Denis Joseph Carolan


When Thin Lizzy, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and U2 all perform at the bottom of your garden what musically inclined teenager could fail to dream of one day...  Well maybe they were not actually in the garden but just down the street in the  heritage village of Slane.  Any hopes which Denis Carolan's parents may have cherished that their son would find a “sensible” calling in life  were to be no match for the attractions of David Bowie's giant spider or the banshee howls of Neil Young's “old blacky” guitar. A part-time job and eighteen hard earned quid bought the young teenager an old “Eko” guitar and fingers soon began to cramp and blister in frustrating attempts to emulate his heroes.

            Ever since those early days of peering through those imposing gates, mastering his guitar and writing songs has been Denis Carolan’s prevailing passion. Both his musical style and songwriting reflect the broad span of his musical journey reflecting influences as diverse as cuban “Son” or celtic Sean- Nos. While studying English in college, he first formed his own experimental blues group while also moonlighting as an accompanist for trad musicians. This willingness to embrace a variety of musical genres is a constant theme in his music and should come as no surprise when one learns that he spent his twenties travelling and then living in Spain. While resident in Madrid he performed with spanish rock and blues groups as well as being a regular guitarist with a Pogues like “trash- trad” outfit called “The Feenies” who mixed flamenco and Irish trad with predictably frenetic results! 

            The highlight of this period he says was playing the Celt-Iberia festival in Barcelona in front of a monster festival crowd as well as sitting in with local players in Madrid's premier blues club “La Coquette”. Regularly collaborating with Jesus Goyenechea of the tropi-punk outfit “Joe Migro” gave him a fresh perspective on music and allowed him to play with the musical “wrapping paper” combining many musical styles and textures all in a sense of experimentation.

            In search of and new audiences and opportunities he returned to a pre “Celtic-Tiger” Ireland in the late nineties to take up a teaching job and set about sharpening his song-writing skills performing regularly at sessions and open-mic nights in venues such as the International bar in Dublin. Other projects involved collaborating on stage music for amateur theatre productions and a continuing local appearances as part of the folk outfit "The Scarecrow Union". He has just completed the recording of his debut album “all Summer Long “ which is now available on itunes and in record shops.