Booking artists for live gigs can be a tricky business. There are the submissions to wade through, the balance of genre and experience, bands or solo artists, everyones schedules, a thousand little details that can shape your event into a success or a total nightmare. Sometimes it is the easiest thing in the world and sometimes it’s akin to organising the musical olympics, in a tent, with no phone, on fire. However, it’s the nature of the job, and when it all comes together, it’s beyond worth it. Now, I only mention this because when it came to book the artists for our launch we had the usual sit down to discuss what we wanted to present and realised that this wasn’t a showcase for a new artist, or a new EP, this was to showcase, well, us. OH. GOD.
It’s easy to champion and promote someone else, it’s another thing to toot your own horn and announce “Look at us!”. So we decided to look to artists we have worked with before, people we have a working relationship with, who took a chance working with us as much as we took on promoting them as artists. And that’s when the smile started to spread across both our faces. It’s said so often that I don’t think we even really hear it anymore, but christ we have so much talent for one wee place. We read through a list of people we had gigged with, promoted, invited to showcases and it was just a list of immense music. New artists, young artists, established musicians, exciting bands, they are all there.
So we sent out the emails and as the yes replies started to come back we would say to each other ‘God aren’t we so lucky’, and yes we really are lucky to know these people and know their work but also, no it’s not luck because these musicians and hundreds more like them are there, eager to gig, approachable and ready to work. The gigging culture in Northern Ireland may be slightly on it’s arse, the venues are changing, the whole nature of music as a business is changing, but the creativity, the need to create new music is there stronger than ever.
That’s what we want to achieve, that’s what we want to encourage. Crowds and spaces for live music. So yeah, ‘Look a us!’ because we want a chance and a space to say ‘look at them!’ because that’s the whole point of anything we do at Bird & Bramble.
We officiallly launch on Sunday 28th May, at the Oh Yeah Centre as part of Womens Work Festival 2017 and what follows is a quick bio on each of the artists that will be performing, we are incredibly grateful to be able to work with all these great acts again. Some of them you may know, it’s Northern Ireland so some of them you may be related to, going out with, live next door to, some you may not have heard before. So here goes…
Susie-Blue are, well, they are a 4 piece band that literally fill the room. An indie rock sound filled with powerful lyrics. They were recently featured in HOTPRESS with their newest single ‘Be a Lady’ which looks at gender roles and stereotyping. They definitely fit the bill of ‘ones to watch’ in 2017. Take a look at their website for more links and information.
Emer is a singer/songwriter from Belfast, and possibly some sort of wizard because I have seen her gig and don’t understand how it all happens. She creates music from loops and samples and guitars and vocals, but even all that is under selling it. She makes you wonder where she has hidden the rest of the band! It’s soulful and engaging and talented performing. Check out her facebook page for more details.
So Amy feels like she sort of fell out of the sky. I mean that in the best way. She sort of appeared through whispers of ‘oh you should check out this girl’, then all of a sudden there she was, with this voice. She is timeless without losing her edge, raw and vulnerable with incredible songwriting and lyrics. She has just released a video for her new track, listen and you will listen to her forever, I promise.
Lauren came to our attention in 2015 when she won Chordblossom’s Kickstart. A singer songwriter and purveyor of all things Ukulele, she has a sweet, folksy sound. Hailing from Tyrone, Lauren has immersed herself in the local scene, and being a relative newcomer, she is a shining example of what you can achieve with talent and hard work. She has crowdfunded a new EP, found herself at the top of the Bandcamp newcomers and gigged extensively.
Mandy has been writing her own material for a few years now and her development as an artist is clear to see. Joined by her husband Graham her live performances are full of melodic soul and beautiful harmonies. Lyrically thoughtful she writes incredibly personal and insightful songs with a slight western, Appalachian feel to her sound.
Gemma was a 343 applicant what feels like many moons ago. She is an energetic songwriter and an exciting live experience. She has gigged extensively in local festivals and through songwriting competitions which she has deservedly done very well in. We are so excited for her to be joining us again.
Sister Ghost are a force of nature, a blistering sound that grabs your attention and dosen’t let up. We had the absolute pleasure of hosting their EP launch at the end of last year and are looking forward to a rare acoustic experience from them at the launch.
Arlo is a new venture for us, teaming up with the immensely talented Teddy Charles Jr. 3 part harmonies take the lead with folk inspired guitars.
So that’s your lot. All these amazing artists will be joining us at the Oh Yeah centre on the 28th May from 7pm for the official launch of Bird & Bramble. As always all proceeds at the door are split equally between the acts.