John Francis Flynn


Delighted to announce the debut of John Francis Flynn to Mike the Pies on Thursday 10th October 2024.  A night you sure definitely don’t want to miss.

John Francis Flynn is an Irish singer and multi-instrumentalist in traditional and contemporary folk music. He is a founder member of the Traditional Irish folk band Skippers’ Alley. His solo work combines traditional material with influences from the worlds of post-punk, electronica, improvisation, and contemporary music.

To, imagine Ireland is to fantasise about rolling hills, giants, saints and snakes. As John Francis Flynn says, it involves “a fair bit of paddywhackery and I hate paddywhackery.” The psyche-celtic album artwork for John’s second album Look Over The Wall, See The Sky, hints at this too though: a crystal goblet of luminous green Crème de Menthe resting upon a mossy ledge, perfectly encapsulating this imagined idea of Ireland in a way that is both funny and poignant.

On his new single ‘Mole In The Ground’, a cover of an American anti-establishment folk song recorded by Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928, John evokes the rebellious energy he felt in his home of Dublin during a time when it was being “torn to shreds by property developers and vulture funds.”

To listen to this album is to witness history through a modern lens in a trance-like state.

However, he was also inspired by his contemporaries in the traditional music scene in Ireland, many of whom contributed to the album, as well as those outside of it, such as noise-rockers Gilla Band and Rising Damp.  

On the record’s closer, ‘Dirty Old Town’ by Ewan McColl, John takes a song that’sbeen “done to death”, strips it back, slows it down and unexpectedly adds brass, harking back to the working-class colliers bands of the early 20th Century.

On his last record, I Would Not Live Always, John was much more conscious of bringing acoustic instruments and weird synthesized sounds together as a concept.

Instead, the songs seem to live somewhere in John’s subconscious, as he is often able to visualize exactly how they will sound before putting them down. With ‘Kitty’, (recorded by Shane MacGowan on The Pogues’ debut, ‘Red Roses For Me,’) John had already heard a version of this song structured loosely in his head involving a drone, a warped clarinet, and a simple Robert Wyatt-esque beat. The result is a two minute lament after which sudden distortion punctures through a wall of sadness before pulling back completely to just a singular drone.

These effects become John Francis Flynn’s guttural language; sometimes they are tiny droplets glitching in the background, other times they are great droning waves gushing through the songs. For John, they often come to represent a descent into intense sadness. Where we might hear horror or feel terror, John explains that these effects are always aiding the emotional leverage of the song, as for many of our protagonists, “these are the sounds of their lives are being torn apart.” 

John masterfully unpicks traditional songs and rearranges them with an emotional force that sometimes leaves them unanchored.Look Over The Wall, See The Sky is an album concerned with imagination, but not only with what John calls, “an imagined Ireland,” but also the re-imagining of traditional Irish music and the hopeful fantasy of an Ireland that could exist ‘over the wall’: powerful, hopeful and free. 

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Event Schedule Details

  • 10th October 2024 9:00 pm   -   11th October 2024 1:00 am
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