GIG – Luke Concannon at The Railway Inn – Thursday 20th March 2014

luke concannonI was Born in Leamington Spa, England, to an Anglo-Irish home full of Folk and soul music. It was a pretty happy scene, with the smells of vegetarian Whole food, the quietness of my folks meditating in the evenings, and regular Gatherings of the Irish side where us Grandchildren were immersed in the long nights of guitars, whistles, voices, dancing, and raucousness.

I was singing before I could speak, and having the gift of dyslexia, drew and dreamt well, but had plenty of problems fitting into mainstream education.  At the age of twelve I ended up at a Catholic Liberal Arts school, with bass-player John Parker.  We became good friends, sitting in a room for hours after school playing and writing. We Evolved in to the Duo ‘Nizlopi’. The difficulties at school later inspiring our number one hit, ‘The JCB Song’.

We wrote and performed enthusiastically, and by 2001 were touring the country promoting our first album, Half These Songs Are About You, from open-mic nights to sold-out shows. There was a magical feeling of having our feet in two different camps: one in the folk sessions we had played in since childhood, and the other in our love for contemporary music, much of it black music (Jazz, Soul, Gospel, Ska, Hip-hop) A cottage industry grew around us to act as our record label; a full-time indie run from our spare room. The freedom of being on our own label suited us very well, and we later turned down offers from majors in order to retain a sense of self-governance and an adherence to our own ethics. We were an underground, atavistic, folk/hip hop act, playing some exquisite gigs around the country!

In 2005 we released ‘The JCB song’, a unique Father-and-Son song, and with the poignant online video, the single became a hit.  Suddenly our humble Duo blew up to be a prime-time television “pop” act, playing in the Wembley arena, touring Europe, and becoming a million-record-selling success.

We got to take our music to people all over the world, meet and collaborate with our heroes [Danny Thompson, Rory Mcleod, Alastair Mcintosh, Benjamin Zephania, Damien Dempsey], and shine.  We counted artists such as Daniel Day Lewis, Tony Benn, and Jamie Cullum amongst our admirers, and other young songwriters such as Ed Sheeran site us as a major influence on their music. Our back catalogue of two albums and four EPs contain riches far beyond our one mainstream hit song.

The rapid growth and intensity, however, were too much for a tiny label to handle, and by mid 2008, amidst the stress and strain, Nizlopi and FDM Records decided to take time out. After a four-year respite, we’ve come back to play some wonderful shows together this summer, and hope to record another album in the near future.

In 2009 I hitchhiked from England to Palestine to live intentionally, wildly, and boldly.  I wrote as I went, inspired by the people and places found when going with the wind. A bear found me at dusk in my wild camp in the mountains of Transylvania. A strong Fisherman’s broken heart sang purely. I received some of the legendary Anatolian hospitality from a family who plucked me from the roadside, eventually arriving in Palestine to volunteer as a peace worker. After falling in love, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The trip was inspiring and renewing. It woke me up. I began to see: If these people can work under the hardest of circumstances twelve hours a day just to survive, then why can’t I give my all to the art I breathe for?

The music born from this trip is infused by my heightened sense that we are one people and one land all over the world.  We are in this together, and if we act with that awareness, we slowly become sane and whole again.  These songs are for the poorest, the Broken in nature, and for that which gives Life. They are a contribution to the movement for social and ecological justice…and some are even good to dance to!  All of these stops have led to my debut album ‘Give It All’, a record that contains the joy and the tears of these years in the wilderness. The album launches this Autumn of 2013 with a beautifully broad tour of the UK, and you are all most welcome!

From the Artists website

 

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