2020. What a year it’s been. That’s the general gist of it. And an absolute mad year that no one saw coming. So they say. The word on the street is, we’ll be glad to see the back of it and that 2021 is another year. For me, for us, and for mine, we’ve been fortunate to have come through the year safely. I am thankful for that. Others I know have not been so fortunate. And as always, our thoughts here are with the families and friends out there, that have suffered this year.
Like so many, my livelihood completely disappeared in March 2020. In what was to be a big year for my music, from the solo shows and support tours, to bigger festival dates and an album to record with my band The Host; everything came to a “screeching halt”. But it was not all bad. What struck me through all of this was the support. And not just for me, but around the globe. That good will. The true nature of people and all the lovely things that came to the fore during this pandemic. It was simply amazing. Powerful stuff indeed!
It’s been a hard year too. Me myself, I’d be a positive person generally speaking. I try to remain upbeat even on a downbeat swing. It’s not always easy but, it is with that philosophy in mind, as we turn into a new year, I wanted to do something different with my annual end of the year blog post. To look back as as we move forward.
In 2020 I did make a new album. With the help of friends and band members (socially distanced during lockdown), “Born From Tradition”, came into being. An Irish folk album, it was an album I have always wanted to make. There was no plan. “Just make a record”. As it made it’s way out into the world, it took on a life of its own. The response and feedback we have received has been incredible. Support came back in droves. And not just from media folk and the music industry, but from those of you who bought the albums (sometimes more than one), spent their money on new music and supported the live shows on TV Thursday through Paypal and other avenues; even when times were so tight. The positivity and texts I have received from those who listen and live with the songs daily, who travel, share and sing along, be it at home or in a car, at work or wherever; is not likely forgotten. And… that my songs represent Ireland, her traditions, and the Irish culture to so many of you, is magical.
“I’m listening to your awesome tunes while driving through the Bavarian-Austrian Alps every morning.” Marlene Egbert – Germany
So… It was suggested to me that I should post and share some of the messages and emails I have received. Acknowledge that good will and the messages of thanks and support (A great idea!). This year with that intention, that’s what I’m gonna do… in this the “2020 end of year blog”. Share those words and that good will with others, with positivity as we hit a new year, and also celebrate with a new song and brand new video (below). To simply say “Maith thú”, and to thank you all for the kindness and support you have shown Sabine and meself. It has been incredible and it means the world. Grab a cup of tea. Put your feet up, and scroll down. It’s a healthy read. Grá mór.
MY SONGS IN YOUR WORDS
Linda Turner – Prague (Czech & England)
“I loved hearing you at Balbínka in Prague in July. It was a fabulous performance – great music and lyrics, and a lovely down-to-earth atmosphere. Looking forward to another gig in Prague as soon as possible and I am listening to your wonderful albums and following your music online in the meantime… Linda x.”
Mirjam Hendriske – Holland (Netherlands)
“That weekend of shows in Holland turned out to be pretty special. It was as much for the music, as it was for the person. By the end of the weekend you were my Obi Wan. The man that changes perspective with sometimes just one word or sentence. During the weekend you asked me if you could “chip in” for the groceries. I asked you to sing me a song instead. You sang me ‘Anyway’; a brand new song. It’s the song I’ve been humming for the past year. Thanks, Obi Wan! May the Stroopwafels and Curry Ketchup always be with you.”
Andreas Fritz – Waisenberg (Austria)
“Wenn du da bist, fühlt es sich so heilsam an. Er verbindet sich mit der Umwelt und verändert sie. Seine Stimme dringt in die Menschen ein, in die Bäume und Steine. Das Leben bekommt plötzlich ein anderes Licht, eine neue Sicht auf die Welt. Shane, der Musiker, bringt so viel Freude und Hoffnung mit unglaublichen Tiefsinn und Ernsthaftigkeit. Es tut so gut und ist sehr wichtig das du da bist.”
