Kaltern Pop is a sister festival to Haldern Pop in Germany. Brain child of Stefan Reichmann, Kaltern was the village he visited with his family as a child, and he decided to bring a music festival there. A German speaking town in the vineyards of northern Italy, it has all the traits of Germany and Italy rolled into one. Confusing I tell you! We were scheduled to play 3 gigs - two in the village and one at the top of the mountian. The first gig was in a cinema and the second in a wine museum - both amazing gigs with incredibe audiences. But the third gig topped them all. On Staurday morning we drove up a windy road, to take us to the 'Penegal' at the top of the mountain, to meet Cantus Domus - the choir who we would sing with today. We walked in and they were rehearsing in the most beautiful room I have ever played in! They had arranged 'It beats me' for Mark, and 'Lilacs' for me. I litereally cried during the rehearsal because it was so beautiful!
We weren't quite sure how any people would turn up - there was seating set out for about 40 people - but once the doors opened, people just kept coming in! there were about 180 there by the time we started and the atmosphere was electric. Mark and I performed 3 songs and the choir joined us and then we did Lilacs and I performed Little Bird, This Secret and Both Sides Now. Hands down - gig of the year!
Mark's new CD came out on 20th October and we were in Switzerland to play a few gigs. The incredibly talented ROMY was also on the tour for added awesomeness, keys and vocals too! We played a series of gigs - with a cool caravan for a green room, a dance studio for a gig, a mountin side restaurant gig overlooking lake zurick and a chic furniture store gig! We got to the local prettiest cow competition (not it's real name!) and saw the cow parade and got to spend time with Fat Rosie.
I was super excited to head back to Kew in London to meet up with the Harris' and play in their amazing gallery space again - this time solo! Elizabeth collected me from the airport and we headed to the house for coffee and cake and a snooze before the gig! My friend Fleur managed to capture some great shots of the night too!
My friend Joanna kindly hosted an intimate evening in her home - where we had sushi and wine - and songs of course! Fleur popped along again to take some photos!
Next I was off out to Cambridge to hang with friends Dan and Zulfiya. Dan runs a few open mic nights so we played some music and I got to be a tourist around the beauticul city of Cambridge and even went for a punt!
I decided to extend my UK trip and take a train up to Newcastle to hand with my friend Sarah and go along to a John Smith gig in the Sage. We walked on the beach, collected sea glass, jumped up at an open mic and talked the ears off each other!
September saw a return visit to the US with Mark Geary. Flying from Dublin to Charlotte, onto Louisville, Kentucky to meet with Mark's label and perform at NULU Festival. We dropped into WFPK radio for a quick promotional slot before wandering the streets of Lousiville, finding all the good coffee and some great cookies!
NULU Fest is a festival in the newer part of Louisville - celebrating the locality with a big block party bringing local businesses together with stalls, stands and merchandise from local suppliers and craft suppliers. We spent the morning wandering round the streets ans checking in with friends and family of the festival. I even managed to pick myself up a festival t-shirt!
That evening before we played, we had a jam with Ben Solee, who would then jump up and join us for a song! The set was great, just as the sun was setting and the stage lights really took effect!
The following day we had a day off, and no visit to Louisville is complete with out a visit to the Muhammad Ali Centre. We followed this by checking out Hotel 21C - the museum hotel with an awesome art gallery built in!
The following morning saw a super early uber driver come collect us for an early flight to NYC via Charlote. Dragging luggage we wandered round Mark's old neighbourhood searching for a cafe that was no longer there. We eventually settled on visiting Cafe Orlin, the soon to close famous East Village cafe, where Mark used to work. We met Vitor the owner, who shouted us our lunch!
Tuesday night saw us catch Mark's brother Karl read excerpts of his book Montpelier Parade in the Irish Arts Centre, alongside the stunning Jenna Nicholls and the very talented Gerry Leonard.
