i am niamh

i am niamh doesn’t always play cello, but it’s easier than lugging a piano to the edge of Howth Head, where we drove out for the day to try to get some good shots. On the way out, she told me all about Mattress Mick, the Poolbeg Generating Station, and her desire to live with a Brony.
She had just released her album “Wonderland” to much acclaim and finished up most of the summer tour dates, so we found a free day to head for the hills and make some noise on the Cliffs of Howth, just north of Dublin City. In true Irish fashion, the weather was alternating from beautiful to cold and rainy the whole way there. We managed to get enough clear sky to set up and get in at least a few takes before the rain started up again and we had to run for the car.

If you like what you hear, and you missed her at Electric Picnic, i am niamh plays all over ireland and is coming to New York next month to play a few select dates around the city.

find her at: iamniamh.com or https://www.facebook.com/iamniamh

ShoutHouse

ShoutHouse is an embodiment of the true creative spirit. What else would have drawn these people together? In a group that is roughly equal parts Juilliard, Vassar, Manhattan School of Music and Craigslist, the common thread seems to be the spirit of creation.
A classical musician tends to follow a certain path – a path that generally leads to a lifetime of jazz standards or Wagner, Brahms and Beethoven. There’s a reason people still play Take 5 and Beethoven’s Eroica. These are brilliant and timeless pieces that people will always need to hear and to play. However, the members of ShoutHouse recognize that music like that came from the spirit of bold innovation and experimentation, which is how it came to be that on one night at The Bitter End, I saw before me a 13-piece orchestra behind a singer, two rappers and 4 bucket drummers.
For about an hour, i watched them mixing a cocktail of classical, jazz, spoken word, hip-hop, pop in a way i’ve never seen, let alone imagined. It was as if Holst, Zappa and Robert Glasper had grown up in the East Village and formed a supergroup. It never occurred to me that someone could rap in 7/8. The whole night was a cacophony of shock, awe and whiskey gingers.

In what was by far the largest TSNP shoot ever undertaken, we brought them to Sara D. Roosevelt Park off of Houston St. between Chrystie and Forsyth. I wanted to shoot somewhere near the East Village and they wanted to shoot somewhere near Rockwood Music Hall where they had soundcheck at 5pm for a show that night. It was the perfect spot, tucked enough away that i thought we’d have a chance at not getting shut down immediately.
As it happened, we shot for about an hour and a half and nobody bothered us once. Park goers and passerbys stopped and listened, and for a while, we all forgot about the world outside of a tiny piece of the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Will Healy, the piano man and ShoutHouse founder serves as the composer of roughly half of their music, but this piece, “Escher’s Friend” was designed by Jesse Greenberg, multi-instrumentalist and keys, mallets and synths player for the band.

Find their music and upcoming shows (including an approaching collaborative performance with a group of Hip-Hop and modern dancers at the DiMenna Center) at www.shouthousemusic.com

Camera Team:
Bradman
Marsh Chamberlain
Michal Skalski

Live Audio:
Karl Schwarz

Dublin Culture Night

I was in Dublin for Culture night in September, and my friends Johnny and Lewis invited me to come along with them. Their duties were to entertain passengers on short bus tour of North City Centre. The stops included Croke Park, Parnell Square, the GPO and the like.

I knew Johnny Rayge (‘Jonathan Armas McGlinn’ as a person and poet) from when i lived in Dublin years ago. He ran (and continues to run) an artists showcase called Dublin’s Underground Beat on Wednesdays in the basement of the International Bar. It’s where i first performed live hip-hop, and the TV show they made about that showcase was a major inspiration for TSNP. You can check that out HERE.

Lewis Kenny is a new friend, we just met on my last trip, and honestly, all i know about him is that he’s a sound dude, and a super talented wordsmith.

You can find Johnny Rayge HERE Jonathan Armas McGlinn HERE and Lewis HERE

In honor of Irish Mother’s Day, which is today, i present you:

 

 

Michael Persall

A year ago, Michael Persall decided to play 300 shows in 2015. As it turns out, he hit 300 pretty quickly, so at some point around September he upped it to 400. I never said he was lazy. At the end of December, he played his 400th show at Rockwood Music Hall. I was there. It was great.

