Irish singer Brian Clifford is back in Amsterdam!

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The Dutch summer has returned again, a mixture of thunder storms, cloudy spells and whopping heat spells of 20-28 degrees. On thursday night June 23rd it will be a test to see if any tourists are on the streets of Amsterdam and longing for some Irishness.
I play quite a lot in Rotterdam, the industrial heart of the Netherlands, heck I even used to live there. But with joy I always love to return to the real heart, and capital of the country – AMSTERDAM!
One of my favourite bars there is a little Irish Pub situated just off the river Amstel and within walking distance to some of the hot spots in the area and the buzzing cafe scene. Mulligans is the name of the pub, and it boasts live music at least 4 times a week! which is amazing as the pub is long and narrow, you can’t really fit that many people in there, but it’s incredibly cozy and just like a real pub in Ireland, the stout is great, the music is great, and they play great traditional irish music on the computer system when the live artist is not playing! what more do you want?

I’ve performed in Mulligans about 5 times since living in Holland I think, and I love it. The longstanding bartender Barry, a trained and highly experience sound engineer always ensures the artist doesn’t have to think about sound and just play and have fun. This is a real treat for someone like me that does their own sound for over 150 gigs a year! to get someone else doing that kind of makes you feel important chuckle chuckle.. 🙂
But other than that fact Barry and the staff are great craic, they appreciate the show you put on and the artistry and you get paid! Plus there is a buzz in this city that grows one, it’s infectious and stimulating, though I could never see myself living in such an environment, I long for the quietness and chilling out on my time off.

Kickoff at Mulligans is about 21:00, I’ll be there with my tunes ready to warm your soul.

I made the paper in Norway!

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Irish Singer/guitarist makes the paper up in Norway

I kind of felt like a bit of a celebrity when I came across this on the internet.  It’s not often one gets in the paper but when you do it’s nice to see. In the picture i’m standing with the Fjelljom choir in Royvik whom I will sing with on July 1st at a very special Irish concert. I’m really delighted to be asked for this, as 1. I’ve never sang with a choir before and 2. this has brought me to see my friends in Norway and see the beautiful nature and scenery where people live.
The really cool photo was made by my good friend Bernard O Sullivan, a very talented photographer and very fun guy to be around. He is also owner and director of his own company Bosphotography, that specialises in all kinds of photography right through from weddings and portraits up to band photoshoot and models.. you get the “picture”
Bernard was hired by the choir, to do a photoshoot for the promotional material for the concert. As it also happened the same cool photo was used by the local paper up there to help promote the weekend festival and the concert. I’m chuffed.

If you feel like reading in Norwegian you can read more about the event from the photo I’ve uploaded.
Till the next time, I’m off to catch some sun!! x

 

 

The "Norwegian Wood" Tour 2016

The first Norway tour for Irish Singer/Guitarist Brian Clifford

On Thursday June 2nd I began to depart on my first trip to Norway. For many years now I’ve been shuttling up on down between Amsterdam Schiphol and Copenhagen Kastrup airport. From there I would play all over Denmark by train from one end to the next. You know I still love doing that and love Denmark, but the time had finally come, where I needed a change and I thought I should make a trip to Norway, and that I sure did!

My port of call was Trondheim, (though I aint a sailor I’d be flying 🙂 ) Trondheim city has this very fun selection of international pubs there with live entertainment. They have an Irish Pub, a Scottish Pub and of course an English Pub, and that’s where I was to be playing for 3 nights – The Three Lions English Pub. After a connecting flight in and out of Oslo airport I finally arrived in Trondheim airport, one that was supposedly built by the Nazis to help with the Norwegian invasion. Well it’s a good thing they left it behind! Norway is full of many mountains, lakes and lots of tunnels, so I’m glad I could reach the North by flying.
My view from the window seat, which I always take (easy to sleep, and I can enjoy the view) was amazing. As I was about to land, I made many pictures and videos on my iPhone. The landscape is green and rugged and the mix of blue really makes it picture perfect. What can I say Norway, I’m in Love!
The plane landed and I picked up my bag, went to look for this mystery bus to the city outside. Well it was no more a mystery than finding my shoes in the morning. Norway like it clean and straight forward thank god for that. The big blue bus that said SAS on it and Shuttle to Sentrum in Trondheim was clear enough for me. The friendly driver even asked me where I was going and informed me of the stop, then took my heavy suitcase and guitar and gently placed it in the luggage compartment below. What a service!
The bus swept it’s way on the windy roads from Trondheim airport, passed the scenic view of the beautiful Trondheim Fjord and into city centre. The walk to the pub lasted approx 5 minutes phew! Ok less, ok it was around the corner.
I walked into the Three Lions, introduced myself, checked out the stage and what kind of system i’d be singing through, and thought this will be a good gig. After that I got some food and had a nap.

