From the Toy Show to The Young Offenders, the kids and teenagers who attend the Kabin Studio Cork have been hitting all the right notes.
Run by Garry McCarthy, aka GMC Beats, the facility runs workshops for youths in rap, coding, playwriting, artist development, and even a podcasting workshop.
The Kabin, on Harbour View Road, work closely with the Music Generation Cork City, and Youth Work Ireland Cork, who run the Hut in Gurranbraher.
The groups recently came together with the Cork Migrant Centre for their Christmas Jam in Kino on Washington Street, where first on stage fresh from his Toy Show performance was Darren Stewart aka MC Tiny, alongside Killian O'Sullivan, aka MC Sully, Conor Meehan, aka MC Conzy and Coben Cullen, aka MC Sparkey.
They go to the Kabin where they write and produce music one or twice a week. Speaking to The Echo, the group said they “think it’s not good, it’s pure daycent!” MC Tiny said he was on “the toy show, and I was on the Young Offenders, and I was in a short film that was actually shown up on the big screen in the Everyman.”
Cara Cullen and Sophie McCarthy performed their original songs ‘My way’ and ‘Great potential’. “One of the songs we wrote in a three week workshop with two other people and the other song we wrote in the summer camp this year,” Sophie said.
“It can be (difficult to write songs) sometimes but when you have the track on and you know what you’re writing about, sometimes it comes easily,” she added.
Ava Collins and Katelynn O’Sullivan have both grown up going to the Kabin and the Hut, and now also act as tutors running workshops with younger kids. They performed ‘Put my head down’.
“I wrote that song when I was sitting my leaving cert. I was sitting inside in Home Ec and I was bored out of my head and I decided to write a song. I threw on my headphones with a beat in my ears and just wrote it,” Ava said.
“We have another two songs together. They’re completely different. Our other two songs are about mental health,” Katelynn said.
Mental health is often a topic that comes up in the songs, according to Garry who runs the Kabin.
“Most of the time the lyrics are related to mental health or something that they’re going through - the frustrations of being a teenager. Some of them write lyrics and poetry about friends that they might have lost to suicide, family members, they’re really really common topics unfortunately,” he said.
“We encourage them to talk about things that they need to talk about, in particular young males who might not feel open about talking. There’s still that stigma that if you're a man you’ve got to man up.
“I think writing lyrics and writing poetry and rap is just another way around actually having to really talk about it openly. I’ve definitely heard people reveal a lot about what’s going on in their heads, what’s going on in their lives through lyrics more than they’ve ever spoken in person, and it’s amazing,” Garry said.
“If something comes up that someone needs to be made aware of, or if they need extra support from a mental health organisation or youth project there are lots of supports in the area,” he added.
Shane Casey, known for his character Billy McCarthy in the Young Offenders, recently ran a workshop at the Kabin, which was funded by Cork City Council. While another of their graduates has appeared in the latest series of the show.
“RAPID in Cork City Council have supported a couple of projects we’ve done,” Garry said. “We put out a music video of a Young Offenders song that they helped us fund. That involved two guys who have been involved in the Kabin for the last couple of years - Danny Power who recently featured in a short movie called Christy and he got a big part in the Young Offenders as well and Daniel Sheehan who’s currently working on an EP of his own, and he’s starting to lead workshops as well,” he added.
MC Tiny, who’s one of the younger members of the Kabin said: “A lot of opportunities open up in the Kabin.”