Author Archives: Johnny Keenan

From top: Body & Soul  2017 aerial view; Rí-Rá

Going to Body & Soul [from tomorrow, June 22-24 at Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath]?

Johnny Keenan (him off the telly!) will be live tweeting from the event.

Johnny writes:

One act I highly recommend is the midland maverick and king of Irish hip-hop ex Scary Eire front man Rí-Rá, who performs on Sunday.

This festival literally has something for every body and soul though.

So let yourself go to the special place in your mind and get to the heart of the island this weekend and find that Alchemy that’s deep within you and me.

Peace & Live (not a typo)

FIGHT!

Body & Soul

From top: from left: Gino Kenny, Vera Twomey, Hazel Robinson and Kenny Tynan; from left: Johnny Keenan, Vera Twomey  and Mike Cunningham in Athlone last Sunday. Above: Kenny addressing a rally in Athlone.

Last night.

Longford, County Longford.

A rally and march across Longford town to promote the legalisation of cannabis.

Kenny Tynan, who has brain tumour and recently had his cannabis oil seized, was joined by friends, family and fellow activists Vera Twomey, Gino Kenny TD, Hazel Robinson Mike Cunningham and Johnny Keenan (him off the telly!) to urge the easing of access to medicinal cannabis.

Kenny Tynan

Previously: Athlone He Stands

Cannabis oil activist Alex Beizart, who has died aged 54, spoke at last month’s 420 rally (above).

Johnny Keenan writes:

Today we say farewell to Alex Baizert. A true activist for the cause of cannabis oil for medicinal use and a supporter for the use of cannabis in general.

Alex was a considerate gentleman with a great sense of humour. He suffered with a brain tumor and campaigned for the legalisation of cannabis oil because it worked in easing the symptom of his condition: epileptic seizures.

Because he was such a supporter of countless campaigns and gave personal support to other campaigners he knew all the relevant people associated with the cannabis movement.

He wrote to all the TDs, senators and councillors in the country to make them aware of the benefits of cannabis oil for medicinal use.

He always spoke articulately eloquently diplomatically and passionately. Articulating to the point where The Oireachtas Health Committee had to listen to this voice of reason.

He was granted a licence to gain cannabis oil only last week.

Instead of taking his medicine and going home he promised to continue to campaign for other people who needed the same medicine.

Unfortunately Alex had a bad fall on Friday, April 27.

He passed away on last Sunday at Lourdes Hospital Drogheda. His funeral took place today at a crematorium in Dublin.

The compassionate and cannabis community of Ireland want to extend our deepest condolences to Alex’s family and close friends.

If you are in Drogheda this evening (after 5pm) Nolan’s Bar will play host to remember and pay great respects to a friend and hero. Donations can be made here

His kind heart, mind and spirit will never be forgotten by the people he met and helped along his journey.

Alex Baizert Memorial Page (Facebook)

Previously: In Awe Of Vera

Derek Clabby (above) in 2018, in #Kingsativa (top far right) and The Bionic Rats (middle pic foreground) and as Del Bionic with ‘Don’t Let Them Get Away with It.

Concert promoter Johnny Keenan (him off the telly) writes:

So many people can go through this life in complete ignorant bliss. Listening to poxy radio with one banal tune after the other. I kind of envy them in the sense they don’t seem to have any real concerns. But I certainly don’t want to live my life like that.

Seventeen years ago I booked the most politically astute band in the country at the time, #Kingsativa, for a venue in Kilkenny. Long before hashtags were all the rage I knew I was dealing with something real and raw and on the edge.

The bass player and main lyricist of these band of reggae soul brothers was Derek Clabby known now  as Del Bionic.

Coming out of Kilbarrack this man has being writing killer tunes since he was a boy. Inspired and influenced by the reggae vibes and ska beats of Jamaica, he brings his own Dubland style.

And, it’s fair to say he is the longest gigging and most consistent musician of this gratifying genre on the island right now.

Always moving forward he is now singer and songwriter of Ireland’s biggest secret… The Bionic Rats

It’s a tribute to his spirit and consistency that since he first started performing in 1992 he never faltered or sold out.

However when I hear the anger and frustration in this newly penned piece I am also angry and frustrated. For different reasons though.

