Body and Soul: six to see

The Ir­ish Times and Won­der­lust host your Satur­day af­ter­noon

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - DEAN VAN NGUYEN

The Ir­ish fes­ti­val sea­son is a cage fight each year, as dozens of events bat­tle for your money, time off work, and limited tol­er­ance of the sun. Only one, though, calls it­self an oth­er­worldly realm.

Body & Soul has its ethos burned right into the han­dle. The laid-back Ballinlough Cas­tle jam­boree of­fers an eclec­tic mix of art, mu­sic and per­for­mance. Here are six acts and events to catch.


Shookrah’s satin-smooth sound is like an old-school Chevy Im­pala with silk tyres and suede seats. The Cork band cut spot­less sum­mer-night R&B, when no beer is too cold, or ses­sion too late, and even sun­burn can’t kill the vibe. EP Cliches en­cap­su­lates their sparkle. The rhythm sec­tion’s jazzy grooves of­fer a snappy bedrock for Senita Ap­pi­ako­rang’s soul­ful voice. Else­where, the nasty gui­tar lines and hot brass of the older track Woman un­der­pin an em­pow­er­ment an­them that would sway Patti LaBelle.


Katie Laf­fan’s ec­cen­tric funk and easy-to-dance-to rhythms chan­nel clas­sic 1970s disco with­out sound­ing overly in­debted to any par­tic­u­lar artist. In­stead the Dubliner stamps a dis­tinct im­print on her work. Young tal­ents don’t al­ways ar­rive so fully formed.

I Don’t Mind sees Laf­fan, who is barely in her 20s, in­ter­lock­ing her off­beat vo­cals with a rub­bery bass line, funky gui­tar stabs and peppy drums. The dig­i­tal strings of the yearn­ing bal­lad Tro­phy find the singer lay­ing out the story of a frac­tur­ing re­la­tion­ship, re­veal­ing a more solemn side to her song­writ­ing.


Ahmed Gal­lab melds frag­ments of sub-Sa­ha­ran pop, blax­ploita­tion funk, shoegaze, Afro-rock, Krautrock and the spirit of Bill Withers into a blend that the Lon­don-born Su­danese artist some­how makes sense of.

The dinky ar­range­ments of Sinkane’s ear­lier work were charm­ing, but after a tough gig­ging sched­ule Gal­lab has evolved into more of a band­leader on his lush re­cent al­bum Life & Livin’ It. Ex­pect bright blus­ter, catchy cho­ruses and enough sunny pos­i­tiv­ity to melt the 99 flake out of your hand.


Idio­tape’s ar­range­ments scorch like a fire­ball of elec­tronic en­ergy. The South Korean elec­tronic trio’s heavy synth-driven rhythms draw from the gaudy glam­orama of 1980s elec­tropop and 1990s 16-bit gaming sound­tracks, with

Smooth as suede: Cork act Shookrah

a dol­lop of clas­sic Korean rock mixed in too. Idio­tape have also been known to slide a bat­ter­ing elec­tro ver­sion of Beastie Boys’ Sab­o­tage into their sets.


For­get the bands: there won’t be many at Body & Soul who can match Fred Cooke’s en­ergy. The wild-man co­me­dian has been on the cir­cuit for years, pol­ish­ing a funny mix of brash sto­ry­telling, lively phys­i­cal­ity and weird-as-hell acous­tic-gui­tar song­writ­ing.

The Ir­ish Time sand Won­der lust

Self-pro­mo­tion is ter­ri­bly undig­ni­fied, which is why we’re go­ing to do it only this once. The Ir­ish Times is com­ing to­gether with the Won­der­lust stage for Satur­day-af­ter­noon talks and dis­cus­sions that will cut into the nu­cleus of me­dia, pol­i­tics and cul­ture, and where the three in­ter­sect.

They’ll in­clude a spe­cial edi­tion of the Women’s Pod­cast; the Ir­ish Times jour­nal­ist Si­mon Car­swell chair­ing Time to Re­sist?, a talk about Trump, Brexit and the right; Arts Edi­tor Lau­rence Mackin mod­er­at­ing a dis­cus­sion of Cul­ture Ire­land with John Con­can­non; and my col­league Patrick Freyne, the DJ Sally Cin­na­mon and the co­me­dian Alison Spit­tle pre­sent­ing The Hack of Ire­land, a look at the un­stop­pable forces and im­mov­able ob­jects of Ir­ish cul­ture, such as coun­try and western mu­sic, the Rose of Tralee and The Late Late Show.

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