I took myself to the infamous Russ and Daughters for a lox bagel lthe next morning before meeting Mark at the bus station to head upstate to play a gig with Peter O'Toole. We jumped on a bus and headed to Marlboro, where we met Stephanie who took us to The Falcon - an amazing venue! Upstairs a beautiful space and restaurant and downstairs another venue housed amongst music memorabilia! We had a beautiful gig, in the round with Peter and then were joined by the incredible Dylan Doyle on guitar!
Back to NYC on the train the next evening for a night off, before we jumped on a train again on Friday for another house concert with some Bruce Springsteen fans and first time house concert attenders! A pot luck dinner and a totally acoustic gig with great people! Jumped on the train back to NYC again that night!
We were doing a joint house concert the next night in a private home with Mark's brother Karl, the incredibe Jenna Nichols joined us for a few songs too which was a lovely warm up for the following night's gig in The Scratcher. Joined by Justin Carroll too, we played to an incredible packed house and warm vibes! An amazing gig to end a brilliant trip to the East Coast.
I've never been to Berlin and wasn't quite sure what to expect! Musically - I'd booked a couple of open mic nights and a small gig. Booked myself into an airbnb and had some time to go wandering!
I'm missing pictures from the first night - but am told that I'll be getting a video soon. It was a great open mic called 'Going Somewhere' run by Eddy in the Little Stage Bar. Loads of great talent and great craic had all night. Met loads of brilliant people and roped some people into coming to my gig the following night.
Thursday was my little gig in UnterRock - a small underground bar that was very cute! Thanks to Martina, Alex and Nadine for coming along after the night before!
My last gig was the open mic at Dodo bar. An eclectic night with great performances and a visit from my friends Beccy and Spencer who were on their honeymoon!
After a last minute cancellation for other gigs I decided to make my way to Germany for a few days. I reached out to some friends and managed to put a little tour together. It truely was a tour of friendships and also showed me that if you just try - you can do it!
Gig number one was in Cafe Kultur Lichtung - an amazing room where Michael and Alex looked after me so well. A gorgeous group of people came along - old and new faces alike! I did worry that no one would come to see me - and was relieved to have a room of listening faces to look out on!
Gig number two brought me back to an amazing room I shared with Mark and Chrissie Poland in January - the most beautiful home and stables I have ever seen! My friends Shel and Stefan drove me all the way to Haldern in Friday evening traffic to make sure I got there. It was a beautiful evening - and even a little swallow decided to joing us!
Saturday saw gig number 4 and 5 take place in Dusseldorf! I got to play Dusseldorf's only second hand record store in the afternoon and the most beautiful living room concert in the evening! Lilo welcomed me into Suse's home and made sure I was chilled out before the gig!
Sunday was my last day in Dusseldorf and the very lovely Damo allowed me to come and do an afternoon concert in his gorgeous cafe. Amazing fresh baked cakes and passionately brewed coffee - along with me and my songs!
Electric Picnic was crazy and kind in equal measure! Mark and I drove down on Saturday for our first performance - with a quick song on Newstalk's Off the Ball (and some football talk that I avoided!) before we hit the stage at the Declan Sessions. Glen Hansard jumped up for a song too!
Sunday we drove down a little earlier - I was playing a solo slot at 2.30 so we got in about 1.30. My fear was that people were going to be still in tents and no one would show up - but thankfully a lovely crowd turned out!
We spent the afternoon wandering before an interview and song at the Hotpress tent and back to Artlot at the Glow Depot for Mark's slot. The stunning Lisa Lambe joined us for a song! We had an impromptu song on the Salty Dog too with the Square Pegs before hitting the road home!
Return visit to LA in August
Mark had booked a few gigs on the west coast and I decided that I was due a return visit! So I put the call into a friend of mine, Mel, who I met on the retreat, and asked if she could put me up! Flights booked and we headed off on the 9th August.