I met him somewhere around 225, at the Nuyorican. I’d seen him play before at the the Path Café, but hadn’t had a chance to meet him yet. We talked for a while in line before sign-ups on E. 3rd St, and i learned about his resolution. The 400 number included open mics, showcases, booked gigs, basically anything that was him playing guitar in front of people that didn’t know him. Some nights during the week, he’d regularly play at three different spot, from Midtown to Williamsburg, and he’d be out between 6-7 nights a week, every week, for the whole year.

His performance is always impeccable. He’s a machine. He’s a jukebox that only plays Michael Persall and Amy Winehouse. He writes modern rock with heavy 50’s and 60’s influence in the form of a catchy pop tune, with a strong silky voice and impressive range.

We met up at Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on 29th and 2nd one night. He played a few songs inside, and then we went around the corner to film one outside. 

If you dig it, he has a residency with his band this February at Pianos in LES – every Wednesday night at 10.

For non-locals, check out his website, www.michaelpersall.com 

Keyke The Girl

Keyke is a girl, and that might be all we need to know. However, my affinity for verbosity prohibits me from leaving it at that, so:

Keyke is a girl and sometimes her hair changes colors and sometimes she makes up songs while she’s singing them and sometimes she plays in the East Village and that’s where i first saw her. She made up most of the songs on the spot. It’s a variety of spontanaeity rarely seen in the music world, and a demonstration of artistry that i found pretty impressive. And cool. Phat. Deadly.

Keyke makes a ton of her own videos, and they are also phat.

There was an idea i had that didn’t work. Well, i wanted to put her on a carousel. I got the idea from the Q train on the Manhattan bridge. I kept seeing that carousel by the river and i wanted to put her on it and have her play a song.  So we went all the way there and saw that the carousel was mobbed and as we stared at it revolving over the hills of Brooklyn, Keyke pointed out that it would be blasting carousel music as well, which is something i never thought of in the two months i had been planning it.

So, as usual, when my initial plans didn’t work out, we just walked around for a while until we found some stairs in a wall. It was perfect.

She sat down and played a song about being a girl/woman/human/alien.

She’s not like everybody else.

Find more at keykethegirl.com

 

Irene & Paul on Broadway

Paul Dill was rolling a cigarette behind Under St. Mark’s, Cort guitar in his lap on a dark Tuesday night. He was here from Germany with a dance company to do a set of performances at the Kraine Theatre called “Polvo y Tierra o Formas de Lidiar con la Muerte Ajena.” The two-person show is described as an “emotional dialogue of a couple dealing with the lost of loved ones and their own personal questions,” performed by a musician and a dancer.

The dancer was inside, stretching in the green room. Irene Cortina, a young girl from Spain who met Paul in the Netherlands where they were both studying their respective crafts. Together, with a little help, they started the Cia. Irene Cortina dance company.

They had performed earlier in the night and had come to Under St. Marks to get on stage for the Tuesday open mic. And as Paul and I shared a smoke outside, he was told that they were up next.

Inside, i first see the two them together, setting up on stage. At first glance, you’ll notice how the two compliment each other aesthetically – they just look good together.

They start – Paul pulls strings with his right hand and Irene is already in motion, twirling onto her knees and up again.

We met up the following Sunday, their last day in NYC.

They took me to a spot they found the day before in Williamsburg by the river. We walked down past an old warehouse/power station and ended up at the end of a busted road littered in broken glass and condoms. A couple clunkers were parked nearby, loaded with the hoardings of an old basement. The Europeans were not deterred and Irene was soon rolling around in all of it with Paul leaning up against a nondescript pipe sticking out of the sidewalk.

