Could 2017 be the year for Irish music?

The end of 2016 and the beginning of a new year means a fresh take on life. A new way of doing things. A chance to start again, to change. Last year may be the one that people have wanted to see the back of more than any in recent memory. There seems to be a lot of pressure on 2017 to fix what 2016 broke. One thing we forget is that 2016 wasn't all bad though!

The Irish music scene may have had its strongest outing in the past decade, in particular in Dublin. Look to any of Ireland's top music venues and there are crowds of people piling in to see their favourite Irish artists. Whether it be St. Stephen's Green on New Year's Eve to see Walking On Cars and Little Hours, or to Whelan's to see Mongoose or Talos, or to the Workman's Club to see Maria Kelly or Ailbhe Reddy. Acts of various genres and different followings are garnering attention for their craft. Festivals like Hard Working Class Heroes and Other Voices music trail proved the wealth of talent that is in Ireland right now that just waiting to be discovered. 2017 could be that year for many of those artists!

Artists are more focused these days. They have goals and plans that they strive to achieve with their music. They are more media savvy. We are seeing more driven and professional artists on the scene. Bands that are making sure that they are not missed by the big boys of Irish music. The variety of genres to choose from is staggering too. From r'n'b and soul, to funk, rock and pop and everything in between, there is a band playing that genre to a high level in Ireland. Artists like Barq, TooFools, Wyvern Lingo, Bitch Falcon, Tim Chadwick, Saint Sister, Farah Elle and Elm, to name a few. These should all be household names when it comes to Irish music, at least they deserve to be! But what is it that is keeping these artists from that recognition?

Radio and TV play is the driving factor of what we as a nation listen to. This has always been the downfall of Irish music really growing and delivering on its true potential. There has been a positive curve, be it only slightly, in media outlets playing Irish music in the last year. This trend should hopefully continue and allow space for more than just the 5 or 6 biggest Irish pop acts to have a more regular spot on our radio stations.

It is my hope that with the more driven and professional approach of Ireland's brightest young talent that there will be no other option than for these artists to get the radio play they deserve. 2017 will hopefully be the year that this hope of mine becomes a reality. Ireland is literally bursting at the seems with fantastic music right now, we can't let it just be pushed under the rug. So let's support our homegrown talent. Let's buy their music. Request them on our favourite radio stations. Share them on our social media and show our faces at their gigs. Let's make 2017 the year of Irish music.

Ciaran O'Brien

Founder of The OB, Ciaran is also a cameraman and video editor that has an obsession with all things music. He created The OB Sessions in 2014 and set up The OB Blog in 2015.

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