58 in Letterkenny, acts like Lunch Machine, Aul Boy, The Barbiturates and many more,” he said.

Other headline acts include Moya Brennan & Family, Mundy, Clann Mhic Ruairi, The Emerald Armada, The California Feetwarmers and Orchid Collective.

John and the team are also pleased that Earagail Arts Festival are back on board hosting the Mountain Stage, two days of electronica, contemporary, traditional and folk artists in music and spoken word, hosting local emerging artists, national and international guests from Ireland, Scotland and the USA in The Barn – Ireland’s only nomadic, agricultural outbuilding created by Belfast based artist, inventor and explorer Paddy Bloomer.

To buy tickets for this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore, July 21 to 23, click here and follow the festival on Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival and

The First Lady Of Celtic Music Moya Brennan is back at Swell

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The First lady of Celtic Music, Moya Brennan, makes a very welcome return to Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore Island in Donegal later this month.

As the lead singer of world-renowned Clannad, Moya has been one of the greatest ambassadors to Donegal and the Irish language for over four decades and continues to promote her native county with pride to this day.

Held in high regard by the Irish and world music industry, Moya has also built up a very strong relationship with artists of all ages through her monthly monthly event Clubeo, which she hosts with RTÉ Raidio na Gaeltachta, Dónall Mac Ruairí.

Many of those artists have also made the leap from the world famous stage at Leo’s Tavern in Meenaleck, Crolly to the stages at Swell Festival over the past few years.

Moya Brennan & Family, husband Tim Jarvis, daughter Aisling and son Pól, will be joined by a host of other talented Irish language performers, including Clann Mhic Ruairí, Spats Colombo Emma Ni Fhioruisce, Lauren Ni Chasaide and others.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to see Moya and her family’s magical performance, and the emotionally stirring Clann Mhic Ruairi, on the Mountain Stage at last year’s Swell will tell you, you don’t want to miss these performances!!!

Swell Festival is proud to be able to support the promotion of the Irish language. Bigí Linn!!

The fourth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival takes place on Arranmore Island, Donegal from Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23. Click here to purchase tickets.

Scenery are playing Swell 2017!

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Rock and soul five-piece Scenery have wasted no time since forming in Derry~Londonderry just over a year ago. Having already warmed up audiences for neighbouring heavyweights PORTS and Making Monsters, the band are fresh off their first string of gigs across the channel. Band members Stephen Whiteman (vocals), David McConnell (guitar), Peter Howard (saxophone) Adam McCourt (bass) and Ruairi Coyle (drums) recently recorded their debut EP Far Out live at Smalltown America Studios and had it mastered by Pete Maher, whose CV boasts work with U2, The Rolling Stones, Noel Gallagher and Jack White.

The California Feetwarmers will heat things up Swell!

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We are so excited that the California Feetwarmers will be performing at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival.

The masters of ragtime, Dixieland blues and early swing are renowned for an earthy depth of character that sets them apart from others who have followed that throwback path to New Orleans, Circa 1920.

Their boisterous on-stage antics are solidly underpinned by playing that is as close to the source as it can be.

This is the band that Keb’ Mo’ sought out to provide an air of authenticity when he recorded his latest album, BluesAmericana. The collaboration won them a Grammy-nomination in the Best American Roots Performance category.

Based in Los Angeles, they stylishly down and re-work old classics, re-visiting material from The Blue Ridge Playboys, Scott Joplin, The Memphis Jugband and Emile Grimshaw’s Rag Pickers.

Last year they played to 1000 revellers when they sold out Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket during the city’s Celtic Connections Festival.

When Keb’ Mo’ grabbed them to provide the right feel for the track that has won them so much attention, he did so as he wanted it to be “a joyous thing – a party,” he told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview…Now couldn’t we all do with a bit of that in our lives right now!

Click here to buy your tickets online and follow the festival on Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival and Twitter: @SwellFestival