I met Hamlet Sweeney back in January at The Purty Sessions in Dun Laoghaire; he was on the bill and I was playing with Jill. I really liked his humorous songs and thought he did a great job of performing them. About a month later he got in touch and asked if I’d play with him at a launch gig he was putting on in the Bewleys café theatre.
He sent me some demos, we chatted a couple of times and visited the venue before meeting up on the afternoon of the gig to rehearse. Plans to get a bass player had fallen through but there was a piano there so I was able to add body to the sound on that and on cajon. Everywhere I play the cajon people comment on it; it has such a remarkable sound, especially if you’ve never seen one played before and some dude on the stage starts thumping his chair all of a sudden!
- ‘Canary in a coalmine’ – Hamlet opened on his own with this lovely song, capturing the audience’s attention in the intimate room.
- ‘Is she real?’ – I added a nice little ostinato on the guitar.
- ‘Boogie man‘ – when Hamlet heard I played the clarinet, he suggested I try it on this tune. It was great fun to play (it has a kind of ‘Hit the road, Jack’ feel to it and calls for some audience participation on the chorus, which went down well).
- ‘Sunshine’ – a groovy, bluesy tune which I played on piano.
- ‘The Una Molloy hangover song’ – piano again.
- ‘Breathe in the light’ – to the cajon with some backing vocals in the refrains for this epic, gospel-y song.
- ‘Voices in my head’ – this was particularly good, I thought. I added a simple piano part to the second half of Hamlet’s haunting song. Very effective.
- ‘Street lights’ – Hamlet’s done a video for this one with a guy who I met at the gig, Mark Doherty, which should be interesting to see.
- ‘Perfect day’ – a song that Hamlet’s had some success with on radio in other parts of the world. A summer song 🙂
- ‘Buy this song’ – funny lyrics! I put in the drum intro from ‘Gold digger’. This’ll be great to play with a band.
- ‘Mr Slim’ – Hamlet’s ‘beef’ song.
- ‘Why must love die?’ – Hamlet went out into the middle of the packed little room and sang this alone. Lovely moment and another wistful beauty.
One of Hamlet’s friends captured ‘Voices in my head’ on video: