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Giving people a little more Moxie
MOXIE. Photograph by Colin Gillen

Giving people a little more Moxie

TWO members of Moxie, who will play at Glór on August 20, were ironically once kicked out of the Fleadh Cheoil.

Ted Kelly and his brother Jos got the red card when they showed more innovation than was welcome. Despite this, he is still broadly positive about the whole extravaganza.

“We’ve (members of Moxie) been many times. We’ve qualified for fleadhs, some of us have won fleadhs. It’s gas craic. It’s a great thing, it really pushes kids to become better at music.

“The only thing is there should be a little more leeway for freedom in things like duets. You’re not allowed do certain ornamentations, you’re not allowed play harmonies, it doesn’t give kids the freedom to arrange music. Then they go and hear people like Seamie O’Dowd, Mairtín O’Connor and Cathal Hayden, those three lads playing together. For me and my brother Jos, those three were a huge influence and we wanted to learn to play like them. We tried to do that in the Fleadh and they disqualified us,” he recalls.

Traditional music is at the core of Moxie’s sound, but there are also progressive, world and jazz influences.

“Our sound is very original. We compose all our music ourselves, together. We’re quite innovative, we all love Irish traditional music. We played in many sessions and we began to arrange music ourselves and eventually to compose melodies. Together we just cross pollinate different genres but have a backbone of Irish music to hold it all together. We all play many instruments, so it makes it very interesting.”

Moxie consists of three Sligo men and two from Limerick. They began to combine at the Willie Clancy Festival. “We just ended up playing in sessions together and became friends. We were going year after year to that festival and many others, we were playing together so much that we decided to give it a go.”

The word Moxie was chosen to reflect the energy they feel their music can transmit to audiences.

“We chose that name for the band because it means the ability to face difficulty with courage and spirit. Especially in modern times, a lot of people are suffering from depression and various illnesses that stop them from enjoying their lives. We feel that our music has a lot of energy and a lot of uplift in it. Usually when people come to our gigs, they come away with a bit of Moxie.”

In the six years they have been together, music has brought them to some very exotic destinations.

“We’ve been to Australia, the USA, many parts of Europe. Last November we went to Vietnam with the president. He asked us to play over there for the Vietnamese president and we played in the Hanoi Opera House. It was a great experience to be asked to be an ambassador of music for your country.”

In the past, all of their music has been solely instrumental but Ted said that will change in the near future.

“We’re working with various different singers at the moment. I can’t really mention any of them yet because none of the recordings have been released. It’s looking very promising and it’s really nice working with singers as well, it takes a lot of pressure off the instrumental stuff. It allows us to arrange the tunes in a certain way.”

By Owen Ryan

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