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28 Jan 2022

Day in the Life of Davey Cashin, The Kilkennys

We are on a 'stop-go system at the minute. We start back and do some shows and then it's all postponed again

Day in the Life of Davey Cashin, The Kilkennys

Davey Cashin of The Kilkennys (Photo by Vicky Comerford)

Growing up in Ballyfoyle, County Kilkenny, Davey Cashin was surrounded by Irish music from an early age. His father Adrian is well known in Kilkenny as an entertainer and great banjo player, so it was no wonder Davey mastered his chosen instruments at such a young age and become the passionate musician that we know today.

Like his band mates Tommy, Josh and Michael, Davey is a huge Kilkenny hurling fan and his own sporting achievements included winning many provincial and national handball titles. We have been lucky enough that the Kilkenny hurlers have been successful over the past 10 years, and The Kilkennys are always the chosen band to welcome our team’s home, be it a win or lose homecoming.

Davey attended school in St. Kieran’s College and spent a short time in college afterwards. However, his main passion was music and he soon realised it was his ‘life-calling’. This is evident through his performances with The Kilkennys, and their success in playing sell out concerts across Europe and America. When he is not touring, Davey lives in this beloved Kilkenny City with his wife Sarah.

This week’s restrictions have caused another blow for the entertainment industry and means that Davey will be staying put for a while, instead of looking forward to the traditional busy season ahead. I caught up with him after the cancellation of yet another concert date.

Here is a glimpse into Davey’s life…

Davey you bring a huge list of traditional Irish instruments to the sound of The Kilkennys, including banjo, mandolin, guitar and Irish whistles. Who are your influences?

My musical influences would have to include the Clancy Brothers, the Wolfe Tones, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon and The Dubliners.

 I first started singing with my father, who is one of the biggest influences in my career and life.

The Kilkenny’s gave us a great ‘Kilkenny Day’ in October.

I hope we did! It was a great initiative with a lot of Kilkenny home bands, artists and acts coming together. The Government had just released some funds for artists out of work during the pandemic, so it was a nice way of giving back.

We put on a free day time concert in Kilkenny Castle for the locals to enjoy. That evening we performed for a second crowd, where we finished off with Jerry Fish. It was super to be back in front of a live audience who were up on the feet all night.

Kilkenny Day was a fantastic day; we should have it every year.

The Kilkennys with Siobhan Donohoe at the launch of Kilkenny Day (Photo by Vicky Comerford)

The Kilkennys are a band that have worked tirelessly to spread the word about Kilkenny, while gigging all around the world.

We are called The Kilkennys and we like to promote everything about Kilkenny. We are from here and we think its only fair that everywhere we tour, should know what a fantastic place it is.

We even have ABBA recording songs with the mention of Kilkenny! It’s a great place, we just want more people to come here and experience where we live. So, I am happy to carry the name The Kilkennys all around the world.

You didn’t lie idle during the pandemic when all that touring stopped.

It has been hard for musicians; we just did what we could during lockdown. We started off recording home videos for Facebook. That was all a novelty at the beginning, with people buying tripods and all sorts of camera equipment.

We even did two concerts in the Watergate Theatre, with no audience, which was very strange.

They were a great success but then the novelty wore off and people started to get itchy and yearning to go back to work. Plus, we wanted to play in front of a crowd again. Even though the word ‘crowd’ is a bad word these days!

At the end of the day, you want to be on stage in front of an audience and that’s the vibe you want to create. Right now, it feels like we take a couple of steps forward and one step back.

Have you managed to play for any crowds since the world came to a halt in March 2019?

We did a tour of Denmark back in August. It was a great success; they were fully opened, and restrictions were lifted. We did a full theatre tour; they are a great nation to play for and work in. The Danes love Irish music for some strange reason, it might have something to do with our Viking heritage!

We were supposed to be in Holland for a full tour in November, but they are on 7pm curfew right now. Two weekends ago we managed to get in a mini tour of England, where we played London, Liverpool and Manchester.

The plan was to work in Ireland up to the end of the year and see what 2022 has to offer for the world.

The Mayor’s annual Christmas Concert (photo by Vicky Comerford)

The Mayor’s annual Christmas Concert should be taking place this week in the Watergate Theatre. The Kilkennys were scheduled to play, but it has been postponed. How have the new restrictions affected your work for the next month?

We are on a ‘stop-go system’ at the minute. We start back and do some shows and then its all postponed again. All we can do is our part until January. Even acts like Christy Moore had to reschedule full shows in Vicar Street. Everyone is being affected.

Mayor Andrew McGuinness and I grew up together, it’s kind of hard to believe he is Mayor now! He always puts on a great concert, and this one is to raise money for local families in need with the help of the Lyons Club. We are looking

You've also started working in radio and now have your own show.

Like everyone, we thought it would only last a couple of weeks. As the months rolled on, people started to reshuffle and rethink things. I decided if this thing is going to drag out longer, I want to come out the back end with a new skill or be productive in some way.

I decided I wanted to learn Irish, I always felt it would be a good skill to have, to learn our native tongue. I was just about to get stuck into that when my good friend Eddie Hughes said, ‘why don't you try something on the radio?’.

In Irish?

No, give us the chance Siobhan!

However, Eddie did bring me in every Friday, to sit in on his show ‘Friday Night Live’ in KCLR. So, I sat in to observe, to see the workings of a desk etc. You could say I was his apprentice; he has been at it for years and is a natural on the mic.

I sat in with him on his show for about six to eight weeks, and after the news one evening, he turned to me and told me I was going to guest present the second half of the show. I said, ‘no way, I am not ready’, to which he responded, ‘get in there, you are either going to sink or swim!”.

So, I did. I suppose I swam because I stayed on for a full hour after the news! From there, I got my own show, called the ‘Guest List’. It’s on air every Thursday at 6pm. It’s something like your ‘Day in the Life’ column.

Congratulations, and I believe you had had some amazing guests too.

Yes, I have a different guest in every week, and we talk about their life and their careers in the entertainment industry. It could be artists, singers, poets or presenters. We've had Mary Kennedy on, Phil Coulter, Paddy Cole - all super guests. The great Christy Moore is on this week with me. We also have local acts and artists; I love having them on too.

I’m really enjoying it, I'm getting used to presenting on the mic, as well as all the extra bits of working the desk. So, you might return the favour Siobhan and join me on the ‘Guest List’ soon.

Oh heck, a Day on the Life on me, that I was not expecting!

Everybody has a story. Oprah Winfrey proved it years ago, she used to open the phone directory during her show and pick a random person. Her producers would ask them onto her show, and their initial responses were always the same - ‘I don’t have a story to tell’.

However, the most phenomenal stories where unearthed when the producers went digging and they made the best interviewees.

(No pressure so Davey!)

If you would like to hear Davey Cashin’s ‘Guest List’, tune into KCLR 96FM every Thursday at 6pm or listen back on KCLR app. 

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