Ceol Anocht

Ceol Anocht: Interview : Basciville / Stephen James Smith / Cursed Murphy : 22/1/2022

What better way to introduce this years’s batch of interviews than by bringing together some of my favourite musicians and writers? In fairness, I didn’t create anything in that sense, just heard that musicians Cillian and Lorcan Byrne (AKA Basciville), poet Stephen James Smith and author / journalist / musician / spoken word artist Peter (AKA Cursed) Murphy had combined, despite (and perhaps because of) the recent lockdowns, to produce a fine new EP, “Tell It To A Tree”. I was delighted to make Albam Na Seachtaine, and was curious to find out more.

As they said of the EP themselves:

Kilmore roots-rock duo Basciville, plus two of the country’s foremost spoken word exponents, Stephen James Smith and Cursed Murphy, will release a collaborative EP, Tell It to A Tree, on all major digital platforms this coming Friday, January 14th. Featuring four tracks scored by the Byrne brothers Cillian and Lorcan, the material ranges from the confessional (Smith’s ‘Only for This’, Murphy’s ‘The Old Poet’) to the wry (‘Henrietta Street’) and the atmospheric (‘The Secret Keeper’), the vocal performances underpinned by piano, acoustic guitar, double-bass and ghostly gospel vocal arrangements that echo Leonard Cohen, Gustavo Santaolalla and Nina Simone.” 

It’s a beautiful piece of work, everyone stepping in and out of their respective ‘comfort zones’ to try, to create, combine, reassemble and search for a new way in and around. It’s resulted in a fine, crafted piece of work. It arose, in a way, from a previous false start:

“Initial sessions for the EP were recorded as part of Basciville’s residency in the National Opera House in Wexford in late summer 2021, and completed at the band’s Kilmore base in December. This release is the culmination of a journey that began when the four met in preparation for the 2020 SPLF Festival in Livorno, Italy, an engagement that proved one of the first casualties of Covid-19. Two years later, all are resident in Wexford, but have vowed to one day honour that Italian job. Meanwhile they are preparing to film videos for two of the new tracks, supported by the Shorelines Festival.”

While things have changed in respect of openings, there was planned and now will be a live performance of the work.  Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance will mark the release with a special show featuring Basciville and Stephen James Smith as guests at the Jerome Hynes Theatre in the National Opera House, Wexford on Saturday, January 29th.

Tickets and further details are available here

You can stream the EP here and purchase from band camp here