A question of taste: Cork singer-songwriter Sam Clague

Sam Clague is a singer-songwriter from Clonakilty, Co Cork. He is among the performers at the Quarter Block Party festival, around the South- and North Main Street areas of Cork city, from February 8-10.

See quarterblockparty.com

Best recent book you’ve read

Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.

Best recent film

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

Best recent show/gig you’ve seen

The Altered Hours played a fundraiser for the Sexual Violence Centre Cork just before Christmas. It was in Cyprus Avenue, which has just been renovated, so it’s very spacious in there now and has a huge stage and system. There were loads of great bands on, but when the Altered Hours played, I felt like I was transported into a dream. I was also dying with the flu and could barely stand up, but I stayed for the whole thing, because the music was so incredible.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old)

Meditation on Integration, by Charles Mingus. It’s a really hauntingly dark piece of music, that’s nearly 20 minutes long. Its jazz, but it’s almost like classical music in bits. Eric Dolphy plays amazingly in it and there’s some great footage of them playing it on Youtube. I’m pretty much always in the mood to listen to Charles Mingus, so luckily there’s loads of it out there.

First-ever piece of music or gig that really moved you

Nirvana were the first band I really got into, when I was maybe 10. I remember thinking they where the only band I was ever going to be crazy about forever. I still jump on the couch and scream along to some of their tunes, but I forgot there was all this other great music for about a year. I think I was a really angry kid and it was nice to hear someone angrier than me.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!)

I saw Martin Hayes and Steve Cooney at It Takes a Village festival. It was just incredible music. My legs were literally tingling with excitement. When I tried to explain the feeling to people who where there, afterwards, it seemed that everybody experienced the same thing. People kept talking about it for hours afterwards. It’s not like we didn’t know Irish trad could be amazing, but that show was really eye-opening.

Tell us about your TV viewing

I only watch TV at Christmas, but I have the odd Netflix binge.

Radio listening and/or podcasts

I like Lyric FM, especially at night. I listen to the Blindboy Podcast weekly, but recently have been enjoying the ‘Irish History’ podcast. It’s good to know stuff that you didn’t know.

Blindboy Boatclub

You’re curating your dream festival — what three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

B52s, Fats Waller, and Debussy.

Your best celebrity encounter

I played a gig India and there was this drunk lady who kept heckling us. She turned out to be Magenta in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

You can portal back to any period of cultural history or music event – where, when, and why?

I would probably go back to the Cavern in Liverpool and see The Beatles with my uncles. My dad was just a bit too young to get in back then.

Unsung hero – individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve

Dorethy Ashby was an amazing jazz harpist and composer, who definitely hasn’t gotten the credit she deserves. I particularly like her album Hip Harp and all the stuff from the late 1950s. Who thought you could swing so hard with a harp?

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree?

Spotify isn’t allowed hoard musicians’ money anymore!


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