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Joe Chester to release ‘Carolan/Cage’ special double A-side single in aid of Peter McVerry Trust

September 30, 2021

This Friday, October 1st, 2021, Joe Chester releases Carolan/Cage a special double A-side single in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust.

The single will be a bandcamp exclusive and comprises two instrumental tracks. Firstly Joe’s adaptation for guitar of “Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór”, the masterpiece by one of Ireland’s greatest composers, Turlough O’Carolan (1670 -1738.) This is followed by Dream, composed in 1948 by one of America’s greatest 20th century composers, John Cage.

“Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór,” was probably the very first composition of the great blind harper Turlough O’Carolan (1670 -1738), composed at the house of his first patron, Squire George Reynolds of Lough Scur at Letterfain, Co. Leitrim. Sí Bheag and Sí Mhór were two ranges of hills near Lough Scur, which were the scene of a great battle, in which Finn McCool and his Fianna were defeated.

Dream was composed by John Cage in 1948. “This work was originally used as music for the eponymous choreographed piece by Merce Cunningham, following the rhythmic structure of the dance and using a fixed gamut of tones. Throughout, resonances are sustained. The music is essentially a single melodic line, except for the last few bars.” –

This version is from a transcription for guitar by the fantastic Italian guitarist, Giulia Ballaré.

This single will be available at and all proceeds will go to the Peter McVerry Trust, a homelessness charity based in Dublin.

Joe Chester’s albums have been written about in the books 101 Irish Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, by Tony Clayton-Lea and Buried Treasure by Dan Hegarty and featured recently in The Sunday Times list of the best Irish albums of all time – “Chester’s debut solo album is a perfect pop record. The songs are at once effortless, memorable, hook-laden and a masterclass in subtle dynamics.”

His fifth album, The Easter Vigil , meanwhile, was named 2017 Irish Album of the Year by The Sun who described it as, “A tonic for these times, a triumph of substance over style .” Jupiter’s Wife, his sixth studio album was voted Best Irish Album of 2020 by the Irish Daily Mirror.

He has been nominated for the Choice Music Prize for Album of the Year, the Meteor Irish Music Awards for Best Male Artist and for Best Album in the RTE Folk Awards (with The Hedge Schools.)

His latest album, Jupiter’s Wife , a double album, partly recorded at the legendary Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee, was named “One of the greatest Irish albums of the decade,” by the Irish Daily Mirror. A producer of over 60 albums for other artists, including multi-platinum and Number 1 albums and singles both in Ireland and overseas, he was until recently one half of the critically acclaimed Hedge Schools, has been lead guitarist of The Waterboys , toured extensively with Gemma Hayes, accompanied Sinead O’Connor and performed for Irish president Michael D. Higgins. He is guitarist and producer of Dublin group A Lazarus Soul whose 2019 album, “The D They Put Between The R & L” was voted album of the year (and indeed the decade) by numerous end of year polls. Hotpress Magazine have described Joe Chester as “A legitimate giant of Irish music.”


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