Sunday, 4 November 2018

Video: Shakalak - Hometown

Shakalak - Hometown

Shakalak - 'Hometown'

Info: Shakalak is the brainchild of poetician John Cummins and musician Fin Divilly. The journey from friends to forming a band happened instantly along with the addition of experienced musical minds Johnny Jude and David Meany. A love of lyric and melody is the heart foundation of their creativity.

I remember back in the late 90's or early 00's, Glen Hansard describing Dublin as; "the woman he loved, but couldn't wait to get away from". This was a good bit before all hell broke loose in 2008, for about two years afterwards I wanted to leave but couldn't, sick to the stomach with how politicians crawled on their bellies to ensure financial institutions were saved. Here we all were, paying for it, (the temporary - LOL) USC, then Property Tax, then Water Charges. Anecdotally, I recall my better half ringing Dublin City Council one day to enquire about excessive littering in our neighbourhood, and asking was the new Househould Charge not being used to maintain our neighbourhoods, the deflated chap on the other end of the phone just sighed and said; "None of that money is going towards our budgets, it's paying off 'the debt'".

Anyway, rant over! I suppose the point is how much I can relate to 'Hometown' by Shakalak and admire how the message has been articulated by Fin Divilly and John Cummins, it's one thing having a message, but it's entirely another being able to pass it through a highly enjoyable musical medium. Growing up in the 80's also helps with the visuals courtesy of director Jamie Goldrick from PushPull Collective. Many a trip were had from Montessori school in the north inner city with Mammy where she was teaching at the time on the orange Dublin buses, her keeping me occupied by telling me to name the colours of the doors of the Georgian houses as we passed by on the way home, we always sat downstairs on the bus, because upstairs was where you could smoke!

Musically Shakalak cast an appropriately sombre tone, forlorn bass-line and disenchanted drum-pad provide the backdrop to Divilly's ear-friendly vocal. Cummins does a wonderful job of balancing justified cynicism with a heart on your sleeve grá for his city. The mix of Irish with English; "I wake up in Baile Átha Cliath and it briste's the croí sometimes when I see ya" and inflection of Cliath Baile Átha work so well. This isn't just a big whinge about the bad though, with the pair offering hope through their faith in her citizen's in the final minute and a half, the tempo and distorted guitars acting as defiant steel in the face of a self-interested establishment. The final line is poignant too; "Then a few pints and then 20 Blue and I'm fucking broke and so are you, and what is the story, what are ya doin'? Ah sure y'know, that's how it goes for me". Yup, a few jars and a pack of fags to forget all the shit, but it won't go away, Ireland sober is Ireland free and all that, except instead of alcohol, we're drunk on apathy.

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