The largest music project of Limerick’s City of Culture year comes to fruition this weekend and promises to leave the city’s music industry with a lasting legacy
by Eric FitzGerald
AS PART of Limerick City of Culture 2014 and its biggest musical event, over 60 Limerick musicians, producers, engineers and documentary makers have collaborated to produce ‘Sound Out & The Pigtown Fling’. This is a musical legacy project that has seen the city’s creatives work together on an original musical body of work that will be released on CD and premiered this weekend at Crescent Hall on O’Connell Avenue.
Curating the project is Noel Hogan of The Cranberries (producer) and Dr John Greenwood (creative director). The Pigtown Fling is the end result of over a year of workshops, song-writing, rehearsals and recording with an overall aim to develop a sustainable music industry in Limerick City.
Dr. Greenwood explained, “The watchwords of The Pigtown Fling are ‘Made in Limerick’. The Pigtown Fling amply demonstrates just how vibrant the Limerick music industry is at the moment. While we have benefitted from the expertise of Limerick citizens in places as far apart as London and Los Angeles, all of the creative work was undertaken in Limerick City over the last year.”
Producer Noel Hogan got involved in the project in the summer of 2013 when John Greenwood pitched his idea for the Pigtown Fling. Speaking to Limerick Post this week, he says, “I was intrigued really, the thought of all these different people from different bands never having worked together before, coming into the studio to work on these songs.”
The Pigtown Fling was a mammoth production involving 47 performers contributing to 17 original songs. It took the equivalent of three months of seven days a week recording time to complete the process.
“It was amazing to see so many artists with no attitude and no tantrums, everybody was just totally open to the process.” Noel has been producing for over 20 years but had never worked with so many on one project and simply remembering who was doing what every day was a challenge. “It was a great experience and I made a pile of new friends because of it as well.”
Musician/ filmmaker Shane Serrano has been documenting the Pigtown Fling sessions along with other Limerick filmmakers Stephen Hall and Brian Cross based in LA. The recording of Pigtown Fling will form part of an extensive documentary of Limerick’s music makers to be completed in the coming months. The Pigtown Fling sessions brought together generations of Limerick musicians who had not worked together before.
Shane says, “There were some cool scenarios. James Hanley had a piano piece he had written in the early ’80s and he finally got to finish it with singer Conor J Ryan – who wasn’t even born when the piece was first composed. Brian Mulcahy of the O’Malleys got to write and record a tune with his son Paddy Mulcahy AKA electronic music producer Nubus. They had never worked together before.”
In a week when Apple gave away U2’s new album for free to 500 million iTunes users, Noel Hogan was in complete agreement with Pigtown Fling originator John Greenwood that the Pigtown Fling record would be devalued if it didn’t have a cover price.
“If you gave it away for free, it kind of devalues the thing. If there is money made from this, it will be going to local charities,” says Noel. “The rule book is really gone when it comes to releasing music these days. To record an album costs a lot of money. If you are a young band and you have invested everything into your album, you should be hoping for some return. For a band like U2 it makes sense, but you can’t put them in the same category as a band starting out. It’s a great gesture for their fans who have stuck with them.”
Noel Hogan is confident that The Pig Town Fling will not be just a one night stand next Saturday 20 but will have a legacy for the music business in the city.
“The hope is that we can do Pigtown Fling every year, using all the facilities that we have used this time in Limerick while bringing in bands from outside Limerick as well. The infrastructure is here to be able to do this. We know what we need to do it. We know how much time we need to do it.”
At the recent launch Hogan stated, “The challenges – and ultimately the strengths – of making this record involved bringing together a very diverse range of musicians, performers and songwriters. Many of whom, while they might have been on nodding terms on the streets of Limerick, had not played together before. The end result is an incredible fusion of genres, sounds and talents.”
The Pigtown Fling featuring over 40 musicians happens this Saturday September 20 at Crescent Hall on O’Connell Avenue. Tickets are available from Lime Tree Theatre box office. Pat Shortt and Today FM DJ and Undertones lead singer Paul McAloon will compere the event. Tickets for the event are €12 which includes a copy of the limited edition CD.
The CD can be collected on the night of the gig on production of the ticket. Proceeds of the project go to Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol and The Learning Hub.