As a lover and promoter of music I can’t understand how someone that has consistently soundtracked Dublin and Ireland for 26 years is not known to radio stations in the capital. Apart from Near Fm and a few more mavericks.

When a citizen of our country gives his heart mind and soul by holding a mirror up to society and highlighting the good the bad the beautiful and the ugly, surely he deserves a platform.

I’m sick of seeing frustrated artists blacklisted by corporate radio stations..

And for RTÉ not to have a real music show covering alternative music from Ireland is actually unbelievable.

This battered and broken republic should be dancing to a beat of many alternative tunes.

In the meantime I for one am thankful that serious sound heads like Derek Clabby are there to remind me what it’s all about.

Derek Clabby (Del Bionic)

And help get Stephen to Russia

Johnny Keenan (him off the telly) writes:

The StopmyPPMS campaign to send Irish arts professional Stephen Garland to Moscow for life changing treatment has received a massive boost.

The FAI have made 2 pairs of Premium tickets available for the most important football game in Ireland in 2017, the return leg of ‘a do or die’ Play Off, Ireland V Denmark, on Tuesday Nov ember14 in the Aviva Stadium, for the 2018  World Cup.

The tickets will go to raffle, available online here to everyone who wants to ‘have a punt, for a tenner’, or have 6 tickets in the draw for €50, to be in with 2 chances of winning a pair

The draw will take place on Facebook Live, on Sunday, November 12

Stephen is due to enter the hospital in Moscow on November 20, for 30+ days. I would greatly appreciate any help in getting the word out to as many of the boys and girls in Green as possible.

Enter draw here

Stephen Garland (Stop My PPMS)

Johnny Keenan writes:

It is with a heavy heart that unfortunately we have to postpone our End Of Summer Vibe/One Love Concert scheduled for this Sunday, September 10 in the open air Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in  Kilkenny.

The reason that I decided to pull the plug was based on two factors. The first and most importantly was the weather. It’s 95% forecast of rain and also to be cold. This is not at all conducive to the vibe we want to generate.

Although there is so much good will for the event ticket sales have not being forthcoming. So the reasoning behind this is that people have decided to see what the weather is like on Sunday.

As we have so much good people giving their time and talents for little or no monetary gain we have taken the tough decision to postpone until early summer 2018.

The residents in Direct Provision Centres in The South East at Waterford and Tramore are disappointed that the concert will not go ahead but are happy that something will be organised in 2018.

This will give us more time to highlight the plight of people in Direct Provision and hopefully this time next year Direct Provision will be dealt with for the betterment of everyone.

In the meantime please support the initative of Kilkenny Solidarity Dinners who have being doing fantastic work in organising some great afternoons with our brothers and sisters in Direct Provision.

Promoter Stephen Garland who was also to benefit from this event has got some good news. He will now go to Russia for his much needed surgery this November. So for anyone who wants to sponsor Stephen please do so by visiting his website

We have got so much support locally and nationally with this event. In order to do it justice we will look forward and move forward together for making OneLoveKK 2018 a reality.

Thanks to the following for their support and goodwill.

All the Crew at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, Martin Leahy for designing poster. Perfecto Print Kilkenny, Rollercoaster Records Kilkenny, The Book Centre Kilkenny, KCLR fm, The Kilkenny People, The Kilkenny Reporter, The Kilkenny Journal, Lucky Khambule MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland), Broadsheet.ie, Residents in Direct Provision Centres in Waterford and Tramore. Oliva Lyng, Gareth Hanlon, Sandrine Dunlop, Geraldine Fahy, Emmanuel & Nic at Kilkennny Solidarity Dinners and for everyone else who i’ve missed who has got behind this event and will get behind it again in 2018.

End Of Summer Vibe/One Love Concert

in Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, Kilkenny on Sunday, September 10. (Gates 1pm ).

BYOP (bring your own picnic) and share with people from Direct Provison Centres in Carrick-On-Suir, Waterford and Tramore.

Proceeds will help to buy school books and uniforms for children in Direct Provision

Organiser Jahnny Keenan (him off the telly) writes:

There are currently 4500 residents living in 35 Direct Provision Centres in Republic of Ireland. 1500 are children.

