Beoga are back with a five-track instrumental EP entitled Breathe, released on 9th April. From the earthy vibes of ‘Origins’ to the invigorating joy of ‘Up’, each track in some way reflects the global upheaval over the last twelve months and the personal experiences of the band members. Produced by the band’s own Seán Óg Graham, Breathe is an EP that reflects a melting pot of emotions and influences held together by that unmistakeable Beoga sound.
The EP opens with ‘Origins’, a reflective air symbolising the hopes of a new year and new beginnings, featuring delicate piano and lush string lines amidst a pensive melody on accordion. ‘Disarray’ has darker, grungier textures with distorted electric guitars, drums and synths. ‘Up’ features a sample from the incomparable Maya Angelou, the iconic American poet – ‘Just like hopes springing high, still I’ll rise.’ This is followed by ‘Fires’ a meditation on climate change and the human role within it. ‘Breathe’ closes out the EP; vocal samples project a sense of meditative calm whilst fiddle and accordion provide a trad undertone throughout.
Beoga thrive on approaching Irish traditional music differently, whether that’s on production or by mixing genres. Breathe continues with that same adventurous spirit and along a path Beoga embarked upon with their May 2020 mini-album Carousel which introduced new audiences to Irish music.
Singer Niamh Dunne opines, ‘The record started out with fragments of ideas. In the last few years as a band musically we’ve taken a lot of twists and turns; we figured an instrumental EP would give us the opportunity to bring everything together in terms of a sound that captures where we’ve come from, as well as where we are now.’
The video for ‘Breathe’ will be released on Beoga’s YouTube channel on 9th April. Eamon Murray explains, ‘We hadn’t played together in real time for over a year so coming together really felt like a reunion, like the start of getting back on track after the strangest year we’ve had in almost twenty years together! We wanted to make something optimistic, while also capturing the isolation of the times we've been living through. With that in mind, we worked with our video director Billy Cummings to make the space between us really definite but also making sure we had shots showing that we are actually together again, not playing on Zoom or Facetime. Getting back in the room together and playing music feels like a new horizon, we could all feel that buzz when we were filming and I think we’ve captured that energy.’
Beoga was formed in County Kerry in 2002 at the All-Ireland Fleadh and the line-up features Damian McKee on accordion, multi-instrumentalist Seán Óg Graham, pianist Liam Bradley and Eamon Murray on bodhrán, with Niamh Dunne joining in 2005, on vocals and fiddle. After five albums, a shortlist for a Grammy and numerous international tours, Beoga reached a wider international audience as a result of a chance encounter with Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance and Johnny McDaid. This led to the band co-writing Ed’s massive hit ‘Galway Girl’ and ‘Nancy Mulligan’ from his album Divide. They also performed as Ed Sheeran’s only special guest on his headlining Glastonbury performance and supported him on his Irish stadium tour in 2018.