Melanie Böttcher – Everberg (Belgium & Germany)
“I know I would have loved the new album anyway and anytime, but receiving this music during this particularly tough time (globally, but also personally), made the listening experience much more intense and meaningful, and my love for the songs even deeper maybe. “Born From Tradition“ is a beautiful and magical piece of art. And even though it fills my heart with longing (for Ireland, the country I love and miss so much), it also gives me an enormous amount of comfort, consolation and joy. In addition to this, the album creates a kind of intimacy that makes me feel like I’m right there in the room with you and the other musicians, sitting close with friends, completely captivated by the magic of a live performance XX.”
Nadine Schmunkamp – Ankum (Germany)
“Knowing Shane and his music since 2017, I was quite happy to read that he announced the release of his new album “Born from Tradition”. Right from the beginning I was blown away by Shane’s voice and the atmosphere that is created on the album. The first song “I like it when you try”, became to one of my favorite songs. Listening to “Born from Tradition”, I felt transported back to Ireland and memories of the Emerald Isle came back to my mind. Because of Shane’s music, I feel closer to my place of longing. So thank you Shane for your wonderful music. Go raibh míle maith agat!”
Martin Hazelgrave – Devon (England)
“Shane. Just to say. If music is the soundtrack to our lives, your melodies are songs for the soul. Beautiful and timeless, a magical journey of storytelling that brings happiness to the heart. Keep creating those fabulous tunes my friend. Much love and light as always….big hugs Martin xx.”
Diane Notaire – l’île d’Oléron (France)
“Pour moi, Shane est associé à une période de vie aussi importante que magique : mes 18 mois irlandais. 18 mois intenses en émotions teintés de découverte, d’ouverture, de rire, d’amour, d’évolution, de tradition… Shane est tout ça à la fois ! Et c’est dans ces souvenirs (encore tellement présents) que je me replonge à chaque fois que j’écoute mes deux albums favoris : The watcher and the comet et Everything you need is here. Je me rappelle encore du plaisir à découvrir les nouvelles chansons, de sa voix si singulière, de son accent, des musiciens qui l’accompagnaient… je me rappelle des visages, des amis autour de moi. De la bonne musique, l’amour, les amis, dans une ville fantastique… when “everything you need is here”… magic happens!”
Elenko Angelov – Sofia (Bulgaria)
Writer / TV Anchor / Psychologist
“Shane you’re a genius, a musician, and I’m glad I know you personally. You are a very decent man (I swear 😀), with an unlimited sense of humour. That makes your music magical.”
Jule Kraus – Aschaffenburg (Germany)
“I don’t really like your music. Actually it’s quite annoying 😂… Nonsense! Ich mag die Art, wie du deine Songs schreibst. Es klingt alles so einfach und leicht und bei genauerem Hinhören sind deine Texte auch einfach stark (zumindest die Englischen, die ich verstehen kann 🙂 ). Ausserdem kommt dann noch deine spezielle und unverwechselbare Stimme hinzu. Es ist einfach wunderbar deiner Musik zuzuhören – zu jeder Tageszeit: Abends bei einem Glas Wein, morgens beim Frühstück oder mittags beim Bügeln.”
Kristin Gray Taggart – California (USA)
“Ever since I was a kid and learned that I have Irish ancestry, it was a “bucket list” goal to visit Ireland. Circumstances kept me from visiting for many years, but I always felt pulled to get there somehow. I was finally able to go in 2018, and not long before going, I found the song “Gael” on YouTube. It struck me to the heart. It seemed to be saying “Come and see where you came from… see what you find.” As I learn the Irish language and plan to return to Ireland when I am able, that song remains a beacon guiding me to the places where I found so much that nurtured my soul. Go raibh mile maith agat as an gceol, a Shane!”
Manuela Jesse Fritz – Waisenberg (Austria)
“Shane! O Shane. Wo kann ich beginnen, wenn es mir, mir immer schon schien, als kennen wir uns schon immer. Bin ich der watcher oder der Komet? Oder umgekehrt. You can read between the lines. Ich fühlte mich so oft geehrt durch dich, dein verweilen im Häuschen mitsamt der vielen Liebe und Lieder die du hier gelassen hast und die heute noch leuchtet und klingt, hey little sister come over here!”
