We banjo 3 follow the light

WB3 assemble stunning lineup

WB3 is spearheading a streaming event on Aug. 29.

Traditional Music / By Daniel Neely

With the world of live music not making any sort of substantive comeback in the near future, artists are increasingly taking things into their own hands and we’re finally beginning to see some of the larger bands make some most welcome noise.

For example, on Sunday I was chatting with Cillian Vallely and it seems trad supergroup Lúnasa is actively working on some exclusive online content for fans. The launch date is still to be determined (weeks, not months), but watch this space, as they say – I’ll definitely keep you posted when they make their announcement. Can’t wait to hear from these guys, it’ll be so refreshing.

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Then last week, We Banjo 3’s leader Enda Scahill reached out to tell me about “Follow the Light,” a streaming event WB3 is spearheading on Aug. 29. Billed as “a virtual festival experience” that will “bring artists and fans together for an entertaining, engaging and authentic celebration of community,” it promises to be excellent show.

This is an intriguing prospect, as We Banjo 3 has been extraordinarily active interacting online with fans in all sorts of ways during covid. They do regular “Live on Socials” spots (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) in which each member of the band takes turns performing and interacting with fans. These spots allow each group member’s wit and charm to come through, which fans, I’m sure appreciate greatly. (I think my favorite content are the interviews Enda does – his chat with fellow banjo titan Gerry O’Connor was excellent – and still up on their YouTube channel!)


However, what will make “Follow the Light” something of a blockbuster for fans is a stunning lineup We Banjo 3 has assembled, featuring some of the biggest names on the festival circuit. On the night, WB3 will be joined by Gaelic Storm, Sharon Shannon, Nathan Carter & The East Pointers – just an amazing lineup. In addition to performances, the broadcast will include interviews by WB3 and more. It promises to be very special event, and fans of these bands won’t want to miss it. Again, the two hour show will air on Saturday, August 29th, at 5pm ET (10pm IST). For more information and for tickets (for just the show or for the gig-plus-meet&greet-afterward), visit www.webanjo3.com.

Another really extraordinary upcoming online show is Lankum’s “A National Disgrace.” This one will broadcast this coming Saturday, August 15th, and is being billed as “a gradual descent into a warped, dreamworld of musical performance, theatre, doorways, passages, drones and existential uncertainty.” If you’re a fan of Lankum, you’ll know that this makes perfect sense.

In the band’s announcement, they describe the show as follows: “In 1926, a furious Yeats took to the stage of the Abbey theatre, in an attempt to quell the riot that had erupted during the premiere of Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars. The audience, offended by O’Casey’s themes of prostitution and use of blasphemy and profanities, objected, thus marking an evening that was publicly deemed A National Disgrace.

“On Saturday 15th of August, almost a century later, LANKUM, along with a number of special guests from the contemporary world of Irish music and comedy, will take to the same stage and bring you an evening like no other. Broadcast live online to exclusive ticket holders, the group will host a very special one-off, immersive, surrealist experience.”

This remarkable event will include two unique, continuous sets of music featuring material from all three of their albums, as well as new, never-before-performed material. Band member Ian Lynch told me that “there’ll be plenty of voices from beyond the grave, too”: turns out, the performance’s narrative will make liberal use of archival audio samples (both from folklore and Irish history more broadly). They’ll also include a number of intriguing guests – musicians, yes, but there will be other sorts of performance artists as well.

This one’s definitely more than a simple concert of balladry and should be amazing. Lankum’s engaged, critical approach to music and art will be on full display and I anticipate they’ll break some new ground for virtual performance. “A National Disgrace” will broadcast 4pm ET (9pm IST) and it will remain available to tickets holders for 24 hours after the performance. To learn more about Lankum, visit their website at lankumdublin.com. To purchase tickets for “A National Disgrace,” visit tinyurl.com/ANationalDisgrace.