Whole Tribe Sings reunion for Foyle Folk Fest

The Whole Tribe ....back in the day
The Whole Tribe ....back in the day

They were the Derry band whose infectious musical slant cajoled a legion of fans through the early 2000s - and now, for one night only, they’re coming back .

The Whole Tribe Sings top the bill at this year’s Foyle Folk Festival, running for two days on August 3 and 4 at Cafe Soul’s Courtyard.

For the first time since their split - which followed a stint in the US where the anthemic single ‘Happy’ was used to advertise Harp Lager - Declan McLaughlin, Paddy Nash, Dougal McPartland, Tomas MacSeain, Jonny Nutt and Philip ‘Wally’ Wallace will take to the stage to close the first night’s festival proceedings.

Watch The Whole Tribe perform Happy on the Gerry Kelly Show - click here

Drummer Wally - also the Folk Festival’s organiser in chief - says the reunited Tribe are an ideal headliner for the 6th Foyle Folk Festival.

“Getting the headline act is always the hardest part, and we’ve been very lucky in previous years to get people like Andy Irvine to play.

“This year, when someone mentioned The Whole Tribe, it seemed right to see if it could be done. We knew that if we were going to do it, it had to be the full line up, including Tomas - and it just happened to fall nicely for us. Tomas who now lives in America already had a trip back planned, so it all fitted in well.”

Wally says festival goers will not be disappointed by either the headliners or the wealth of talent on show over the festival’s two days.

“We’ve had our first few practices now and to be honest, we sound better than we did back then - it’ll definitely be something to look forward to for Whole Tribe fans.

“But we’ve got a real eclectic mish mash on the bill - it’s all Irish acts this year and you’ve got The Lost Brothers, The Bonnevilles, Malojian, all real up and coming acts, mixed in with Our Krypton Son, The Henry Girls, The Ard Rí Band.

“There really is no other event like this in the town in terms of the type and style of music on offer. It’s not necessarily folk in the purest sense but what we put on is that singer songwriter, acoustic vibe,” he says.

From embryonic beginnings s as part of the wider Feile back in 2007, the Foyle Folk Festival is now firmly established on the city’s summer calendar.

“It has grown since that first year,” Wally says, “but we have always tried to keep an intimacy around it. It’s a great venue, right in the heart of the city, but it is so contained that it lends itself to the atmosphere we are trying to create.

“People say they love the relaxed atmosphere and what we always see is that people of all ages come, they bring their kids, and it’s got a real family friendly feel,” he says.

This year, Derry’s Culture Company has provided funding, while the Festival has also been able to tie in with the Music Promise - a 2013 initiative that aims to get local kids involved with music.

Over the last ten weeks, groups of 11-18 year olds have been benefitting from a number of workshops that has seen some of Derry’s finest share their expertise in song writing, guitar, traditional banjo and mandolin and harmonica.

“Everyone involved seems to have gotten a lot out of it and it’s something we have all really enjoyed, “Wally says.

Now those who benefitted from their expertise will line up on stage at the Folk Festival with those who took part ready to open the Festival on the Saturday - two of the participants, Gemma Bradley and Niamh McCay will also take to the stage to perform their own sets.

Get your tickets - £15 per day or £25 for two day pass - at Cafe Soul.

Or Buy them online at wegottickets.com