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Declan de Barra
 
 
 
 
   
 
     
 
 
   
 
DECLAN DE BARRA
"A Fire to Scare the Sun"

Irish Release Date September 4th on Kila Records (RMG)
Featuring the International radio hits "Until the Morning Comes", "Brightest Star" & "Diamonds"

www.declandebarra.com ~ www.myspace.com/declandebarra

Waterford's Declan de Barra releases 'A Fire to Scare the Sun', the much anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut album 'Song of A Thousand Birds' (2006). Already a hit on world and indie music charts across Europe & America, Kila Records has licensed 'A Fire to Scare the Sun' for Ireland and is set to release it on September 4th. Known as a musician's muscian, many of Ireland's top artists have namechecked Declan, now based in Dublin, as an essential element in contemporary Irish music crossing over the genre divide from punk, world music, folk, trad, jazz.

Earlier this year, Declan was selected, along with The Coronas, Wallis Bird, and Fight Like Apes, to represent Ireland at Eurosonic, the prestigious European Music Conference and Showcase Festival held in Groningen.

UPCOMING SHOWS:

2009

18 Jul - CANADA - Alberta - Fort Macleod - COUTH COUNTY FAIR 5.10pm Mainstage

also 10:30 am East Stage with Jen Paches, David Ross Macdonald, Scott Nolan

12 Sep - FRANCE - Paris - France Inter - Les point des artistes - Radio show with audience (5 songs)

14 Sep - FRANCE - Paris - Sunset

15 Sep - FRANCE - Paris - Sunset

16 Sep - FRANCE - Paris - Sunset

26 Sep - FRANCE - ORLEANS - Festival De Loire

Sep 30 - Spain Salamanca - - TBA

Oct 01 - Portugal - TBA

Oct 02 - Portugal - TBA

Oct 03 - Portugal - TBA

Oct 04 - Spain - TBA

Oct 05 - Spain - Don Benito - - TBA

Oct 06 - Spain -Madrid - TBA

Oct 07 - Spain -Barcelona - - TBA


 
 
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Declan de Barra is a guerilla troupador. Growing up beside the sea in rural Waterford he always dreamed of hitting the road and that’s just what he did. Travelling the world playing his music to new crowds in different cities every night, all made possible by word of mouth and a strong DIY ethic.

The sounds absorbed during this nomadic existence have been distilled into an even purer drop on his latest album ‘A Fire to Scare the Sun”. And it is his voice itself which has been turning heads around the world and setting him apart from the pack. A beautiful dark intensity, sweetness and power with a connection hardwired to the soul. A unique voice for the hardest of times.

Foreign press have labeled him 'indie folk noir'. Never one for labels de Barra's live shows have seen him play varied venues from the Olympia in Paris to world music festivals in Germany to hardcore punk shows in the Basque country to contemporary music festivals in Vancouver.

Returning to Ireland after years abroad touring with various bands Declan released his debut 'Song of A Thousand Birds in 2006 to critical aclaim (featuring Richie Egan [Jape], Ronan O Snodaigh, and Turlough Gunarvardhana from The Chapters). After a jaunt around Ireland with friends and appearances on Irish TV and Radio, de Barra’s spent the next two years touring from Vancouver to Warsaw building up a loyal following wherever he played.

Word of mouth and rave reviews quickly saw Declan sign to various agencies and labels around the world.

A fire to scare the Sun has already been released in Europe with both Indie and mainstream radio play, live sessions on national radio, Fou du Roi and Pont des artistes on France 1, 2 meter sessions on Holland's Spin etc, rave print reviews and packed shows to enthusiastic fans. His voice also appeared on the soundtrack to the French hit movie LOL.

Declan was invited at the last minute to play Eurosonic 2009 after the promoters caught one of his shows in the Netherlands. Other festivals EuropaVox, Oerol, etc soon followed and Declan de Barra is now a regular feature on the overseas touring circuit.

de Barra’s produces everything himself – recording, production, artwork, merchandise, websites and videos. He only works with people he respects, from indie labels to musicians “You can always practice and improve, but if you’re an arsehole it’s unlikely to change. Life is too short to work with arseholes.”

