Broadcasters at war over hit family act

YOU’VE heard of the Mammas and the Papas — well here’s something completely different.

Family trio Mary Murray-Burke, and her teenage son and daughter — collectively known as the country and western band Crystal Swing — have become an internet sensation and sparked a war of words between Newstalk radio and the state broadcaster.

Mary said they have all been blown away by the media attention.

“It’s a dream come true,” she said.

“We’ve always hoped a break like this would come. And I always hoped that someone would recognise the raw talent of Dervla and Derek. It’s my dream for both of them to make it out there.”

Crystal Swing have become an internet sensation after their He Drinks Tequila single was plugged on Sean Moncrieff’s Newtalk show last week.

Their YouTube video has racked up some 67,812 hits in recent days and has led to an invitation to perform on Ryan Tubridy’s Late Late Show on either March 12 or 19.

Mary has been in the music business for about eight years. She founded Crystal Swing some three years ago with Dervla, 17, and Derek, 18.

Derek is the lead singer and draws his inspiration from showband legends like Brendan Bowyer and Brendan O’Brien. He is due to sit his Leaving Cert at St Colman’s Community College in Midleton this year.

Dervla, who has a wonderful country and western singing voice, will sit her Leaving Cert exams at St Mary’s High School in Midleton next year.

Mary, who lives with her family in Lisgoold, was due to go on Moncrieff’s show last Friday to talk about their rise to national fame but was apparently told not to.

Moncrieff criticised RTÉ and said: “As the national public service broadcaster, RTÉ has a responsibility to promote and nurture new Irish talent.

“In this instance, RTÉ chose to restrict an opportunity for a rising music group to gain further publicity by asking them not to appear on other media.

“It seems a bit mean-spirited that a young band like this can be manipulated in this way. I’m very disappointed. I would have expected better from the Late Late Show.”

Meanwhile, Mary moved to quell the row.

“We’re awfully grateful to Sean and his team. He was the first national broadcaster to recognise us,” she said.

“We are so grateful to him for the promotion and airplay and for giving us the platform and the road to fame.”

She said the Late Late Show team had been “awfully nice” and that she did not want to jeopardise her family’s big break.

“They were the first to come to me about a TV appearance. They were very nice and wanted to do an exclusive,” she said.

The band has also spawned a raft of YouTube mimics — most of whom have been branded “jealous begrudgers” by one of their closest supporters.

Margaret Carey, a presenter on Youghal Community Radio, has been playing their music for some time and said they have also helped fundraise for the station.

“They are a very entertaining group which appeals to all ages,” Margaret said. “I remember taking money at the door one night and I went inside the hall and told the others they had to come in to see it.

“The audience were queued around the stage watching Derek perform. Then he took one leap and he was on the dance floor jiving with them.

“And I remember another night talking to a man after one of their shows and he said: ‘I haven’t seen that kind of thing since the Redbarn or The Arch Ballroom in Tallow’.”

The band has recorded two CDs, Sweet Dreams in 2007 and The Best Years Of Our Lives in 2009.

Crystal Swing is due to perform at the Walter Raleigh Hotel in Youghal on Mother’s Day on March 14 from 3pm to 5.30pm.


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