Danaí Kelleher – Dublin (Ireland)
“Just listening to “Born From Tradition” here again. It’s deadly. So proud. It’s about time there was I good proper undiluted Irish album out there. A beautifully soul reflecting album, marrying words of the ancient and new in both tongues, and sung with a natural authentic “blas”. I love it!”
Ania Pentz – Warsaw (Poland)
Dad introduced me to your music. “You’ll like it” he said. And guess what? I did! “They Might See Dolphins” is an album I come back to very often. Because behind this music there is great honesty. Thanks to this, it still evokes new emotions and thoughts and I’m so lucky that I could see your concert and most of all get to know you. A really positive and inspiring man. Thanks for this truthfulness and for the smile you make in your audience 🙂.
Keith Moore – Vienna (Austria & Ireland)
“I met Shane at one of his first gigs in Vienna as a musician, and he quickly became my favourite artist, and not long after he became a good pal. His album “Born From Tradition” made me feel like I was back in Ireland in a year that I couldn’t go back home. The man has a very rare talent, and I’m glad to be able to call him a friend.”
Gabi Steigemann – Kiel Germany
“There are so many things to remember. My Birthday at your Dublin Gig with all your friends and family! Being on tour with you in the North of Germany. But most of all … on tour with you in the North of Germany, to places where the fox crossed our way; all those memories. But really important is listening to “Push”, driving in my car late at night in Nieder Sachsen, singing along with my friend. I love all of it! Thanks dear Shane for all those souvenirs – Gabbs.”
Danielle & Maeve Sabowski – Chicago (USA)
“Shane, I am grateful I have your music to fill my mind and spirit and it makes your buddy Maeve dance 💚💚💚. We can’t wait for you to come to the US”.
Anja Fritz – Waisenberg (Austria)
“I‘m not able to listen to your music while i‘m studying/learning. It‘s because your music goes to my heart and I am not able to sit there and ignore this. I need to dance!”
Ray Heffernan – Borgomanero (Italy & Ireland)
“I’ve been listening to the album (Born From Tradition), inside out. Suffice it to say there is something here, about coming home. You call the album simple. Yes it is simple, but so intricate. Simple is not basic. It’s cared and cured. Curated! Listening here now to Trasna na gCianta… that performance takes fifteen years man. Fifteen years to do. Because you have had to have lived “Round The Hardway” and its melody, to come home to ‘Trasna na gCianta’. To give yourself the right to deserve it. To dare to! There’s so much to say about this record. I’m gushing about this album.”
Adrian Coleasa – Bucharest (Romania)
“Good God I have goosebumps. It’s a beautiful record and stands great as a whole. “Born From Tradition” is a pearl waiting to be discovered. A total winner for me. And “New England”… is a requiem.”
Ana Duda – Warsaw (Poland)
“I first encountered your music at this years’ ‘Warsaw Fingerstyle Festival’ and liked it right away from the very first note. It was love at first sound (😀). And the atmosphere you created was so familiar. Thank you.”
Eddas Fritz – Waisenberg (Austria)
“The Watcher and the Comet” always comes to mind. It brings back memories of my childhood. Wonderful memories. I listened to the songs up and down. So long, until the CD didn’t work anymore. When I listen to your music, no matter where I am, I feel at home.”
Barbara Kersten – (Rees Germany)
“Shane, you start playing and I have to smile and sing along directly. Music that goes straight to the heart. Babsi”.
Tony Bardon – Laois (Ireland)
“It struck me that, when you add up all of your songs and albums, each of them has their own experience. And I am sure the people who have the experience of interacting with your music revisit many memories. When they do, I hope that they are as rich and varied as mine. So even though you are restricted in your live playing at the moment, your CDs are still weaving their magic. I wish you all the best with the new one.”
Andrea Neuhold – Vienna (Austria)
“Your music gives me strength in everyday life. It lets my mind wander back to Ireland on the Atlantic. The melodies are very calming and are totally in tune with your voice, which is just totally catchy. And I love every Celtic touch of it. Songs that heal your Soul!”
Fast Or Slow – A Short Movie by Shane Ó Fearghail
Fast Or Slow: Written about my first night in Vienna, the film was inspired by love and the city herself. With the shootings that happened in Vienna back in early November, I felt compelled to put both song and videos I have taken in Vienna over the years together, in one short film. In some way to help shine a light for the new year. I hope you enjoy.
MY SONGS IN YOUR WORDS (Continued)
Eva Maria Nuart – Kärnten (Austria)
“Dear Shane! Seriously, there are no words for your appearance on our Hoffest in 2020… it was just magical as always. I love your music and I love to be your host for one night of the year, to give this treat to all my friends and family to enjoy your tunes! With the band in your company it is even more fun although, I kind of miss the special years when it was you, solo on our impromptu stages (made by Daniel himself 😎). I sincerely hope that there is a lot more to come in the next 50 years or so… let the good times roll!”
Marlene Kersten- Rees (Germany)
“It feels like your heart is beating with the music. Powerful rhythms, English and Irish lyrics and last but not least, a distinctive voice. For me it’s much more than a song – Marlene Lee Lewis”.
Tamara “Niffi” Nieroda – Gmund (Austria)
“Ein Musiker, ein Sänger, ein Komponist, ein Freund – Shane Ó Fearghail. Ich kann mich noch erinnern als ich Shane zum ersten Mal hörte. Vor vielen Jahren in Zwettl am St. Patricks day Wochenende. Er hat eine einzigartige Stimme die dich so viel Gefühl spüren lässt. Shane holt dich mit seiner Musik ab und transportiert die Gefühle seiner Musik auf sein Publikum.”
John Collins – Rees (Germany & Ireland)
“Like an Irish missionary of old you bring that knowledge, story and legend of an ancient world. When you sing… you tap into that river that flows through souls of shared experience. You bring history, lesson, and tale, with a message through your songs. And with your music, just like a river, you always take me on a journey .
Tony Bergin – Online DJ – Wexford (Ireland)
Just a quick message to say, I received the two CD’s this morning. Abso – frickin – lutely brilliant. I like it when you try is blasting out over me system as I type. Thank You!”
A Poem by David Murphy – Druids Glen Liverpool (England)
“There was a young man from Dublin
Who met a Scouse couple with gin.
Fireworks took off as they traveled
And slowly the songs that unraveled.
They then saw his family dance to his tunes…
It’s just a shame they are a family of lunes,
Forever the Druids we will be…
So here’s to freedom, to love and stupidity.
Keep that star shining bright.”
All that’s left to say is thanks. To all of you for all of your support. To those of you who booked gigs when it was impossible to do so. For those who tried. And if you did not get a mention e.g. Daniela, Seán, Kate P, Claudia, Emily, David, Johannes, Jeff, Sabine, IMRO, AKM, IASCA, MCPSI, FMC, Hot Press, Irish Music Magazine, The Echo, All the stations who played the songs, Boris (Die Bruder), Geri & Sabine, Antimo, MUlf, Ruby Hotels, Jameson, Harry, Myra, Marion, Marcus, Extra Tours DE, Eva, The Nuarts, Jan & Warsaw, Grace O’ Malley, Irish Embassy Vienna, Marion and Hanno (to name but a few 😂). For all that you do – You know who you are. Music is communion and we are all community. Stay safe out there and here’s to 2021.
2020. What a year it’s been…
Míle bhuíochas faoin gach rud
Ath bhliain nua faoi mhaise a dhaoine
Tóg é go bog é
A huge should out to our sponsors. This year hasn’t been easy I know. Thanks for having my back. Wishing you all the very best.