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Glen of Guinness sets crowds cheering and dancing again

The singer of Glen of Guinness, Bertrand Gaillard (centre), with the rest of the band

Switzerland's most popular Irish folk-rock band has just released its fifth album, "Waiting for A.M.". The new 13-track opus by the Valais group Glen of Guinness will keep Irish folk lovers on their toes till the wee hours of the morning.

Seven years after its debut, Glen of Guinness has yet again managed to convey all the freshness and spontaneity of a live performance on to an album.

Waiting for A.M. explores ideas such as time, fear and death - thoughts that might occur to someone in the early hours of the morning. "I really like the hours between 3am and 6am," says lead singer, Bertrand Gaillard. "They are never neutral - there's always something happening at that time of morning. It can be full of joy, or really sad. They are really strange hours."

The new collection was produced with the help of Mike Butcher, a leading figure in the British music industry, who has worked with Rod Stewart and Black Sabbath.

It's the band's fifth album, and the eight-member group have been together long enough now "to be like a family", according to Gaillard.

The debut album "Haendel ouiz Caire" came in 1994, and was followed two years later by "Proud", and then "Gossip"(1997) and "Bastaki"(1999).

Glen of Guinness signed a record deal with Sony Music shortly after releasing its first album, and has remained with the label ever since. Gaillard remembers how the band felt when it linked up with the Sony label.

"We were afraid, I think, because Sony is such a big company, and we felt we were just a little band from Valais. It took us two or three years to forget the pressure from Zurich, but though we were afraid, we were excited too."

Since then, Glen of Guinness has made a name for itself both at home and abroad. The band has played at Switzerland's most famous summer festivals, including the Paléo Festival de Nyon and the Gurten Festival, and has performed in Belgium, Italy and France.

"The Gurten Festival in Bern was very special," recalls Gaillard. "It was on a Sunday at nine o'clock in the morning, and there were 10,000 people in front of the main stage. That was really a great surprise for us".

Glen of Guinness is currently on a tour, with over 20 performances scheduled in Switzerland. "We are on the road again, and it's great. It's a joy to record a CD, but we really appreciate being on stage".

The includes lead singer, Gaillard, producer Xavier Moillen (violin, alto, mandolin), Pascal Cassoli (flutes), Françoise Lampo (accordion), Martial Germanier (banjo), Nicolas Bourban (guitars), Johan Jacquemettaz (trombone) and Patrick Fellay (drums).

by Jeff Nottage


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