Issue 7 12/98

FolkWorld Live Review

A Localised Gaelic Storm

at the Boat Race Cambridge

By Kathy Tan

“I was Di Caprio’s body double”, quips lead vocalist Patrick Murphy, as he does that slow hand movement that sparks appreciative laughter from the audience. Yep, if you’re wondering why the name ‘Gaelic Storm’ sound so familiar, it’s because they are the steerage party band in James Cameron’s recent Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Titanic’. Gaelic Storm

It’s not hard to see why the band were picked to star in the film. A hearty mix of good humour, a sense of fun and pure slapstick were the ingredients to the evening’s special brew, and hey, the music wasn’t bad either! Downing their individual pints of Guinness in fifteen seconds flat as they sang through the seven (!) verses of ‘Seven Drunken Nights’ was apparently the standard party trick of the evening, and the audience cheered them on no end.

Traditional jigs, reels and polkas were interspersed with songs where the boys sung their hearts out. From the ‘Leaving of Liverpool’ to ‘South Australia’, the songs reflected the fact that although all the band members are currently living in Los Angeles, they come from places as disparate as Zambia and Cork. Samantha Hunt’s eclectic fiddling was accompanied by Steve Twigger’s guitar, whilst the range of percussion instruments was impressive, ranging from Shep Lonsdale’s African djembe to Stephen Wehmeyer’s bodhran. Gaelic Storm

Currently on tour and heading for London next, the band have been promoting their debut self-titled CD, which reached fifth place on the world music charts in L.A. They have also appeared on American television programmes like ‘Entertainment Tonight’, ‘CNN’s Show Biz Today’ and ‘E! Entertainment Television’. Noticeably, the band endeavour to enjoy themselves fully at every gig they play. As Lonsdale says, “Our audiences can’t help noticing how much fun we’re really having. The very heart and soul of traditional Irish folk music is celebrating life.”

With Patrick Murphy introducing each song in the way of the seanchai, the traditional story-teller, complete with a huge dose of Irish wit, it was an evening of pure entertainment, better than anything Hollywood could ever produce on celluloid.

For more info, check out Gaelic Storm’s webpage

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