Cork’s enduring love of music continues

Cities such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway have often enjoyed a special rapport with visiting acts, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
Cork’s enduring love of music continues

Kerri Chandler in Cyprus Avenue last weekend.

Many music acts enjoy a special relationship with Cork. Of course they have an affection for other countries, too, but Ireland is obviously a place that many people have enjoyed visiting over the years. For some reason, non-capital cities are more welcoming, and while Dublin is a great place to perform, with more venues and choice, cities such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway have often enjoyed a special rapport with visiting acts.

As a DJ, I spent a lot of time in those other Irish cities, and there was always something extra when it came to the hospitality. It’s the same with Manchester and other English cities. They are often more welcoming than London, which can be impersonal. But what is it about Cork? Cork people traditionally love telling everyone how great Cork is, so I won’t be doing that here, though sometimes it’s strange that we often run down our city among oursleves. Most of us will admit that we are lacking lots of things in the city, including a supportive music infrastructure, but if someone else slags us off, the wagons will circle and we will get defensive!

With the latest visit of Kerri Chandler to Cork last weekend, I got thinking about why certain people love coming here. Kerri is a friend of mine and I remember his first visits here. Sir Henrys was a special place and while many people are still hung up about the venue 20 years after it closed, for me, it was always more because of the music and the people and the DJs. Greg and Shane (and others) deserve the credit for developing a music sound in Henry’s that became known the world over, and while we never could claim to have invented deep soulful house, Cork became a huge emblem of its best sounds.

Sir Henry’s was a lot more than just deep house, though, and long before Kerri became the main guest DJ, Carl Cox, Justin Robertson, and Laurent Garnier became hugely popular here. They brought harder sounds than were traditionally associated with Sir Henrys, but each of them loved the club, the city, and the people, and they still wax lyrical about those nights years later. DJ Deep and others would also regularly visit Cork, and were a natural fit with the music vibes coming from Shane and Greg, who were soon developing Cork’s reputation further with their Fish Go Deep moniker.

In the back bar of Sir Henrys we welcomed DJs like Mark Rae, whose whole Grand Central label became hugely popular here, and various artists from their base in the north of England visited us a lot too. Luke Unabomber, Aim, Mr Scruff and others dropped by to the various club-nights that Simply Delicious and the Mor Disco crew ran, and Dr Bob Jones became a huge cult figure here too, and again he used to visit us not just for a gig, but for an extra day or two to hang out. Chandler continues to visit us regularly, and in the 2000s he would often spend that second night doing a free show in the low-key venue, playing jazz and soul and disco with myself and others.

This weekend, Cork welcomed him with another sold-out show in Cyprus Avenue, and he was blown away to see Cork City Samba band doing a lovely jazz version of one of his most iconic productions on Oliver Plunkett Street. ‘In My System’ and other tracks are mainstream jams in Cork and sum up this special relationship.

Once upon a time, the legendary underground house DJ Romanthony had a jam called ‘Make This Love Right’ that became really popular on the Sir Henry’s main floor when spun by Greg and Shane. The track became a cult classic in Cork and spread throughout Ireland, making Romanthony a household name here, long before he worked with Daft Punk. The New Jersey-born DJ sadly died 10 years ago, but I once interviewed him on RedFM, and he couldn’t believe how huge he was here.

Live acts and DJs have enjoyed our hospitality and musical knowledge, and we’ve always given them that love back. Music can make powerful connections and friendships and Cork will always welcome these great artists, like Kerri Chandler, back with open arms!

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Contact Us Cookie Policy Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions

© Evening Echo Ltd, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523713

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more