banríon Ushers in the New Year with Melancholic “end times”

By Clare Martin

Anyone else feel lately like they’ve arrived at the end of things? Like the fire has already gone out, and we’re just gathering around the embers hoping for some lingering warmth?

At the very least, banríon (Róisín Ní Haicéid) understands this emotion, capturing a sense of sad wistfulness on her new track “end times.” She swaps out the listless indie rock of her full band EP airport dads for just as languorous, but slightly gentler, folk on her latest release. The Dublin artist self-recorded the song, which was produced by passerby (aka Diarmuid O’Connor).

“This city is gonna die soon / We’ll all move away,” Ní Haicéid sings, reminding us of every friend who’s emigrated, and how we can hardly blame them considering the state of things.

The song radiates a certain warmth, though, that brings to mind the lovely, hopeful moments keeping us here. “Light to be found in the end times / Didn’t think it’d be so beautiful / Or we’d still have stuff to say,” she murmurs at the end, staving off impending darkness.

Listen to “end times” below.

Pillow Queens announce Banríon and Smoothboi Ezra as support acts for upcoming Irish tour

Everyone’s favourite queer sweethearts Pillow Queens will be joined by even more queer greatness in the form of Smoothboi Ezra and Banríon on their upcoming Irish tour. Starting in Belfast on December 2nd, singer-songwriter Ezra will join the Queens in Dundalk, Derry and Galway, before closing the tour at the second of two sold out gigs in the Button Factory. Indie-alternative quartet Banríon will support the other half of the tour, playing in Cork, Listowel, Kilkenny, Limerick and night one at the Button Factory on December 17th. While the majority of the tour is sold out, you can still grab tickets for the Cork gig at Cyprus Avenue here.

Pride Profile: banríon

To celebrate Pride, we’ll be highlighting a different Irish artist from the LGBTQIA+ community each day in June as part of our Pride Profiles series.

By Ellen Pentony

Listen If You Like:

Ailbhe Reddy, NewDad, Pillow Queens 

Who They Are

Banríon are an indie-rock band led by frontperson Róisín Ní Haicéid. Their debut EP airport dads is a sad, summery collection of songs – the kind of music you listen to as you’re walking down the street in the hazy sun, thinking back on memories, unsure if you feel good or bad.

Opener “yesterday’s paper” is bright and nostalgic as Ní Haicéid avoids the present moment in favour of reliving the past.  On “bunkbeds,” the singer/songwriter channels her inner Robert Smith, voice straining with emotion as she sings, “We don’t know whether we’ll see each other again / It’s hard to leave your friends.” 

While airport dads is focused on intimate moments, banríon’s latest track “do you miss her” – released in aid of BeLong To Youth Services – explores the voyeuristic attitude of those in the media towards queer people, particularly those who identify as women.

Despite only a few releases thus far, banríon have demonstrated an ability and desire to discuss personal and social issues. Ní Haicéid’s tender, unguarded approach gives her songwriting an honest and unique perspective, one that places her alongside a number of strong queer voices in Irish music today. 

banríon and qwasi Critique the Exploitation of Queer Pain on “do you miss her”

qwasi (left) photo by Donal Talbot, banríon (right) photo by Anna Heisterkamp

By Clare Martin

As queer people, our rights have literally been put on the ballot. Even though Marriage Equality passed in 2015, having your personhood up for debate is a fundamentally dehumanising process. Your private life becomes a spectacle for others to gawk at, like some curio they’ve found in a charity shop.

This sense of exploitation, of a person’s existence becoming a form of entertainment for others, inspired the new single “do you miss her” by indie rock artist banríon (Róisín Ní Haicéid) and experimental electronic producer qwasi, aka Eric Fitzgerald.

“It’s about this voyeuristic radio interview I heard last year with Nell McCafferty where [the] interviewer was prodding into her heartbreak and sexuality, I hope I did it justice,” banríon tweeted about the song, out via Bad Soup Records. McCafferty is a legendary journalist and queer activist, who was in a 15 year relationship with fellow journalist Nuala O’Faolain.

Single artwork by Peggie McKeon

qwasi’s expert production purls through the song, marrying lo-fi fuzz with rich, fluid textures. Segments of the aforementioned interview flit in and out, McCafferty’s melodious Derry accent grounding the track. “Would you be asking me if I was a man to wear my heart on my sleeve?” Ní Haicéid asks pointedly, critiquing the media’s treatment of McCafferty. It’s an important message to remember during Pride Month, when plenty of queer people’s stories are exploited by companies looking for a bit of good press.

Later on, Ní Haicéid’s lovelorn, listless voice repeats the track’s title over and over again: “Do you miss her?” A clip of McCafferty answers assuredly, “Oh, yes.”

Listen to “do you miss her” below. The song is in aid of BeLonG To Youth Services, which helps young queer Irish people.