The musical woodwork of Mullingar will be well and truly emptied this weekend as the great, the good, and the grateful of this vibrant scene descend on the Stables for a three-night celebration of the life of one of the pioneers and stalwarts, the late Cani Bruton.
Over 30 bands of all shapes and scales will take the stage from Saturday night at 9pm, continuing on Sunday and Monday, in a tribute known as “Three Cheers for Cani”.
“It started out over one night and then turned into this madness,” laughed his friend, colleague, and event organiser, Noel O’Farrell in conversation with the Advertiser this week.
“Toasts kick off at 9pm [Saturday january 28] and the most important thing in this, really, is three nights of non-stop musical entertainment from musicians of the area with no cover charge. We want people to come in over the weekend to remember him, and this is the musicians’ way of saying ‘well done’,” said Noel.
To maintain the egalitarian nature of the event, it was deliberately planned without a headline act.
“It’s not really important what time a band is on, and no name on the [promotional] poster is bigger than anyone elses,” said Noel.
Two of the confirmed acts on the weekend will be Cani’s sister Fionnula Kirk, and his nephew Evan Bruton.
He explained how, as a boy in Lynn Avenue, Cani had made great friends with Davy O’Callaghan, the hare man at the dog track, and years later played with his grandson Pete Doran.
“Cani was great with spreading the word about with the next generations,” said Noel, who played with Cani for 26 years and admitted to not even knowing another bass player.
“In my life he was a neighbour. We played football, cut our knees, all that before the music,” he added.
“He was a lifer, his DNA was music, and I can honestly say I never had a cross word with him,” he said.
“When it’d be just the two of us in a van driving home from a gig in the Baggot [Inn] at three or four in the morning, we’d talk about everything from the nonsensical to the sensical. I honestly believe we never had a cross word,” reminisced Noel.
Acts confirmed to date include: Cúnla, Peter Doran, Tavella, Vinny Baker, Joe Meehan, Jimmy Broder, Ah Folks Sake, Egg and Spoons, Sandra Dolan and Dave Kelly and band, Fionnualla Kirk (sister ) and Evan Bruton (nephew ), Arrow in The Sky, Ronan Leonard, The Blues Band and The O’Farrell Bros, Exel, Noel Battle, and Peter Kelly.
Three Cheers for Cani takes place in the Stables from Saturday January 28 to Monday January 30, admission is free and all are welcome.