We went through a chain link fence towards a decrepit pier sticking out of a brushy area where homeless nappers lay prone beneath shrubs and about 15 yards out into the East River. On crumbling concrete, they did another few songs and I tried to watch my step and the monitor at the same time, just like I did on the cliffs of Howth with “i am niamh” (a feature which will be coming out soon if the wind didn’t destroy all the audio).

They were heading to midtown for dinner, so I came with them and after wandering for a while, I stopped them at 50th and Broadway.

I set Paul up with a mic and told Irene to dance in the street. The New Yorkers, as usual, were oblivious.

irenecortina.com
pauldill.com

 

Gráinne Hunt and the Carpark

Me and Gráinne on the roof of a car park, getting colder. We’d just wandered all over Portobello, and played pretty songs in pretty spaces, but nothing really felt alive yet. It was her idea to drive to the top of the parking garage and try to get a view of the city. That’s where we found the most beautiful red door I’d ever seen. I tried to get the door, the view and the music all working together. She tried to keep her hair out of her face. The wind tried to ruin the audio. A few old men drank cans in the opposite corner. I took my shoes off and tried not to step in the enormous puddle right in front of where she was playing.

Here’s what happened.

 

Street Noise Eerieland Halloween Special: Sive

It was a full moon in Dubin, Eerieland (i mean, i think it was), and i was wandering around an old graveyard with Sive, who honestly isn’t that spooky of a companion but seems like she would make a terrific ghost someday, based on how haunting her songs can be.
It was a place she knew behind Whelan’s on Camden Row. We walked over and found a walled-in church courtyard. There were some old ruins in the middle and headstones around the edges, and then us, with a camera and a guitar and a real creepy vibe. Deadly.
I’d met Sive at the Stag’s Head the week before where she played some music with Niall Thomas and Tony Mc Loughin (The Young Folk) who have a weekly Monday night appearance there. Her music immediately made me think of the small, hidden parts of the city – i imagined her playing in a dark cramped alley in the middle of the night. For the most part, her songs are not as chilling as this one, and we filmed a few that were fun and peppy, some that were airy and light, and then some darker ones. Her sound can cover a lot of ground and she has the voice and the style to adapt to more than a few different moods.

But here we were, standing by graffiti of cartoon devils on crumbling stone walls over old graves, so we couldn’t exactly just do Taylor Swift covers. Sive had just the song. Don’t believe me, just watch.
After she finished playing “By The Shore” in the old church graveyard, we were told to leave (by a man who appeared out of nowhere), so we walked around the corner to go for a pint at Whelan’s, Dublin’s famous rock pub, host of Damien Rice, Mumford and Sons, the Frames and every other amazing act that’s been in town. We headed up to what i call the smoking attic, an open air brick room with a covered roof upstairs between two stages. It’s always a great spot for a pint and a song. Thus, our break turned into another shoot.

We did a lot of great work and i’ll be posting a couple of the more upbeat ones soon because they are stick-in-your-head good, but for this extra special holiday, i wanted to share these two minor melodies.

 

Gráinne Hunt and The Liffey

Gráinne (Gron-ya) Hunt is one of Dublin’s finest songstresses, and i was very fortunate to be able to get a day of shooting in with her before she left to support Glen Hansard on a brief European tour. We met at The Monday Echo, a weekly performance showcase run by Aidan Murphy at MVP on Upper Clanbrassil Street. Upstairs in the pub, in a wooden room full of booths and pillows on the floor to sit on, Gráinne played some gorgeous tunes and we decided to get together and make some movies.

It took a whole lot of walking around to find a place with the right vibe. The canal didn’t feel right. A gorgeous vine covered alley behind Camden Street felt flat. It wasn’t until Gráinne suggested that we go to the top of the Stephen’s Green car park that we started making a bit of the magic. From there, we went to Stephen’s Green itself, and just as dusk was setting in, we found ourselves on the Liffey, just before Beckett Bridge, and i asked that she play my favorite song of hers, “Lilacs.” It’s the kind of song you might put on repeat one night ( i already have) when you have too many feelings.

There’ll be more, but for now, here is Gráinne Hunt playing “Lilacs” on the quays just after dusk.