With gigs in the famous Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, house concert in Palos Verdes, LeStats in San Diego and a final house concert in the valley we had a busy 4 days!
Mark left on the Monday and I set about making plans for the rest of my stay. I went to an open mic in the Lost Knight, wrote with Lori Barth again, played a gig in Pasadena in Griffin's of Kinsale and Republic of Pie, was in a flashmob for a sitcom pilot, met Dr Hunt from Grey's Anatomy, wrote in Paramount Studios and witnessed a solar eclipse!
Part one - LA bound!
I flew out to LA on the 4th June - and had already decided at that stage to extend my stay by another couple of weeks. I flew Aerlingus direct to LA - and it was a dream! We flew over Greenland and Canada on the way and I was astounded by the beauty of it all
I got into LA that night, rented a car and was on my way! I was staying in Santa Monica, by the sea, though any time I went there, June Gloom was hanging around and I didn't get to see too much. My mission for the week was to do some writing - so I wrote with Alan on Monday, Lori on Thursday, Sandra on Friday and Alan again on Saturday. I had a gig in Pasadena on the Wednesday and met up with a college buddy on Tuesday - a flat out week that certainly got me used to driving in LA.
Part two - Idyllwild
After leaving my hotel on Saturday morning, I took to the road to Idyllwild - an Alpine like village at the top of a mountain! Once I got to the bottom it was a 40mile drive to get me 1 mile high! Saturday night was a house concert in Jen's and then an early start at the retreat the next day on campus. The house concert was fab - a gorgeous gathering of people to listen to me and Michaut Perkins before we all headed for the retreat the next day.
Then the writing began! On Sunday I wrote with Magali, Monday with Mel, Tuesday with Brian, Wednesday with Jen, Thurdasy we polished the songs for our performance that night and Friday I wrote with Dena. A super busy and exhausting week - but toatlly worth it! There are some videos of the songs on my facebook page!
Part three - back to LA!
adWas super excited to get back to LA to hang out with my friend Jeanie - who I had met in Europe when we were on tour together. She was a great tour guide and photographer we even got to spend the day at Universal!
Part four - Portland and Seattle!
Part of the reason I decided to stay in the US was because Mark was coming out and playing some gigs (the other part was that I left my job before I left Ireland!)
On Saturday we took a train from Portland to Seattle for a great house concert in Teresa's hippy downstairs living room!
Then it was back to Portland to settle in with the most amazing hosts! We were staying with Aoife and Dave and their two kids Lauren and Alice. Aoife and Dave have been living in Portland for a couple of years, and in the states for about 12. They gave us the most unbelievable welcome and made us part of their gorgeous family for the time we were there, as well as organising some lovely concerts. Our last one was a house concert in their home - souvenir ticket below! :) We did the Shanghai Tunnel Tour, ate an insane ammount of doughnuts, drank all the good coffee and let's not talk about the ice cream!
I had such an incredible trip - I'm already planning the next one! West Coast - here I come!
I was super excited to play the gorgeous GlassHouse stage at Vantastival on the 3rd June. An amazing little room, with a creeping green backdrop and a well!
Was super excited to join amazing musicians John Byrne, Dave McGuinness, Stephen McHale, Duncan Maitland, Mark Colbert and Neil Dorrington on stage for a few songs in tribute to Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours, which is 40 years old this year! The wonderful Carol Keogh, Sinead White, Jess Kav, Tara Harrison, Roisin O, Roisin El Cherif, Niall Thomas, Jack Maher, Jem Mitchell and Mark Caplice also took part! A couple of videos here and here!!
The first solo gig of my tour co-incided with my time with Mark and Chrissi. I was delighted to be asked by Tommy from the Acoustic Yard Festival to close the festival out! After Mark's amazing gig and then seeing Ray Wilson (Genesis), it was a bit nerve racking! However - it need not have been! I had a lovely listening crowd and my set went down very well!!