The album features the talents of Cora Venus Lunny (violin viola and voice), Mary Barnecutt from the Vyvienne long band (Cello) Brian Hogan from Kila (guitar, lapsteel) And James Dunne from the RTE Orchestra.

  • ' A Fire to Scare the Sun' will be released in Ireland via Kila records and RMG on September 4th.
    Interesting facts and random (yet true) bullshit.
  • De Barra has worked on and off as a bouncer since he was 16 and was often regular sight on the door in Whelans or standing on the sounddesk beside sound engineer and Indie genius Valerie Francis.
  • He also bounced in Javas in Galway where the new Mr Spock also worked.
  • He is an acomplished animator with his films having showed in Film festivals around the world, some under an alias.
  • To combat boredom of travel on the road de barra started to write for TV.
  • He has written 11 episodes of the childrens series 'Funky Fables' for BBC and 2 episodes of new series 'Roy' to screen late 2009 on CBBC.
  • He is currently co writing the screen play for “Roy" funded by the Irish Film Board.

Irish Musicians on Declan de Barra’s ‘A Fire to Scare the Sun’

Richie Egan (JAPE)
“This is the sound of a warrior returning from battle... it's the sound of a man who carries his songs like jewels... it's the sound of truth bursting through skin and thought... the sound of saying what has to be said... dark and true, this album smoulders with plaintive melodies (scraps to feed bones, until the morning comes)... and soars with measured intensity (57 years).. Declan has created the truest expression of his vision with, 'A Fire to Scare the Sun' and every artist will echo his sentiment, 'there is hope in the insane'.


Julie Feeney
“Few voices in the world send chills down the spine. Declan de Barra’s guttural earthly and other worldly rawness is unparalleled.”


Pauline Scannlon
"Declan De Barra's voice is a thing of beauty and sincerity, I believe every word he sings, the honesty of his emotions push through every note... he's a brave and talented songwriter... love it!"


Vyvienne Long
"Declan de Barra has made a timeless album of haunted ballads and ritual fire dance songs which no matter how scared, the sun will be unable to turn away from. The gentle string accompaniment and magical percussion enhance his picturesque lyrics and his voice, an other worldly creation of masculine and feminine."


Rónán Ó’Snodaigh – Kíla
“Laying out the landscape of a song with a voice that could shout down 500 yards a whisper, Declan treats us to a story in a song with a show of emotion.”


Cora Venus Lunny
“A Fire To Scare The Sun is a beautiful journey through the intricacies of the heart, and shines with an inspirational light.”

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Declan de Barra – In my own words. (PR speak quotient 0%)

Mmmm biographies…are inevitably full of shite and designed to make the artist sound like they are the latest, hottest, bright new thing sweeping the charts. Life is too short to wade though shite. So I will write this myself and spare you the publicity speak.

There are no tales of rampant drug use, alcoholism or throwing TV’s out windows. It probably won’t make me sound like a rock star but there you go.

I have been a musician and artist all my life. I am lucky enough to travel around the world to meet new people and play music for them. Some times I get to play with amazing musicians who leave me feeling like I have been hit by lightning.

I was born on the southern coast of Ireland in a tiny village called Bunmahon. Lived in a caravan and then a bus for a few years. Went to school and discovered an immense disliking for pointless authority whilst developing a pure hatred for the Catholic Church who ran the ultra conservative state. The north of my country was on fire most days, we hadn’t invented the Celtic tiger yet and there was not much in the way of hope or work. And there was fuck all on the TV. At 18 I joined the tide of Irish people emigrating and moved to Australia. There I discovered I was very bored of hearing the phrase “I’m not a racist but…”

All this hatred of oppression of the weak, small mindedness and social injustice is pretty easy to find in my songs. I hope that hope itself seeps out in between the words not just bitterness. Well that’s up to you I suppose. The song and what it means belongs to you when you listen to it. That’s why I loathe deconstructing the lyrics for people. Nothing wrong with a bit of mystery.

