With news filtering through this week that independent music festival, Knockanstockan is to take a years hiatus and return again in 2018 it was funny timing that a week after their last festival for 24 months, The Leap Sessions Collection celebrated it’s first major musical feast on Bank Holiday Monday at the Salmon Leap Inn.
The timing of course was purely coincidental but important nonetheless. The Leap Sessions is only in existence less than 6 months but is gaining momentum both organisers Bobby Harpur and Ross Breen had only hoped for back in February.
The similarities with Knockanstockan are not defined by size but philosophy. And the philosophy is to encourage local music production and provide a platform in the wider community for our neighbours to showcase their incredible talents to a wider audience.
So far this year, The Leap Sessions has hosted 10’s of local, independent musicians who heretofore had nowhere to showcase their music locally. This included the surprise visit by Bell X1 a couple of months ago and also many international artists from Scotland, Germany, Canada, America, Peru, France and others.
So to Bank Holiday Monday. The day was opened by the wonderfully gifted Enda Reilly. Enda noted though he lives a mere few hundred metres from the venue he had to traverse the northside/southside divide of the river liffey to attend this gig.
Next up were The Cool Bean Collective. A collection of local musicians from various different bands who performed a number of acouticised cover songs. On drums was Jonny Kelly, Bass Eoghan O’Neill, Vocals Jenny Wren and vocal/acoustic guitar was host Bobby Harpur.
The Millimetres followed. Both Jonny and Eoghan remained in place to be joined by Leo and Alsion. The Millimetres are a part of the popular Early House, soul and funk band. They took the audience through a set of feel good, groove and funk relying exclusively on the skills of the musicians to a smiling, swaying audience.
Jenny Wren gave an impromptu performance of her music in a short set that bridged the Millimetres and Markas Carcas. Recently back from signing her first publishing deal in London and writing a theme for the new Julia Roberts movie, Jenny is a wonderfully gifted musician from Leixlip who performs with warmth and a smile on her face.
The inimitable Markas Carcas, less arrived on stage as stormed the party with an incredible force. Mark, Koach and Bob (two acoustic guitars and a drum) sound more like a 10 piece ensemble when they get going, than anything you could ever hear. Their stomping set changed the pace so dramatically one could be forgiven for thinking that tectonic plates were beginning to shift underfoot. This was celebration of music like nothing else.
The unenviable job of following Markas Carcas was landed by White_Mice. Led by the ridiculously talented Leixlip native, Sinead White any doubts the audience might have had were immediately dismissed as Sinead led her band with consumate control, not wasting a note. Earlier in the week White_Mice had opened for Irish legends Ash at the famous Abner Browns sessions in Dublin but today they were second to nobody. Meoldies tickled the senses and Sinead had the audience in the palm of her hand.
The Leap Sessions very own Ross Breen was next to spoil our appreciative audience with a rousing set of his own. Again, Ross is a Leixlip native and is creating a niche for his brilliantly constructed music that has taken the ears of Hot Press, Irish Independent Windmill Lane Sessions and regular performer at Knockanstockan itself as well as the Electric Picnic.
To finish this days celebration of home made talent was Gavin Glass and his band. Firstly, Gavin is a top class musician, but he also hosts ‘Locals Only’ radio show on Radio Nova and has previously held fort on Americana show on TXFM. Gavin runs his own studio and is a massive cahmpion for local independent musicians. It was truly a huge nod to the Leap Sessions for Gavin to come out with his band which included our own Ciaran Oman on Bass guitar and support our first ever Leap Sessions Collection.
And here’s the thing – EVERY act that played at this event had strong connections to Leixlip! With very little notice, these busy musicians were happy to set aside what could have been well needed family time or R&R to play at The Leap Sessions Collection.
“Music is so strong in our country but it seems to me and certainly in speaking with others here today that in Leixlip, we have something in the water that makes our community just that little bit more special”, said Bobby Harpur. “Maybe there have been similar events in other parts of the country previously but this is the only event that I can think of off hand where every one of these superb acts is directly connected to the town. Not only that but I was looking across the venue throughout the day and standing in the audience were significant number of local musicians who could easily have been playing here today and hopefully will the next time we host this event.
“We have a top class champion in Cathal O’Shea, proprietor of the Salmon Leap who pulled out all kinds of stops to make this event happen at such short notice and we cannot thank him and his staff enough.
“The only thing we need now is for the great and the good of Leixlip and further afield to support the bread and butter Leap Sessions every second Tuesday so that their sons and daughters know that we ALL encourage their efforts and more importantly to show that we are PROUD of what they are achieving!”
The next Leap Sessions takes place on Tuesday 9th August at The Salmon Leap Inn and starts at 9.30pm.