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Daring to Dream

Daithi Rua:

Great article by Leah Plotz

Originally posted on Vic Uni Journalism ACG5203:

By Leah Plotz

Dream; never fear.

It is an ideology most people only dare to take on in certain parts or in particular times of their life. Daithi Rua, 40, lives by it.

With the release of his last album, “Dream, Never Fear,” Rua celebrated 25 years in the music business. Has he survived doing this for so long because of his mantra? Maybe it has something to do with turning 40. Or maybe it is just Daithi being Daithi.

Any which way you look at it, there’s a lot of dreaming to be done in that long of a music career.

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Photo courtesy Daithi Rua

In just chatting with Rua for ten minutes, it becomes apparent that Rua has always just dared, always just dreamed.

When he was seven, he was in a community talent show back home in Ireland where he grew up. He sang a classic Irish…

View original 1,074 more words

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It was a dry and mild Christmas day when we packed the van in Gent and set off just after the crack of noon with guitars, sound equipment, food and enough clean clothes for two weeks.

It was sunny enough to wear sunglasses but you’d need a jacket outside.

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The journey ahead would take us through the countries of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, finally Norway.

 

We put winter tires on the van for that bit of extra grip should we experience snow or ice on the roads and of course it’s a legal requirement in this part of the world.

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The highways were busier than we expected them to be on Christmas day but so far the weather as far the Netherlands was dry and ideal.

We spotted lots of Buzzards and Kestrels en route, a sure sign of good weather according to Pluim (my friend/driver/roadie) who has knowledge on these types of birds and he told me that they generally only appear in dry or sunny weather

(I know some humans like that too I said) 

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A Rainbow Day

There are some crazy speed mongers out there.

A small stop near Hamburg for refreshments and sleep for the driver.

I called home to wish my family a Happy Christmas and it was lovely to hear them all having fun. I joked and laughed with them and tried to convince my mother that I had my Christmas dinner in McDonald’s. She wasn’t falling  for it

(I really missed her cooking though)

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Xmas wishes from wi-fi central

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Tea for the roadie

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Checking if we were on the list

We’re used to this ferry going every 20 minutes but hey It’s Christmas.

We were glad it was going at all.

One lonely looking Christmas tree with it’s lights dancing in the wind stood in a ridge of snow which seemed to have been left over from a previous flurry.

A taste of things to come perhaps?

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smooth 45 minute crossing and hello Denmark. The time was about 2.30am and I was beginning to doze off. I remember the red tail lights of a truck that we seemed to be behind for hours and waking up in time to pay the bloody expensive toll (43 Euros one way) to cross the famous Øresund bridge 8 Kilometers of manmade brilliance that crosses the Øresund strait and takes us into Malmo, Sweden.

The lady collecting the money handed us some pink and white Santa Claus sweets though which were delicious. We were strip searched at the Swedish customs on one of the last trips. This time we continued un-interfered with. 

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Denmark

 

IMG_2248We ploughed on as far as sleep would allow and as dawn approached we settled down near Göthenburg and I managed a few cold hours sleep in the cab of the van in a sitting position. Glad I had a pillow with me.

Pluim has his own in-built bed in the back of the van so at least he got a proper rest and he is the sole driver so his rest takes priority anyway.

Some morning tea and coffee and we were off again this time feeling the pinch of a December wind and admiring the whiteness of the Swedish countryside as we left Göthenburg and finally crossed that beautiful high bridge that spans the water that separates Sweden and Norway.

No stop at Norwegian customs this time also so in we went Oslo bound.

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A truckload of reindeer?

IMG_7159Snow suits Norway very well, It always looks like a winter wonderland, scenes from a book or postcard surrounded us though it was well below freezing outside every so often I’d lower the window and take photos and feel the pure cold on my face. wakey wakey.

As we got closer to Oslo we were met with freezing fog which made it difficult to navigate but we were not under time pressure so we made it safely and soundly. 1700 Kilometers later we arrived et the door of The Dubliner Irish bar which would be our home for the next two weeks and where we’d ring in 2013 among friends of all nationalities.