Folowing Mark's departure, I rented a car and headed off on my merry way! I stayed with a lovely friend in Dusseldorf on the Monday nightm before hitting the road to the city of Munster, under recommendation! I'd booked myself a super fancy hotel and was treating myself for a couple of days. The city is beautiful and I got to visit St Lamberti Church and St Paulus-Dom Cathedral, the Picasso museum with Henri Matisse exhibition, before a gorgeous little unplugged acoustic gig in Schnabulenz!
Up early after my Munster visit to head north to Neumunster so play in the most amazing gallery space! Sarah is a photographer who has an incedible studio in Neumunster. We talked a lot about horses and Lui her dog sang along at times! The acoustics were amazing -so we did a little unplugged acoustic session! I'm waiting for some photos from her to add to these! There's a little stream from part of the gig here!
Onwards then to Hannover in the 34 year old music stor - 25Music! A great record store will all types of music and vintage clothes, I played an hour set at the front door to audience and passers by! Thanks to Eddy, my merch selling friend from Dusseldorf and some old friends Mel and Ulf who dropped by for the gig too!
My final gig was the most amazing way to end my tour in Germany! Sabine and Thomas hosted a house concert in their beautiful home and invited loads of people to come along and listen. We had a beautiful night and I couldn't have asked for a better gig to finish my tour! Both Sabine and Thomas took some gret pictures, so I'll do another post on that! :)
I was delighted to be asked to go with Mark to Germany for some dates in January - so I decided I would book some additional solo dates and make a longer trip of it - that's in part two!
Mark and I had five amazing gigs in various locations. We started off in Kassette in Dusseldorf where in August 2015 we played an acoustic unplugged gig to a quiet attentive audience..... Tonight was different - it was plugged in, we had a PA, there were no chairs - and the place was rammed, and people were being turned away! We're still arguing about whether it was 5 or 6 encores we did - but the night kicked of the tour in supreme style! Thanks to Tobey and Tim for looking after us!
Gig number two took us to the most beautiful farmhouse in Rees. A converted carraige house, with a walk through from the living room straight to the stables! We were joined on the gigs from then, by the stunning Chrissi Poland, who had flown in from the States that day. She wowed the audience and joined Mark for some impromptu tunes! Thanks to Catja, Chiara Chiara, Moritz and Danby! The storm was coming in that night, so we had to hit the road. We must have literally led it up the garden path, as we got home to a clear drive way and woke in the morning to find 20cm had fallen after we returned!
Gig number three was a little closer to our temporary home in Cologne, so we got to take Ted for a walk in the snow and made some other new friends along the way. The gig that night was amazing - a beatiful living room full of wonderful people! Chrissi, Mark and myself jammed out some Everly Brothers, and Mark's song Ghosts, and Chrissi even had me on keys for one of hers! Biggest of love to Shel and Stefan!!
Gig number four with Mark was a slot at the Acoustic Winter Festival in Dusseldorf. Mark and I had played the summer festival in 2015 and we were invited back (and I got a solo slot too!). Mark had 45 minutes of a slot and absolutely stole the show! Chrissi joined us for a couple of songs and we had One Eye Open up to play Adam and Eve to finish the set. Mark's guitar pedals have never sounded that big, much to the surprise of the audience (and to Mark!) Thanks to Tommy for having us back!!!
Gig number five was in another amazing, old, converted building - now housing a music studio! Van Heys Studio, home to Meyerhof gigs was the perfect end to a run of gigs with Mark and Chrissi. A Steinway Grand was waiting for Chrissi and a roomful of open hearts! Another (aguable) number of encores, and the amazing Marie-Hélen and Marco.
The Path is Bundoran's newest greatest gig! Secret Artist gigs are held in special locations around Bundoran with artists who aren't announced to the audience until they arrive! Thanks to Adam and Giles for the invite and the hospitality! Fab photos from Pockets Full of Water Productions.
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