Patrick O’Laoghaire aka I Have A Tribe has returned with his new single, Teddy’s Song – his first new music to be released since his acclaimed debut album in 2016. We asked him the BIG questions . . .
The release of Teddy’s Song follows O’Laoghaire joining Grammy Award winning brass player CARM to open for Bon Iver at London’s Wembley Arena and Dublin’s Three Arena in October and supporting Villagers earlier in November.
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The new song features Patrick on vocals and piano, Conor O’Brien (Villagers) on trumpet, Oisín Walsh-Peelo on harp, Caimin Gilmore on bass and Dominic Mullan on drums.
Tell us three things about yourself . . .
Straight in with the hard question! I texted my friend for an answer. We play music together. He’s very kind. He said: Hi I’m Patrick. I love sending people letters, drawings, and long voice notes to keep in touch in a meaningful way and let them know that I love them. I built a dry-stone wall using stones collected from places my ancestors came from. It took a long time and I hope it stays a long time. Sometimes the dog jumps on it and knocks parts of it over. But that’s ok because I love the dog. I write songs and sing them and hope they offer something to somebody somewhere. Sometimes I sing very quietly, sometimes I sing loudly but all times I sing honestly.
How would you describe your music?
I texted my friend again. He was very kind again. He sent me a note about a gig we played once in Dingle. It said: “…and you sang your soulful words out for those in the room and those elsewhere too, and such was the sweetness in it that a few of us had lovely tears. And such was the joy of little Uisne when he discovered himself to be a band-man too.” Uisne was about 3 years old then, our friend’s little boy, we gave him a drumstick and he came up onstage and held the crowd in the palm of his hand like a little master. I think that little story might be a way to describe the music. I love to play music to welcome everybody into a tribe. I love a good groove, too.
Who are your musical inspirations?
More and more of them all the time. Anything that feels like it has a bit of freedom in it. I went to see Cormac Begley down in Cork once and I stood at the back and whatever he did with his music he made me physically stand a different way. Before he started, I was leaning on a wall. By the end I felt like I’d grown half a foot taller, and my shoulders were wide and if he’d walked out the door after the gig, I would have followed him all the way back to Mount Brandon I’d say. Musicians that can move you that way inspires me. Things I’ve heard people say inspire me. I asked a woman for directions the other day and she told me “just keep walking until you’re in the clear.” There’s a song in that one, maybe. I called to my neighbour once with a bottle of wine to say thanks for helping us move the furniture. “What’s this for?” he said to me. I told him it was a gesture of thanks for the help. And he said, “isn’t that what life is for- helping each other.” Things like that find their way into songs, maybe not literally, but the feeling behind it. Conor from Villagers inspires me. I went to see him singing a long time ago and his way with music inspired me to follow my way with music. He invited me to sing a song with him recently. About twenty seconds before the soundcheck it dawned on me how much of an inspiration he is for me, and I completely forgot every single word I was supposed to sing.
What was the first gig you ever went to?
My mother brought me to see Cher when I was a little one. Then she brought me to see Leonard Cohen. Dad swears I sat on his shoulders for a Kylie Minogue concert. Also, I remember sitting on the stairs in Joe Mac’s pub in Louisburgh drinking pints of blackcurrant and watching the island musicians play tunes for four days straight.
What was the first record you ever bought?
I don’t think I remember that. But I do remember stealing an Elliot Smith CD from my brother’s room. And he had a Kris Kross cassette tape. I just googled Kris Kross and apparently, he started a trend of wearing jeans back to front. Must give it a go.
What’s your favourite song right now?
Lately, right before a gig, I’ve been singing Ronan O Snodaigh’s Bí Ann to myself. I find the words of it really grounding, and lifting at the same time, which is a nice space to be in for playing. “The deeper the root the higher the branch”. There’s a line that reminds you to be yourself, in whatever company you happen to be in. It’s nicer in Irish.
Favourite lyric of all time?
Oh, Janey, I couldn’t tell you. There’s too many and there’s more coming all the time. I just listened to Lisa O’Neill singing “You hold a note, the note just moves the movement. Let go the note and so, move everything.” I’ll be wondering about that one for a while.
If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is a hard quiz! Maybe I’d take a song with me that’s always moving. Pony by Tom Waits.
Where can people find your music/more information?
My website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.