Irish Folk band, The Jeremiahs are making their return to An Lanntair’s stage eight years to the day from when they first performed on the island – on August 18th 2014.
Since then, a lot has changed. The band have gone on to perform in some of the top venues and festivals across Europe and USA, Covid happened, and now they have a new band member!
Hailing from County Cork is the newest addition to the group – Niamh Varian-Barry. Niamh is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, excelling in fiddle, viola, piano, guitar and of course her wonderful voice. Joe Gibney, lead singer of the band said: “Niamh has been a friend of the band on some level for years…so when things within the band changed that’s when we asked Niamh to come aboard.” He continued, “She has played music professionally for many years with various wonderful bands and is an accomplished solo artist. We are so delighted and lucky to have Niamh with us.”
In reflection of their last trip to Lewis and An Lanntair, there are two things Joe said the band agree on, “how beautiful it was to travel to the Hebrides and how welcoming the people of Lewis were.” Joe added, “the staff were so accommodating and helpful to us, so we’ve been itching to get back ever since to put on a good show and make that connection with the people again.”
As an Irish folk band, Joe says it has been their aim to carry on the tradition of storytelling and to bring their music to audiences across the world and create a following, “which is why we are delighted to return to Lewis. Visiting the Hebrides is a unique opportunity because the people have a strong sense of how important it is to preserve and pass on native languages, traditions and culture.”
Two of the band members, James and Niamh have an especially strong sense of that importance as they are both fluent Irish Gaelic speakers. Irish Gaelic has had a big imprint on their lives and is an important part of their identities as James teaches in a Gaelscoil and Niamh lives on the Gaeltacht in Kerry, where Irish is the primary language spoken.
Lead singer Joe and guitar player James Ryan have known each other since childhood through the friendship their fathers had . Having taken different paths early on in their careers, with diverse music influences and tastes they were eventually brought together by the one common interest that was ever present. Folk music.
Speaking about the formation of the band, Joe said “ Taking several different forms early on and with different members here and there, The Jeremiahs as a band formed in 2013 and we had found our direction. The name? After many hours, days, even weeks of head scratching and several suggestions, we ended up with The Jeremiahs – named after James’ great grandfather, Jeremiah. So here we are. Joe, James, Niamh and Julien. The Jeremiahs.”
The Jeremiahs combine traditional and contemporary sounds to create their own brand of Urban Folk music. The band respect the tradition of folk music and believe Irish and Scottish folk music are “intrinsically linked”, saying they share a common root/heritage. Gaelic language. “The singing and melody tradition have followed a parallel path. Due to Ireland’s close proximity to Scotland a lot of songs have similar melodies and form as well as subject matter. In particular,” Joe continues… “tales of the oppressed. Of all the regional styles Donegal is the closest to Scottish traditional music as a lot of people over the past few hundred years would seasonally migrate to Scotland to find work, picking potatoes and what not. The cross pollination of music can be heard in the Highlands and Strathspeys played still to this day.”
You can hear The Jeremiahs play live at An Lanntair Thursday 18 August, 8pm. The Jeremiahs upcoming show would not be possible without the support of Culture Ireland.
For more information on The Jeremiahs or to book tickets click here.