Interview with Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh – This is How we Fly – Pavilion Theatre – 15/11/18
We had the chance to put some questions to Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh of This is How we Fly ahead of their gig in the Pavilion, Dun Laoghaire this week. You can see the results below.
This Is How we Fly brings together a dancer and three musicians, each of them rooted in different cultures and musical vocabularies, each on the cusp of their most fertile and creative years.
What was the first instrument you learned to play and at what age?
When I was six years old, I believe I pestered my parents to buy me a fiddle. When we went looking for a fiddle teacher, none would take a child so young, and so I ended up with a rather severe “violin” teacher, who managed to turn my love for music into revulsion in the space of a few short months, and it ended badly. I was ten years old when my parents convinced me to try some fiddle lessons again.
When did you start to fall in love with music?
I guess I must have fallen in love with music is some shape or form by the age of six, but I don’t really remember. But on re-starting at the age of ten, it took maybe a year or two for the music to really take hold of me, and then my teenage years were pretty much full immersion in the music.
You studied physics in Trinity, I believe. How close were you to following a career in that path?
Not close at all. I studied it because it is fascinating and because it came easy to me. But by the time I finished college, I already knew I didn’t want to spend my life in that field.
A large part of previous performances from ‘This is how we Fly’ has been the various stories each band member tells. Can we expect more of the same this time out?
I’m glad you feel that way! I guess it’s not necessarily a huge part of how we view a concert ourselves, although we do feel it’s quite important that each person has a voice and reveals something of their character through what they say alright. And in the tradition I come from, tunes always have stories wrapped up in their names, as well the story of the lineage by which it found its way to your fingers. So these tunes we write, they’ll often have something to be said about them – it’s a way to give the audience an ‘in’, too – some kind of context and a few suggestions for the imagination to play with.
You also play with the Gloaming in huge venues such as the National Concert Hall and headlining festivals such as Body&Soul. Which style of gigs do you prefer, the bigger ones or the more intimate ones?
I prefer the more intimate gigs myself, I have to say, although it’s such a privilege to play those extraordinary venues too. It’s quite nice to be able to do both, they keep each other fresh, I think!
Is there talk of further albums/ tours from This is how we fly?
Oh yes! We’ve recently started writing some new material as part of our residency at the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, and we’ll be doing more of that during this tour. Once we have enough new material, we’ll certainly be thinking about a third album as a band. We’ve also recently done a soundtrack for a Polish film, which was so much fun to do as a band, and we’re hoping more soundtrack work might come our way. It was quite a different way of creating material for us, and we think it might lead to some material that feels quite different to what we’ve done before.