AREAS OF HIGH TRAFFIC: RELEASED NEXT MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2015
LAUNCH GIGS NEXT WEEK: MANCHESTER, LONDON (WITH SPECIAL GUEST KATE RUSBY) & BELFAST
& APPEARANCE AT BIRMINGHAM TRAFEST
Promo Video with Interviews:
As played on BBC Radio 2 Mark Radcliffe Show, The Mike Harding Folk Show, BBC Radio Ulster (ALBUM OF THE WEEK), BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio nan Gaidheal (ALBUM OF THE WEEK), BBC Radio Wales ‘Celtic Heartbeat’, BBC WM, Moorlands Radio, Juice FM, Brooklands Radio, Hermitage Folk
Current Sunday Express ***** Album of the Week
“As magnificent a re-imagining of traditional folk as you are likely to hear” – Martin Townsend, Sunday Express
“A really class piece of work. A rich and innovative sonic palette; I love it!”-
Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2 & 6
“A triumph from one of Ulster’s finest” – Lynette Fay, BBC Radio Ulster
“Areas of High Traffic is an extraordinary album. But then, Damien O’Kane is an extraordinary musician…a provocatively original interpreter of folk song.” – Colin Irwin
“A cracker of an album” – traditional songs with a difference, produced with respect and authenticity.” – Mike Harding
“Startlingly radical interpretations of classic folk ballads that coast past ambient, new age and post rock territory. Groundbreaking.”—fRoots
“Stellar performances and studio polish” – Louder Than War
“Wrapped in a cover that could be the new Tom Cruise action movie poster …. he creates a soundscape that truly honours his birthright” – Northern Sky 4*
“With a fine understanding and an equally fine ability to expand with a contemporary touch, O’Kane creates an ancient and modern folk-fusion without a visible seam. Areas of High Traffic is destined to become a classic.” – Folkwords
You may think you know the music of Damien O’Kane but think again – his inspirational new album – released next Monday (9th) will certainly leave you wondering. With a pervading theme of emigration and homeland nostalgia, Areas of High Traffic is the first solo album in five years from the Yorkshire-based Ulsterman, following on from Summer Hill (2010).
Extraordinary and unexpected after what went before, it sees O’Kane throwing in a number of curve balls, aided and abetted by his fine band –Steven Iveson (electric guitars), Anthony Davis (keyboards, synths, pads), stand-out percussionist Cormac Byrne and a guest appearance on one track by American bluegrass banjo wizard Ron Block (Alison Krauss and Union Station).
Slickly produced by O’Kane and assisted by Joe Rusby, it is something of a homage to his native Northern Ireland. O’Kane cherry picks traditional songs, moulding them into something more contemporary, engaging and stirring – all delivered in his rich Irish brogue.
Born in Coleraine , he is an outstanding banjo and guitar player and now a vital member of The Kate Rusby Band. His previous incarnations have included the duo partnership with accordionist Shona Kipling and his time as a member of Anglo-Irish band Flook, as well as the release of an instrumental album with David Kosky.
On Areas of High Traffic he takes songs from the bedrock of Irish music and revisits them in a previously untapped, unconventional but always empathetic way. Says Damien: “Songs like The Blacksmith and I Am a Youth are so iconic I’ve avoided them like the plague. But I’ve always loved them and I decided I had to overcome this fear of the ‘don’t touch’ songs. Singing them takes me back home.”
The end result is radically original. “I decided I wouldn’t set any boundaries and I’d perform the songs exactly as felt right. There may be a touch of rebellion about it but I haven’t done anything just for the sake of being different. I’ve tried to get inside every song and the arrangements reflect the lyrics.”
And when all the pieces are fused together, the results are spectacular. These are songs from the very fabric of Irish music, recorded many times and in many ways over centuries. But never like this.
An album launch gig with the full band will be held in London at The Forge, Camden, N1 on Thursday, November 12.
Further gigs showcasing the new album will be at Manchester’s Chorlton Irish Club (Carousel Sessions) on November 11, Belfast’s Duncairn Arts Centre on November 14 and Birmingham TradFest on November 27 www.birminghamtradfest.co.uk