In what promises to be one of the highlights of the new year’s calendar, Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance, Basciville and Stephen James Smith will play a special three-act show at the Jerome Hynes Theatre in the National Opera House, Wexford on Saturday, January 29, 2022.
The concert will also mark the release of a collaborative four-track EP, Tell It To A Tree, recorded as part of Basciville’s recent residency in the National Opera House. This release is the culmination of a journey that began when the collective, plus Colm Mac Con Iomaire, met in preparation for the 2020 SPLF Festival in Livorno, an engagement that proved one of the first Covid casualties. Two years later, all are resident in Wexford (Stephen moved from Dublin just before lockdown), 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.
Cursed Murphy Versus the Resistance’s eponymous album was released in summer 2020 to stunning reviews from the Irish Times, RTE, Hot Press and the Sunday Times among other publications, receiving airplay from Paul McLoone, Dan Hegarty, The John Creedon Show, Late Date and Arena.
The band formed when Cursed Murphy, aka writer and spoken word performer Peter Murphy (author of the novels John the Revelator and Shall We Gather at the River), plus guitarist Dan Comerford joined forces with four members of the German-Irish drum crew Bloco Garman, including the Gangnus sisters Rebecca, Tamara and Jasmin.
“For want of a better description, we started referring to ourselves as a mutant ninja spoken word punk rock 'n' roll band,” Peter says. “Tamara came up with the name The Resistance. It seemed to suit the sound and the songs. I think if this album has any kind of theme, it’s a refusal to roll over or give in, no matter how grim the circumstances.”
The ensemble have just completed writing and recording sessions for their second album, due for release in mid-2022. Of the Jerome Hynes show, Peter says, “We’re proud and honoured to share the stage with our friends and fellow travellers Basciville and Stephen James Smith. This EP is a collective leap of faith into the unknown. We can’t wait to play the show.”
Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today. To date, his poetry videos have amassed over 3 million views online. In 2017 he was commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival to write a new poem as a “celebratory narrative” of Ireland. The resultant piece ‘My Ireland’ is accompanied by a short film by Director Myles O’Reilly, arranged and mixed by Conor O’Brien (Villagers), with music by Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Loah, Saint Sister, Eithne Ní Chatháin (aka Inni-K) and Ye Vagabonds. It has been viewed over 300,000 times online and was screened at London Film Festival in Trafalgar Square on March 17th. The poem was in many ways a follow on from Smith’s previous poetry video Dublin You Are, which itself clocked up in excess of 250k views.
Stephen’s debut collection Fear Not, published by Arlen House, was released in September 2018 and he has recently released a poetry pamphlet Hear Now. His poetry is included on the syllabus at Western Connecticut State University and his work has been translated into Irish, Spanish, Slovenian, Polish, Dutch and Italian.
Basciville are Irish brother duo Cillian and Lorcan Byrne, whose sound explores the joys and sorrows of human existence through intense lyricism and dark harmony. Hailing from Wexford, Ireland, both studied music and composition at Waterford Institute of Technology before embarking on a career as session musicians for many well-known Irish acts, including Susan O’Neill, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Ailbhe Reddy.
The band recorded their first autonomous music under the name Basciville in 2016, in the form of the Blues in Red EP. The success of this release led to them signing with a UK label under which they released a succession of ‘sound-finding’ singles before embarking on the independent route. After taking the time to accumulate the gear and the skills required to record their own music, they set up a studio in their home in Ireland and started a label and production house. Since then they have worked as producers with some of Ireland’s leading acts, as well as releasing a second EP – For All Lost Youth – and the critically acclaimed debut album Hymns to the Air.