Sea Legs – Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail

Ciaran Lavery and Ryan Vail ‘Sea Legs Album Launch’ Sat 18th April Aboard the SS Nomadic Belfast.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail and Ciaran Lavery, Photo by Nurse Ratched

The venue for this launch was a location to be proud of aboard the SS Nomadic Belfast. This boat was commissioned by White Star Line to ship passengers onto the ill fated Titanic. It is the last remaining White Star Line ship in the world and has been restored to its former glory and is back home in Belfast’s historic Hamilton Dock under the shadow of the Titanic Museum. The boat is beautiful and the detail in all the decorative wood is divine. We took the opportunity and toured as much of the ship as we could even acting out the infamous ‘Im flying’ scene from the ‘movie’ even though it was the wrong boat. Below deck the chairs were laid out and subtle lighting displayed one single mic on the right and a whole array of keyboards and electrical equipment on the left.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran Lavery, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran Lavery is a singer songwriter from the small village of Aghagallon. He began singing at fifteen and soon became the frontman for the band ‘Captain Kennedy’, playing with them for over seven years. Ciaran later went out on his own and has since created a well earned loyal following.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ryan Vail is from Derry and is a talented ‘multi-tasker‘ who’s a techno geek, musician, DJ and electro artist. He puts together a drum machine with whispered vocals to soothing piano. Stemming from his love of drum and bass, hip hop, vinyl and synthesisers he puts them together and what he comes up with is mesmerising, fresh and truly beautiful sounds. Ryan has also turned his hand to producing, shared his talents with other artists and given their songs an unusual twist.

After meeting at a festival and chatting online together Ciaran and Ryan decided to write a song or two that I believe was influenced by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. This quickly spiralled into what was to become the album ‘Sea Legs’. You normally wouldn’t put these two together but you only need to listen to this album once to realise it just makes sense.

The warm up act for the evening was the amazing Arborist otherwise known as Mark McCambridge. Up on deck I mistook him for Ciaran Lavery before the show but thankfully he was quite pleased.

Photo by Nurse Ratched

Arborist, Photo by Nurse Ratched

Ciaran and Ryan began the show with ‘Ebb’. This is both haunting and intriguing as you listen to ropes and poles clang together with the distant engine and fisherman’s talk of their time at sea. Ciaran’s guitar is then introduced in its magical simplicity accompanied by Ryan’s keyboard. Leading straight into ‘The Colour Blue’, which is a stunning song/tune that shows the mix of the two artists in their opposing genres. Or perhaps not so anymore as this album may prove.

‘The Sea at Night’. This is where Ciaran and Ryan let themselves go and embrace their musical talents. Out of their comfort zones the pair suck everyone into their worlds where they sometimes collide. I feel that this tune alone deserves full attention, set to repeat and a set of very good quality headphones.

‘The Shipping Forecast’ is of a sailor telling his story of loss and loneliness. “Its black and wet in my head. I smoke on the high deck at the place where my family set sail yesterday” This is a piece of genius that I wish there were more of but I guess that’s the intention. It pulls on your heart from everywhere. I believe the voice of the lonesome sailor may be that of James Patterson the poet.

‘Nick Caves Band’ gives you a piece of Ciaran all to yourself for a while. Then beautifully accompanied by Ryan’s piano and electric strings. Ciaran may be Northern Irelands answer to Ryan Adams. With the beat and the guitar followed by a harmonious and rhythmic repetitiveness, this number will stay with you long after its finished.Last and most certainly not least, ‘Ceol Na Mara’ features the voice of Technopeasant(Conor O’kane). A haunting poem of winds and scented salted sea air works its emotions into your soul.

This album is brilliant. You may not have thought that folk and techno were your thing well think again. This unusual combination works incredibly well together.  If you live by the sea as I do you will hear the familiar sounds of the water and its vessels. If you don’t you will certainly feel a closeness to the water and the haunting of the boats and perhaps find a new yearning for such things.

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Follow the links to stream the entire “Sea Legs” album on Spotify and SoundCloud, you can purchase from iTunes and the vinyl/CD is available from Quiet Arch.


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