Galway Advertiser Galway musicians of 2017

Rofi James, A Lilac Decline, Tracy Bruen

Galway band of 2017

QUITE A number of bands have begun to hit their stride this year, meaning the future is looking very good for Galway music. Among the hardest working, but who, importantly, have the songs as well, are Rofi James.

The Galway pop-rock trio served notice of their intentions when debut single, ‘Fool For Your Love’, came out in November 2016, being placed on High Rotation on iRadio, eventually making the Top 10 Most Requested Tracks in February 2017. This was followed by ‘Open Eyes’ which has been nominated for Best Single at the 2017 Pure M Awards, and was the winning track in the RTÉ 2FM #PlayThePicnic competition.

They have supported Picture This, Hermitage Green, and Ryan Sheridan; made their debut appearance at Electric Picnic last September; and close 2017 with the release of the new single 'Reason’, and a gig in The Loft at Seven on Friday December 22. We look forward to seeingh what the next 12 months will yield from Rofi James.

Galway solo artist of 2017

WHAT A year it has been for Galway based, Swedish, artist, Cecilia Danell - in March she held a major exhibition of her work in the Galway Arts Centre; her book, The Last Wilderness, was selected for the Dublin Art Book Fair; she partook in a group exhibition in Belfast, and showed her talents extended to the musical with her debut album, The Mountain Rages (Rusted Rail ), released under the anagrammatic pseudonym of A Lilac Decline.

The Mountain Rages is a beautiful album of gentle, lyrical, yet intensely personal, folk influenced songs. Thematically it moves from vulnerability, to yearning, to faltering hope, culminating in it's emotional centrepiece - ‘A Fine Day At Last’, its mellow Velvets-esque feel building into a giant sigh of relief.

Given how the songs are built around Cecilia’s voice and acoustic guitar, it would be tempting to place her within the loaded 'singer-songwriter’ category, but listen closer, there is also shoegaze and indie, even just voice and percussion (on wine glasses ). Indeed, both the artist and her music possess more diversity than is initially apparent.

Best Galway Album - 2017

THE AMOUNT of good music released in Galway this year was staggering - indeed it's hard to remember a better one than 2017 in this regard - but despite stiff competition, Tracy Bruen's debut album Mirror (Citóg Records ), is our Best Galway Album 2017, for the maturity and brilliance of its songwriting; the emotional and intellectual depth of it's lyrics and music; it' ability to balance a sense of fun with the deeply serious, and its melding of indie, folk, country, jazz touches, quirky prog-pop, and musical theatre, while retaining a focussed, cohesive sound.

Tracy is a singer of tremendous depth and range. Not restrained by genre or one vocal style, she puts her voice at the service of the emotion of the song, and in each performance, it is obvious we are not hearing an actress perform, but are getting a glimpse into the singer’s mind and heart. We should also note the contribution of her band - guitarist Padraic Joyce, bassist Hob Junker, violinist Stephanie Swanton, and drummer Adam Downey - among the front rank of Galway musicians.

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