*** Originally posted on April 26th, 2021.
Every so often I get to interview a high profile musician as part of the Comhrá Covid series and my guest on this occasion is one of the finest musicians to emerge from this country.
Cathal Coughlan, renowned for intriguing and literate creativity with his bands and collaborations over many years, announced a while back that a new project was imminent. Like many of his fans, I was especially delighted to hear this and my expectations were high. We have been more than well rewarded on the occasion. Unlike the lucky few, I had missed the Microdisney run of gigs so this was also a bonus of sorts.
His sixth solo album, Song Of Co-Aklan, was released by Dimple Discs on March 26, 2021 and maintains his place as a songwriter with plenty to say and a myriad of intriguing musical ways to say it. He’s collaborated with a number of people consistently over the years to great effect but his list of musicians on this album is a veritable who’s who of the indie scene.
The album features collaborations from Luke Haines (The Auteurs, Black Box Recorder), Rhodri Marsden (Scritti Politti), Irish vocalist Eileen Gogan, and Coughlan’s former Microdisney bandmate Sean O’Hagan (The High Llamas). Musicians included: drummer Nick Allum (The Fatima Mansions, The Apartments), James Woodrow on guitar, with very tasteful cello by Audrey Riley (who has worked with The Smiths, Nick Cave, Lush, The Sundays, The Cure, The Go-Betweens, Smashing Pumpkins, Catherine Wheel, Moloko and Coldplay).
As has been the case with many new album releases in the past year, plans for the launch had to change radically to cater for the new reality. This, perversely, allowed for a great access to Cathal and more time than might otherwise have been feasible. It presented an opportunity for me to ask him about the making of very highly regarded album “Song Of Ko-Aklan”.
We chat about the making of the album itself and – as you’ve no doubt come to expect from this series – meander hither and yon.
He was a gracious guest and it was a real thrill on a personal basis to speak with him.
*** 23/5/2022 : News has reached us of Cathal’s untimely and unexpected passing. We are shocked and deeply saddened as fans and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.