Roscommon-based band Gatehouse are unashamedly trad and proud to present the music that has been the very heartbeat of their home turf – Connacht province of western Ireland – for generations.
Where much of the country’s modern musical output tends these days to focus on edgier or left-of-centre styles, with more emphasis placed on showy speed and dexterity, here, we find four kindred spirits all with one common purpose – keeping the old-school approach ticking over sweetly.
Proud to be fully paid up members of the how-it-used-to-be club, they tap into a rich time-tested seam. It’s an approach that provides much-needed “comfort” that many of the better-known figures of the genre find appealing, such as that great guardian of the Donegal tradition, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, of Altan, who describes their playing as “music that lifts the spirit.”
Well-established in Ireland, where they have performed at some of the most prestigious events, incredibly, the band is only now focussing attention on this side of the Irish Sea. Those who love the best of Irish music are glad that’s to be put right.
Their last studio CD was released in 2019, and brand new album is in production and set to get a 2023 release.
The band has rightly won much praise from the media on their home patch. Irish Music Magazine said: “Individually, these musicians are superb but when they combine as Gatehouse, they are outstanding!”
The Irish Times agreed too, complimenting their “maturity and depth.”
The set is always a lively affair, well constructed with an equal share of songs and instrumentals. You’ll often hear folks commenting that it has strong resonances of those brilliant and abiding early performances of The Bothy Band in full flight.
When the firm grip of the pandemic was finally relaxed to allow live music to flourish once more, the band was invited to Vienna to headline a prestigious St Patrick’s Day celebration.
Gatehouse are John McEvoy (fiddle/mandolin/mandola) Rachel Garvey (vocals), Jacinta McEvoy (guitar/concertina) and John Wynne (flutes/whistles).