You could almost taste the ocean as audience and musicians readied themselves for a night of acoustic music at the Theatre Royal in tribute to our fishermen.

FINAL POSTER DRAFT2-incLASTlogoThis special evening was the brainchild of Francie Conway, a Tralee musician who took his first steps in the world of entertainment many years ago with a band called ‘Clutch’ who was the first band in Kerry to play original songs, and Francie wrote these.

The show’s aim was to gather funds for L.A.S.T (Lost At Sea Tragedies) which was set up by Noel McDonagh and provides a network in all the Coastal Communities around Ireland offering financial, practical and emotional support, including bereavement counseling to the families of fishermen lost at sea.

Roddie Cleere was M.C for the evening and he introduced Grainne Swanton, a native of Dunmore East, who opened the show with two of her own compositions. Grainne Studies Contemporary Music Performance at Ballyfermot College of Further Education. Grainne sang just two songs only but two songs that show that her talent is headed in the right direction.

Liam Merriman and Eoin O’Meachair then took to the stage accompanied by Paul Grant and played a number of songs from their album ‘Birds Never Cease’ which was recently listed in the Hotpress Top 10 Folk Albums of the year. Liam’s years of treading the boards were in evidence and he introduced the songs with entertaining stories of how they came to be. This trio of musicians played with extreme competence and immediately had the audience on side.

Luán Parle is a singer who is no stranger to the stage or singing. Her career began at the tender age of 12 when she sang on the Late Late Toy during Gay Byrnes tenure. Since then she has gone on to win a Meteor Award for best female, and Talter Award ‘Winner for Women of the Year Music’. Following a spell away from singing she has returned with a strong determination and focus on her career. This show was, unbelievably, her first appearance in Waterford and, judging from the reaction from the audience, she will be made welcome again. Singing just five songs, Luán captivated from the get go. Luán Parle, a name to listen out for in the coming year.

Following a short break the show continued with the ‘local lad’, Martyn Travis. From Dunmore East, Martyn is well as known for his singing and he is for his fishing. Along with an assembled band made up from friends, Martyn relished the time on stage as he took us through his repertoire of songs about the sea and the life of a fisherman. Francie Conway finished off a night of excellent music as he entertained the audience with a look back at some of his more well known songs and finishing with the haunting ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’, his own composition, which merged with ‘The Lonesome Boatman’.  Our fishermen work in often-perilous conditions and while tragedies will occur, the work that L.A.S.T strives to achieve will at least help ease the stress encountered by those left behind. All of the artists performing at the Theatre Royal on this night did so for not fee and all proceeds went to L.A.S.T.

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