Sometimes what I have to say gets me in trouble, not as much trouble as some other musicians I have met who have been put on death lists or have actually been locked up in jails for what they have said. And if you think I am talking about just third world dictatorships, you’d be wrong.

In Australia I studied as a painter but decided it was too elitist and slipped naturally into the world of music. It was electric form of direct artistic communication…fuck it, it was fun.

I spent years touring and playing intense music in various bands. The music went bang and so did I. Blood, torn joints, mental exhaustion and chipped teeth. I came close to having my left arm amputated once after a show supporting Kiss (Yes the guys in make up…wasn’t my idea). Buy me a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you the whole story. After years doing the band thing (start a group, record, tour, argue, break up) I decided to go it alone and picked up a guitar. I would have preferred piano couldn’t carry one on my back. I wanted to be mobile, a guerilla troubadour. And it’s pretty much worked out that way.

As a side note people often ask how did you survive for so many years without a “Real Job”. Well since I was 16 I have worked on and off as a bouncer, a goon, a meat-head. I am a big fucker and have been doing martial arts since age 9 so it was a natural progression. Short hours, flexible time, disappear for months on end, plus it gave me loads of time to think and write. I always carried a notebook for lyrics. Poetry on the door. Plus that absurd portion of life and the people I watched gave me lots to write about. It was the twilight zone on crack. I always thought of it as entering the right hand panel of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of earthly delights.

People trying to smash bottles in your face one minute, setting themselves on fire the next, laughing, fucking, crying, puking, urinating in crowds. Fortunately things have been good since I hit the road as the guerilla troubadour and I no longer have to speak drunkese.

In 2005 I wrote, recorded and released an album called "Song of a Thousand Birds" recorded mostly in an abandoned room in Dublin with a couple of songs recorded in Melbourne. I was lucky enough to have some of my favourite musicians from Ireland play on it along with two songs written with former Australian Clann Zú band mates. People said nice things about it and word of mouth spread enabling me to tour and keep writing.

Since then I have been on the road, one minute playing a world music festival, the next an indie rock club, punk rock squat or folk festival. Sometimes staying in a plush hotel sometimes sleeping on someone’s floor arguing with the cat for space. I love looking out into the crowd and seeing old and young, punk and world music jazz head, Goth beside Folkie. I didn’t plan it like that but it makes me happy.

In 2008 I recorded “A fire to scare the sun” in the same abandoned room I recorded my first album. I would love to say it was an easy process but it was like pulling teeth with rusty pliers and then shoving them back in again after dipping them in salt. Paralysis by analysis.

Sometimes you have to say “Fuck it, it is what it is...shut the fuck up and play”. So after months of agonizing over this word and that note I just went in and played. I let the songs be themselves without worrying. I sat back and realized I had “A fire to scare the sun”.

I was lucky enough to have Brian Hogan from Kila on lapsteel and Gretsch goodness , James Dunne from the RTE symphony Orchestra on drums, long suffering touring buddy and cellist extraordinaire Mary Barnecutt and virtuoso Cora Venus Lunny on violin and viola. After hearing Cora sing at a concert we played together I convinced her to sing on some songs. A good move.

I enjoyed singing on this record. I enjoy singing. Truly. Voice is my main instrument of communication. I can make it do things I could never do with another instrument. I never feel as alive as when I reach that place singing where I am out of myself and not in control. It just flows. That is magic to me and that is why I keep doing this.

I always design the art for the music, I am particularly happy with the art for “A Fire to scare the sun”. I think it reflects visually the sounds I hear. It’s all a cycle, I will speak a line or play a note and a little image appears in my head, soon it’s joined by others, very soon a little film begins to play in my head. Then I translate that into a song, and then sometimes I translate the songs back into paintings or animated films.

I am really lucky to work with such good agents and record companies around the world. I only work with nice people. Life is far too short to spend it with assholes.
So here I am getting ready to go out on tour again. For me right now life is good. I know for a lot of good people it is not. Life is short. I hope you are happy. See you on the road somewhere...

Declan de Barra

 
 
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