Review of our ‘IMRO Emerging’ Tradfest gig – from Irish Music Magazine, March 2016 edition.

The Living Stream cut a great sense of dash in their music, very modern in an old fashioned sort of way.

A big eight piece band, I made a note: “a tribe of Young bloods secure in their tradition”.A folky backing of mandolin and banjo over which Brian Kelly’s vocals cut through like a latter day Luke Kelly. Brian’s songs deal with the Dublin and Ireland of today as Luke’s did with the rare old times. Some things never change; emigration and the shortcomings of authority are millstones that grind us all. Brian Kelly’s songs are littered with references to modern urban Ireland, the thrown away detritus of the late night takeaway, the cat–called ballads evoking the deeds of young men gone before our grandfather’s time.

One such song is Rebel Charm, sung to a tune well–known in Bansha, County Tipperary, called The Peeler And The Goat. Kelly takes the melody and asks us a serious question or two in this centennial year. There will be comparisons made with the Lynched who were the revelation of 2015. The Living Stream are just as thoughtful, just as perceptive, probably equally angry. The power of folk song to protest with a wry commentary about our present is in good hands with Brian Kelly and the Living Stream. – review our our debut video ‘Rebel Charm’

This is the debut video by The Living Stream, a new group that has recently formed in Galway. Established by Brian Kelly in 2015, the band evolved from a recording session that was initially low-key in its goals. That however changed as the recording progressed, and they are now about to release a debut album.

The album will be on release in the coming weeks with the video below giving some insight into the project and sound. Brian describes it as an album that “oozes modern Ireland”, with a “fresh new sound in an old traditional style.” He feels that it is a perfect platform for a thoughtful and measured critique of Ireland today.

This video features the first track from the album “Rebel Charm” which he says is a powerful march that uses a century-old melody to cut straight to the heart of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland; the 1916 centenary, outdated abortion laws, bank bailouts and Irish Water.

“No topic is too plain, or idea too sacred to be pulled apart and re-imagined. With rolling rhythms come protest songs, love songs, nostalgic songs and personal songs. The whole album is a subtlety intricate and forceful piece of work. One that attempts, in true folk tradition, to describe the lives of ordinary Irish people in 2015. It aims to be both a soundtrack to, and a record of the time.  The album is set for release in Spring 2016.”

Having never played a gig, the band were chosen by IMRO to play their coveted Emerging slot at this year’s Temple Bar Tradfest. And off the back of which, planning is now underway for their first US Tour in the Autumn.

The band are Brian Kelly – (vocals, guitar), Barry Walls – (guitar), Geoff Ward – (banjo/mandolin),Niall Connaire – (fiddle), Niall McQuaid – (bodhrán) and Jeremy Biskits (whistle).

Galway Independent, Setlist – March 2016 “Irelands Newest Kings of Trad”

Excerpt –  “How many bands can say they have won an award without ever having played a gig? Not many – but new 8-piece contemporary trad and ballad group The Living Stream have, and they’ve been on a crazy journey since their inception in a Galway studio in July 2015…”