 We have teamed up with MASI (Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland) and the good folk at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre to organise a positive vibration, in order to bring people of all backgrounds of our nation together in one love and one harmony on one Sunday afternoon in September.

The aim is to have a celebration of life through great music and to have the craíc with each other regardless of race, colour or creed.

Fight!

Tickets on sale from Ticketmaster here

Also available at Rollercoaster Records Kilkenny and Kilkenny Book Centre.

End Of Summer Vibe

 

There was a time.

When he owned the concrete.

Johnny Kennan (him off the telly) kicks it old school:

A friend of mine told me about his 12 year old son graduating from national school recently.

I cast my mind back to the day I graduated from national school. It was 30 years ago. I’m old!

I don’t remember having a graduation. I remember the principal telling us we were getting nothing because we were the worse class ever. Looking back we were just young lads finding our way through life and any trouble we got up to was just hijinks.

It got me thinking though. When I tried to picture myself sitting in that school desk the first thing to hit me was the memory smell of pencil sharpener. Usually I have to smell something to give me a sense of memory.

Then I remember the football match we used to have on special Fridays in the school yard. If we were good. All week we’d wait for that game. Because it was just our class that would have the playground to ourselves.

All week we’d wait just to be told we were too bold and we couldn’t play. But then on rare occasions we would get our game. For one hour on a Friday afternoon we were playing at Wembley on FA Cup final day.

We played with a tennis ball and that made it more magical. It meant the purists could play. I had eyesight in just one eye. Still have. It was very important to have foot- eye coordination. With my left foot and left eye I owned that concrete.

Then I got thinking some more.

Could I name my classmates from 6th class in 1987? 30 years ago? I have 32 in my mind. I don’t know why. One for every county or every chess piece.

After a lot of serious thinking I came up with 25. I know I can ring my friend Jim and he can name the rest. I think it’s better pay him a visit and catch up.

What I wouldn’t give to be back on that yard with those boys for one more day. Just to remember and feel what it was like to be 12 again.

Now I’m casting my mind back to the last line of ‘Stand By Me‘.

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?”

FIGHT!

Pic: Shutterstock

Last night,Damien Dempsey played the Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2.

So how did it go?

Damo fan Johnny Keenan (him off the telly) went along.

Johnny (top, outside the Iveagh Gardens) writes:

Damien Dempsey brought his Soulsun and it did shine in the centre of the capital last night.

He carped the fupp out of the diem from the get-go with ‘Seize The Day’, and for at least another 20 songs ( I lost count because I was in the moments man) he had the capacity crowd singing all their cares away.

Everything the Donaghmede native poured from his being came from his heart mind and soul. He left it all on the stage. It was soaked up by an upbeat well-oiled collective that came from all over the island and beyond in anticipation of some spiritual fulfillment and a good ole sing song.

From a culchie viewpoint on looking at the 2 sides of Dublin it was abundantly clear that a diverse divided city never seemed so united.

The power of music, man.

Patience, sorrow, loss, heartbreak, understanding ,respect, rebellion and love evoked the emotion from the front of stage to the eyes of the onlooking public. This punter was almost carried away on a flood of thy tears.

All the classics got an airing as well as a careful selection off the latest album, ‘Soulsun’.

In a time where soundbites platitudes and fake news are the views of the mainstream it is so refreshing to see hear and feel one of Ireland’s own still shining bright with the art of story through song, while galvanising the downtrodden via the process we know best. Folk songs for the Folks!

Nothing too fancy but still keeping it reel with 6 tremendous musicians behind him. The beautiful backing vocals & harmonies of Pauline Scanlon were gorgeous.

Stand out tune was ‘Soft Rain’. A shout out to our brothers and sisters abroad akin (imo) to Oró Sé Do Bheath Abhaile. “When Ya Coming Home, My Friend ?”.

Keeping our proud tradition alive while letting ourselves and the world know that when it comes to song and true troubadours the Irish aspire and inspire greatly.

We have to look past the bullshite to see the soul in ourselves and each other. That’s what a Damien Dempsey gig essentially is all about. Last night was special though. Dublin expect and respect The Tribal Warrior.

All in all it would be fair to say, twas All Good!

Go on and love yourself today. Damo says it’s OK!

Fight!

Damien Dempsey