Live indoor music returns to Westport

Going Out

HIGHLY ACCLAIMED David Munnelly and Shane McGowan will be entertaining a real-life Mayo audience on August 28.

Ciara Moynihan

Hold on to your hats, folks. Big news. A live gig is coming your way. Yes, you read that right. A. Live. Gig. And an indoors seated gig at that!
Saturday, August 28, will see renowned Irish musicians David Munnelly and Shane McGowan (no, not that one, the trad musician) take centre stage at Westport Town Hall Theatre. Expect Irish trad tinged with all sorts of other influences, from jazz to ragtime to world music – and an electric atmosphere.
A multi-award-winning box player, and dubbed the ‘The Bullet from Belmullet’, David Munnelly was born into a musical family and grew up surrounded by music. Widely regarded as one of the most influential Irish accordion players of his generation, he has played with legendary Irish bands De Dannan and The Chieftains.
He also fronts The David Munnelly Band (with Shane McGowan on guitar and Joseph McNulty on fiddle), which formed in 1999. That same year, a busy Munnelly also recorded his debut solo CD, entitled ‘Swing’. He has since gone on to record a slew of respected albums, both solo and collaborative.
A huge advocate of the innovation that collaboration generate, he has contributed to many national and international projects. Among the most interesting of his recent is Accordion Samuri, which sees him join forces with fellow exponents of the squeezebox in Europe, Riccardo Tesi (Tuscany/Italy), Markku Lepistö (Finland), Kepa Junkera (Basque Country/Spain) and Simone Bottasso (Northern Italy).
This unique style led David into the world of professional musicianship where early in his career he became a full-time member of Dublin folk singer Niamh Parsons’ band and others, including the Chieftains and De Danann. A review in the Irish-American News once enthused that ‘Munnelly is arguably the best button box player in the world’ – now’s your chance to see him in action.
Shane McGowan – an acclaimed guitar genius at home in a myriad of genres – hails from Lavagh in south Sligo. Like Munnelly, he comes from a musical family and started at an early age, giving his first public performance at the tender age of five. His father, Harry, is a well-known flute player from the area and was a big influence on him, teaching him whistle and flute.
McGowan started playing guitar in his teens, and is drawn to Irish music as well as rock, swing and jazz. He has guested with a huge range of bands, including Slide, Geraldine McGowan and the John Carty Festival, and he has toured with the likes of Lunasa and Dolores Keane. He also joined the mighty Seán Keane at Westport Town Hall Theatre back in the heady days when live gigs were commonplace.

David Munnelly and Shane McGowan will perform live in Westport Town Hall Theatre at 8pm on Saturday, August 28. The seated socially-distanced audience is strictly limited to 50, in line with current restrictions. For tickets, visit www.westporttheatre.com or call 098 28459.