The hotel I was staying at had a gym on the top floor, and both Thursday and Friday I made it’s acquaintance. I went for a 30 min jog after dinner to get my blood pumping and clear out the cobwebs in my head, luckily it worked. My first night in Trondheim although a bit quiet was rocking, the people were mad into my music and a Norwegian woman also told me I reminded me of her late brother who also played and sang. She showed me a picture, and scarily enough I did… There was a group of lads, I guess they were student sitting near me who were mad into the Irish songs and loved singing along and making their presence known. They were good fun! All in all it was a great first night, the weekend was set up and I’m ready come get me!

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Friday came, and my good Irish friends Bernie and Lynn came down from up north to see me. They have been living in Norway now for two years and were delighted to come visit and hang out for the weekend. Bernie is the man for the photographs, he is a professional photographer at Bos Photography and also part owner and director of a company in Norway called Børgefjell Skinn,  that makes clothes out of Elk skin, and ships worldwide. They are both doing pretty well for themselves and I’m very proud. In October this year they shall get married, happy days ahead for these two! We spent the afternoon doing a walking tour around the city for a cup of coffee. Our guide was Ane, a lovely Norwegian girl and friend of Bernie and Lynn, and they were also staying the night over at her place. Ane showed us all the sights and I quite liked the big church and made some pictures of that. I think she was a bit embarrassed by Bernie and me and, the “Bernie and Brian” reunion was kinda loud and noisy, we laughed all the way around the city.
We ended our afternoon together with a barbeuqe and Ane’s house and I met her brother and we all had a good laugh together up overlooking Trondheim Fjord. Diligently I got the bus back into the city so I could have a rest and a run before the gig. I did exactly that and was ready for night No2!
Friday night kicked ass in the Three Lions! There was a great responsive crowd that were singing and dancing all night long. My friends came too and upped the enthusiasm even higher. All in all I think everyone had a great night out, and were demanding more at the end.

On Saturday my friends were a little bit hungover and tired so I chilled in the city on my own. No big deal as I’m on tour on my own anyway.. it was good to detox and have a bit of solo time. I strolled around the city and made some pictures and got to see a music festival where I caught a few songs of a Norwegian Band that were playing there own music, it was sort of Jazz/blues. The girl could sing man! and boy could she play guitar, made me weep, she was making Rory Gallagher move in his grave, and making me wish I practised more often.
The night time came, I skipped the run on the treadmill this time and got some dinner and had a sleep instead. One has to chill don’t they?
Saturday was even fuller than the night before in the Three Lions Pub! It took a bit of a slow takeoff, not so crowded when I started, but when I did my last set the place was packed! There was a great mix of young and old people singing along to my songs! I had a fantastic weekend tour in Trondheim and I’m sure I’ll return at some point!

My last two days in Norway I was gonna spend with my friends in remote Røyrvik up the North and about 4 hours in the car.
We left on Sunday afternoon and Bernie drove the whole way, with a short stop in the middle for food and toilet of course. The view from my side was fantastic, I kept making some time lapse vids and pictures for my instagram page, there was so much green and nature around I felt this really needed to be captured for when I’d return to Holland.
I met most of Bernie’s family that lived there, and got a little tour of the village. I even got to buy my daughter a little Moose teddy!  We didn’t do too much for the rest of Sunday except ate some pasta watched a movie.

Monday, we had big things planned. First on the agenda was Fishing on the family lake. Bernie brought me out in a canoe onto the lake and we did a bit of fishing. We unfortunately didn’t catch a single one, but the trip in the canoe was the excitement i needed! I’m a newbie to water adventures and have a fear of drowning, I also can swim but fear that If i cant touch the bottom, my fear of drowning might inhibit me from swimming.. strange person I am, yes i am. We reached land at the other side of the lake, and Bernie made a fire and we ate some soup and Reindeer meet, it was almost like we were camping!
We had to get back for late afternoon, and we hurried back at about 3pm to get cleaned up for the Evening. At 6pm Bernie was doing a photoshoot with me and the Fjelljom Choir

Brian Clifford Irish Singer in Norway with Fjelljom Choir

Brian Clifford Irish Singer in Norway with Fjelljom Choir. Photoshoot by Bosphotography.

They needed a good promo photo for a promo poster for the gig in a few weeks where I will join them. After the photoshoot I had to do a rehearsal with the choir. The day was jam packed and fun, We got lots done that day I tell you. And singing with a choir was also a fun and interesting experience. The gig with them will be exciting on July 1st.
Monday night ended with another movie at Lynn and Bernie’s and we all slept soundly.

Rehearsal with Fjelljom Choir and Brian Clifford Irish Singer/Guitarist

Rehearsal with Fjelljom Choir and Brian Clifford Irish Singer/Guitarist

Tuesday came and I must be honest I was a bit sad to be leaving. Of course I missed my wife and little girl, but I felt I had such a wonderful experience up here and had such a great time with my friends that I felt sad. If only the holiday was a bit longer, I’m sure you know what thats like. Maybe i should describe it as disappointed more than being sad?
Anyway I’ll be back in a few weeks to sing with the choir, and do a solo gig on my own in the village up where Bernie and Lynn live, so till then!