Dipping into the Past: Sharon Shannon - the Salut! Live interview
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Potted Sharon Shannon


The last part of Salut! Live's interview with Sharon Shannon- conducted eight years ago -was necessarily brief. See the main interview and the reason for republishing it here.

We were almost at the of our conversation. Others were waiting to speak to her. But it didn't matter since all that remained for our purposes was to pepper her with one-line questions and prompts and collect her one-line replies. Sharon has always been, in public, a woman of relatively few words (that immense, beaming smile more than making up for the vocal reticence), and that suits the tradition Salut! Live quickfire questionnaire. Here is how it went, plus a review of the Saints and Scoundrelsalbum ...

Your most powerful musical memory?

Hearing Tommy Peoples playing the fiddle for the first time

Who are you listening to just now?

The Cartoon Thieves (They appear on two tracks on the album)

If you have time for books and films, any current or all time favourites?

I want to see The Hangover

Best gig?

Too many to single out one

And worst?

Plenty of them too!

Champagne or Guinness?

I don't like either

Describe Ireland after the era of the Celtic Tiger

To be honest, I don't see much of a difference among the people I hang out with

Name your favourite place in the world


What is the best gadget you possess?

My mobile phone

Roy Keane or Niall Quinn?

I don't really follow football. That must make me seem very boring
(Not at all - the question says more about the questioner! - ed)

And finally, what does Sharon Shannon want to be doing 10 years from now?

Relaxing at home

* Sharon photographer - again - by Pete Shaughnessy in Dolans, Dublin (use courtesy of Sharon's representatives)

And here is the album review, again from 2009:


Sharon Shannon (plus lots of friends) ... Saints and Scoundrels (Independent Records)

It is now an established feature of Irish music that any new Sharon Shannon album will feature not only the wonderful Co Clare accordion player and fiddler, but whichever other artists she has roped in for the session.

Session is the operative word. As Sharon suggested in her interview with Salut! Live, sessions are a vitally important aspect of her musical life. She still loves dropping into a pub to play with a random group of musicians. And that passion for sharing and for collaboration underlines each new recording project.

For Saints and Scoundrels, she persuaded - probably without any great difficulty - Shane MacGowan, the Cartoon Thieves, Imelda May, the Waterboys, Jerry Fish and Carol Keogh to add their voices or musicianship.

She is right to rave about Saints and Angels, a song written for (but not, in the end, included on) the Waterboys' celebrated Fisherman's Blues album, on which she played having joined the band from Arcady, and about the closing track, featuring Shane MacGowan.

I am not convinced, however, that either song, or indeed the contributions of the others, will come to be remembered - and demanded by audiences - in quite the same way as Steve Earle's Galway Girl, although the Cartoon Thieves' Mama Lou, with its insistent chorus recalling the Small Faces, may prove me wrong.

Even so, it is another outstanding album that reinforces the feeling that Sharon Shannon is one of music's most gifted innovators in any genre.

Let us just say that the tunes on which no voices are heard work best for me, and none more so than Cape Clear, written for the Neil Jordan film Ondine and the jaunty Lady Luck.

But that says a great deal more about my greed for Sharon's playing than about the quality of her studio guests, and takes me straight back to the Belfast bar where, not far short of 20 years ago, a stranger turned to me and said: "I could listen to that girl all night."


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