Tag Archives: production

For Your Ears, Heart and Soul: Leaca Bán – Na Tonnta

Posting and sharing with you, my most recent music production project, the beautiful Leaca Bán by 5-piece, traditional Irish crossover group, Na Tonnta.

Na Tonnta
Na Tonnta

Introducing Na Tonnta (L-R as above): Daniel ‘Hearthrob’ Whelan, Ellie ‘Ellington’ J McGinley, Sinéad ‘Brings her own teabags’ O’Malley, Ciara ‘I♥ Beoga’ Moley and Fiachra ‘Figgy’ Meek. The group met while studying Music in DkIT together and bonded through their love of traditional Irish music, popular music, tea, biscuits and cakes!

My journey with Na Tonnta began in September 2014. I was searching for a musically-new band to introduce to the recording studio and collaborate with for my final music production project at DkIT, resulting in three songs- one being the core and most-polished production.

Approaching Na Tonnta was an easy task. It was actually perfect timing! I already knew Sinéad, their flute and whistle player from the Norway erasmus trip in 2013 and I worked with Ellie, their vocalist and fiddle player on my previous production project, “Crystal Hearts” feat. Fiona McErlane by Audio_Girl | Free Listening on SoundCloud.

I knew I wanted to carry forward my love for traditional Irish music while bringing it into a contemporary production and I also knew Na Tonnta were a hard-working, creative and driven group from my Facebook stalking since they formed in October 2013!

Na Tonnta warming up for the Spirit of Folk Festival, 2014
Na Tonnta warming up for the Spirit of Folk Festival, 2014

Leaca Bán began in the rehearsal room. Sinéad introduced the idea to the group with the beautiful, haunting traditional tune, 250 To Vigo, accompanied by accordion player, Ciara. I sat, mesmerised by the performance- the beautiful tone of the B flat whistle, the rhythm of the tune, the sombre accordion, gently accompanying the haunting tune. The hairs on my arms stood and I knew instantly that this was a tune I wanted to be a part of. I could already hear our studio recording in my mind’s ear!

What happened next lifted my spirits even further. There was a lyrical idea. In fact, there was more than just an idea- there was a theme, a mood, an atmosphere and a poem! A vintage book was produced- a little blue book with yellow pages, about to be tossed out from a local school library where Sinéad worked. For some reason unknown to me, Sinéad opened the book and there was a beautiful poem at the beginning. The Lights of Leaca Bán by Alice Cashel is an old book intended for secondary school children but the poem simply titled Leaca Bán, found at the begnning of the book, is a literary work of beauty.  It was suggested that Ellie fit the tune to the words- amazingly, it worked like a dream. Ellie suddenly started singing the poem and it was just right.

Ellie and Fiachra in the rehearsal room
Ellie and Fiachra in the rehearsal room

By Christmas a humble demo which consisted of a vocal, fiddle, tin whistle and accordion was recorded and then my audio fun began. What I already had was a beautiful tune which was deeply Irish and could hold up on its own with such a small ensemble- how about adding drums? Synthesisers? Guitars? More vocals? How big could we go?! How big did I dare?!

Well, here’s the final production.  Listen for yourself.

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Shiawase!!! Babymetal is Here!

I’m hooked.

The past few months my newsfeed was full of Metal Hammer proclaiming Babymetal this, Babymetal that, pictures of three cute Japanese girls with microphones and I ignored it until recently when I saw a picture of the three girls with Slayers Kerry King and I said “Stop the bus! If Kerry King is saying this is cool, this has to be worth a look!”

@BABYMETAL_JAPAN with @Slayer - One of THE BIG 4 - at Sonisphere!!  The king of thrash metal! (source Babymetal Facebook)
BABYMETAL_JAPAN with Slayer – One of THE BIG 4 – at Sonisphere.
The king of thrash metal! (source Babymetal Facebook)

And what I found was pure gold.

I couldn’t help but love it instantly. This absolute mad mix of metal, pop, dance and (at times) hip-hop and reggae appeals greatly to the metalhead AND pop lover in me. The vocals are so unbelievably sweet, cute, catchy and the music is by contrast evil, dark and heavy- monster riffs and thundering drums- heavy metal music updated with additional synths and electronic elements.

The music itself is only half of it. Babymetal is very much a visual experience- three singing and dancing Japanese girls in co-ordinating outfits performing with a backing-up band.

The self-titled debut album was released in February this year under Toy’s Factory record label and it’s all I’ve been listening to.

You can’t HELP but smile listening to this music, you can’t help but enjoy the chaos, the madness- it seems wrong but it’s definitely right!!!!!

 

So who is Babymetal?

Sumetal
Sumetal

Sumetal (Suzuka Nakamoto) is the lead-vocalist and the tallest member of the band. She’s 16 years old and a tiny 5 foot 1. She already has enjoyed a career in pop music singing with Karen’s Girl (a female trio who sang theme songs for the anime Zettai Karen Children) until 2009, then founding Sakura Gakuin (an idol group) until 2013 when Nakamoto graduated from junior high school.

Moametal
Moametal

Moametal (Moa Kikuchi) is 15 years old and a member of the idol group Sakura Gakuin. She plays guitar.

Yuimetal
Yuimetal

Yuimetal (Yui Mizuno) is also 15 years old and is a current member of Sakura Gakuin.

I found this blog post which further delves into the creative team behind Babymetal and the music industry of Japan: The Faces Behind Babymetal | Don’t Cross The Streams. Well worth a read. I am an absolute newbie to this part of the music industry, I know very, very little about Japan and its culture (apart from what I experienced when my aunt was married to Japanese man!), I’m just in love with this new musical force!

Babymetal
Babymetal

 

You must listen to the songs, you must watch the videos- you can’t miss this!

1st Annual Final Year Showcase of BA Music and Audio Production

Tomorrow night is a big night for us Third Year Music and Audio Production students at DkIT. We are presenting our major production projects in the Spirit Store and we’re very excited about it!

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We were the first ever intake of Music and Audio Production (2011) and our production  projects combine everything we have studied over the last three years.

We have worked with teams of musicians from the BA Music Applied plus other courses in DkIT as well as musicians outside of the college on our individual projects.

There will be something for everyone at this event- our songs range from Folk to Rock, Pop to Dance and Celtic New Age to Metalcore!

We are looking forward to celebrating our hard work and hearing each others final mixes.

Entry is free and doors are at 7.30pm, do come along!

More info: 1st Annual Final Year Showcase of BA Music and Audio Production | Dundalk Institute of Technology.

For course details please visit: BA (Hons) Production of Music and Audio | Dundalk Institute of Technology.