Old guitars make new careers as RTÉ awards shortlist released

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As we fully welcome the new year, broadcasters look to celebrate some of the best music released last year, new projects and tracks have been released and a local workshop continues its refugee initiative.

RNR Workshop, an instrument and equipment repair shop based in Gordon Street, Belfast, has launched a heartwarming campaign aimed at asylum seekers and refugees. In partnership with Beyond Skin NI, an organization using music, arts and new media for cultural education and exchange, fighting against racism and bigotry, they are asking the public for donations of used instruments to give to children in difficult circumstances so that they can continue their musical education.

Shop owner Leif Bee said, “I’m not from here. I am an immigrant who wants to help others because I know what it is like to be a foreigner in foreign countries. But I’m pretty lucky. When I moved here, it was not because my house had been destroyed or that I had been persecuted. I’m not a human rights lawyer or social justice activist, I’m just a guitar tech who has afforded the luxury of seeing the world with rock bands. Compared to others, I had it easy.

“Imagine what it’s like for someone from Syria or Afghanistan, looking out of a hotel window and seeing people carrying signs, struggling to share their community. It’s mind-boggling. It’s amazing how a musical instrument can cheer someone up in a bad place. It’s just a tiny step above food and shelter, but it’s a little luxury that reminds you that you are human and have a voice.

“So just give me your unused guitars. Even if you think it’s a write-off, let me be the judge. Maybe you have one in the spare room, attic, or garage, and you think it’s no good, or just a clutter, and for some reason you just don’t have the time to part with it, or it’s no good to anybody. If you don’t know what else to do with it, give it to me. Let me see if it’s salvageable. If so, this could really make someone’s day, or even launch a career.

Meanwhile, in the South, this year’s RTÉ Choice Awards shortlist for Album of the Year has dropped. Presented in association with IMRO and IRMA, this year’s final picks are diverse, symbolic of the breadth and depth of Irish talent on the final voyage around the sun. Headlined by the likes of Bicep, Elaine Mai, Orla Gartland and many more, Adam Fogarty, Head of Music at RTÉ 2FM, said: “The incredible standards currently being achieved on a regular basis by musicians and artists in Ireland. Although it has been an extremely difficult year for the music industry, many Irish artists, and not just those who have been shortlisted, have used the time, largely in the absence of live performances, to produce amazing music.

The show will air on March 3, live from Vicar Street, with tickets available to purchase online for the in-person event.

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Gaptoof raises funds for youth mental health

And at the end of this article, we find ourselves in the first real week of releases of the year. As creators get to grips with the new landscape that awaits them, the releases start piling up from now on. Three, in particular, caught my eye this week, and the spotlight first falls on a head from Belfast. Thom Southern’s “She’s So Precious” adds a shoegaze twist to its traditional indie-rock glaze. Former founder of the group MMODE, Southern distinguished himself on his solo projects.

Then, the third single from And So I Watch You From Afar’s upcoming album “Jettison” was also released. “Ill Lung” replaces punch with flow, stripping away the heavy elements of previous releases in favor of spooky, ethereal math-rock. Here they are most atmospherically interesting.

And finally, we have the latest project from Gaptoof, one of my favorite producers. ‘LEFTONSTREAM’, a collaborative series drawn from a number of impromptu writing sessions recorded live on Instagram, has arrived on digital tablets to benefit Jigsaw, the National Center for Youth Mental Health. Featured on the tape are the likes of Rhoshi, Rory Sweeney, Kobina, Chaz and Brién. About the project, Gaptoof says, “After the success of the first compilation tape (raising over a thousand for MASI at the time), I felt the need to do something similar to end the year. , especially with the start of LEFTONSTREAM. The benefit is twofold: talented Irish producers and artists shine and we raise funds for an incredible cause. »

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