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IMG_2254IMG_2253Then when it was over we packed the van and drove back home……

Happy new year

The Ghent Office

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The T-shirt models

The T-shirt models

Just about seven and a half minutes walk up the street from where I live is my “Ghent office” or my local The Celtic Towers  (click for web site)

I’ve been hanging out there annoying the friendly staff and the owner John Kearns for over 10 years now, I mainly hang out there during the daytime as I’m  a great fan of pubs when I have them mainly to myself :-)

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with John Kearns

I’ve probably had more cups of coffee in this place than I’ve had hot dinners (though I’ve enjoyed lots of delicious hot dinners there also) :-)

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It’s a warm friendly bar that you can bring your family to for an afternoon or drop in to to watch your favourite soccer or rugby team on the big screens in the evening. It harbours many’s the local character also and you’ll find some of them in the photo’s below.

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Daithi says “STOP”and take a look at yourself

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many great friendships have been formed here over the years too as well as quite a few memorable nights of music.

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Photo by: David Taylor

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Lots of  staff came and went over the years

The mighty Emma. Keeping it all going

The mighty Emma. Keeping it all going

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Lauren’s back down under

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We miss Ellie too

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Put it on my tab… :-)

itchy and scratchy. (photo by: Valentin Pribilovsky)

Pluim the roadie and me (Photo by: Valentin Pribilovsky)

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Liverpool John

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some beermat art

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Some fool with a pink elephant hat

I wont ramble on here about it but go and check it out for yourself next time you’re in Gent (St-Michielshelling 5-6) 

Tell them all I said hello xx Daithi

Social networking

According to Facebook if you have over 2000 friends you can be classed as popular. What a load of shite. I know people with No friends who are more popular than I’ll ever be.
“He’s on that damn facebook again posting crap about his gigs” :-) facebook pages (fan site and regular) , reverbnation, Ustream, myspace (my what?) web site, blog, the mobile app, twitter, you tube etc etc etc on and on.

when all that’s updated and your one good typing finger is aching how are you going to strum a guitar for a few hours to nail that new song you’ve been working on since your career began? I don’t know. Social networking is a necessary evil these days kids whether you like it or loath it. With the demise of record labels us independent artists are embracing the power of the internet like never before, some of us are even investing in things other than instruments or studio time like PC’s and macs.. :-)

Apple mac

Bands and artists on every level in today’s industry are spending more and more time on the internet updating tour dates and trying to get their music out there and their fans interested that I have no idea how we ever find the time to write, rehearse, and find new gigs these days.

Did you know that 7 years worth of new video footage gets uploaded to you tube every day? 7 YEARS WORTH EVERY DAY!!  so if you or your band think you’re going to get discovered on you tube then think again. I DO recommend having a you tube or vimeo account though as people who want to book you want to see and hear what you do live and it’s a very useful tool. Stuff like mobile Apps seem to be becoming very popular also as more and more people use smart phones to access the net than ever before. I’m trying this one out which is free (to the user, not to me) and powered by reverbnation  http://www.reverbnation.com/daithirua (another handy tool to check out)

My free App

Finding ways to capture an audience even when you’re not on stage is also something I became fascinated with some years ago with the introduction of live streaming. Using something like Ustream http://www.ustream.tv/channel/daithi-tv really is an effective way to do that. It incorporates a live chat room where fans, friends and family can watch a performance from the comfort of their own home while you perform from the comfort of yours or indeed at a live event.

I like the fact that it takes place in real time but it also gets recorded if you wish for people to re play or share at a later time. Below is a really cool photo of some friends enjoying a live stream show the next day on their i pad during breakfast. :-) 

As an independent artist of any kind. Social networking is the only way forward unless you happen to be financially backed by a major investor or record label. Even then I don’t believe that anyone big or small can do without the power of the internet for promotion in this cyber world we live in. I’m finished updating my blog now the status and tour dates are done. I’ve twittered enough for one day. Same time same place tomorrow? or is it today already?  Confused dot com.

live stream for breakfast.

The Dubliner Folk Pub

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It’s early evening  and I’m hiding away from the growing crowd in the cosy back bar of the Dubliner folk pub www.dubliner.no in the company of two gorgeous and very friendly female staff members. There’s a huge crowd here and the noise level is increasing due to happy conversation.

It’s not even 6pm yet although it feels later as the daylight dissipates.

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I think I sang my first song up on the famous stage behind the railings in May of 1997 and have been more than a regular visitor ever since. I’ve played here solo, with my first band Sans Souci, in duo with Fiddlers         Snorre Solem and Aidan Burke, and Piano man Ed Veltrop to name a few.

I’ve fond memories of gigs and guest performances back in the day with Cormac Doyle, Kevin O’Sullivan, J. Eoin, Skirm, Eddie Sheehan and many other old stalwarts of this place.

With J.Eoin

I’ve seen the pub expand more than Cormac Doyle’s underpants over the years :-) and indeed my dear friend Cormac introduced me to Aidan Burke who was the fiddler in his band ” The Tide” at the time

Cormac Doyle

I literally met hundreds of people  here and formed many lasting relationships here. I have seen staff  members come and go over the years. Some of whom I still have contact with.

With Ed Veltrop

For a musician this is probably one of the more comfortable places to perform. A decent PA system, a protective railing around the stage for when the crowd get messy, proper security in the pub at weekends (wednesday’s and Thursday’s are usually event free)

a blast from the past (2008)

                                     

The best thing though is probably the comfortable band apartment  which is situated one floor up which is always spotless and well looked after by the lovely Henriette. In the early days it was 3 floors up and two touring bands used to share the one apartment which could sleep 8 to ten people. (Paper thin walls) You can  imagine the after hours happenings up there after both bands and their entourage  arrived back after a gig at 2 or 3 am. I will not go into details here but memories were made ;-)

These days my formal visits to the Dubliner  happen about 3 times a year to perform with Aidan Burke  (Fiddle) and Luis Landa-Schreitt (percussion) and I like to drive up from Belgium (Where I live) with my trusted driver and friend Pluim (The Celtic Roadie as we call him) This means I can travel with more sound equipment and guitars to enhance the sound/gig and  make the shows that little bit more enjoyable, and we all know the more gear you have on stage the better you are!! Ha ha. 

Pluim the Celtic Roadie. Feeding time :)

Jenks and I

This place is an office, a work place a drop in shelter, a music Mecca, a place where I’ve spent a lot of my life if  I add up the hours. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Oslo and must be one of the best bars in the world. I’ve most certainly had some of the most memorable  moments of my career on and off the stage in this unique pub. I could stay here every day. That would be ok :-) I’d be in good company.

Aidan, Me, Nigel, Luis, Cormac

It’s Friday !

It’s Friday!!!! That’s what most people shout out at the end of a long hard weeks work.

For working musicians it’s usually the beginning of our working week (well weekend anyway) Lots of working class people out there don’t really see what we do as work as we only seem to appear briefly on stage or in a bar somewhere then we’re gone till the next time they see us.

I guess they don’t think about the practice, the learning of songs, the spending half the day traveling to the destination, the hauling in the sound system, the sound check, the hours or waiting around until show time, the songwriting or composing, the living week to week on the money you do make, the long drive home after the show in all weather. Sure that’s not work is it?

This is my first blog and already I’m bitching and moaning…ha ha :-) To be honest i don’t see what i do as work either. The music certainly is not though the other stuff can be tiresome yes. I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do in this life, to bring songs (mainly my songs but other peoples too) to people who really want me to bring them.

I have done almost every type of gig/concert/show/toilet imaginable in almost 25 years of doing this and as I’ll turn 40 years old in May it makes me realize that although I’m not getting any younger the spirit of what I do is still alive deep down inside and when I get out there in front of a listening audience I feel like I’m 15 years old again showing off to some cute girl like I’m Elvis Presley (not much has changed i hear you say) :-)

So This weekend I’ll play in the town of Oudenaarde (famous for cycling) in Belgium and a house concert in Tilburg in the Netherlands (I lover house concerts) they’re intimate and cosy and the people there are always there for one thing (free food) no The Music… Then it’s off to Oslo Norway a place with a long history for me and a place dear to my heart to continue work on what I think will be my finest album or recorded songs to date…here’s hoping.

Ok I hope to Blog away here as time goes on with more musing from “Rua on the road” feel free to share them or laugh at them or whatever blog readers do :-) have to go and get ready as Pluim “The Celtic Roadie” my road manager/driver will be here in the van momentarily and he hates when I’m late.

Have a lovely weekend and maybe see you at the gig.  I hope I’m not too grumpy after my days work :-) xx Daithi

www.daithirua.com

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