Thursday, August 6, 2009

Interview with guitar duo Tucan

THERE IS something about a clash of cultures and influences that makes the best combination - opposites attract and all that.
This clash is one of things that makes Sligo acoustic guitar duo Túcan sound exciting and invigorating, the very different musical backgrounds of Donal Gunne and Pearse Feeney combining to form something different.
“Donal, when I met him, was a big metal head, and that hasn't changed - he is even more into it now and probably will be until the day he dies,” laughs Feeney when he speaks to the Limerick Leader.
“He came from that metal, hard rock background but when I was younger, I liked nothing more than the sound of an acoustic guitar just strummed. We are always trying to find out how we can mix these different influences that we bring, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” laughs Feeney.
It certainly works on the duo’s debut album, released earlier in the summer. Aliquot Strings is a delightful nine track collection of instrumental guitar music, the duo chasing and challenging each other through a rich repertoire of classical and 60’s rock, heavy metal, trad, flamenco and jazz. ‘Aliquot’ means several in Latin, which is somewhat apt.
“Donal came up with Aliquot and I liked the idea, it does tie in with the many different sounds that we encompass,” explains Pearse.
“We are two very different people and it is very hard for us to agree on anything! Even down to the name of the band, album, the songs - everything, we always have to find a happy medium and I think we have,” he adds.
The self-financed debut was also self-released, requiring a hard slog to promote it and get it out there.
“We released it and got it charted - we spent a few weeks touring around all the record shops in Ireland. We got into the charts at no 29. If we sold seven more cds we would have been higher than the Pussycat Dolls,” laughs Pearse.
The album is exceptional; a buzzy, energetic affair, suffused in the guitar skills of the duo, but benefiting from the presence of drums and bass, filling out their sound.
“When we went into record the album we decided to get a rhythm section,” says Pearse. “
Since we recorded and started touring the album we have started bringing the full band. It will be the first time playing Limerick with the band, so we are looking forward to it.”
The inevitable comparisons will be made with Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, who have had such huge success in Ireland. Pearse says Túcan have been heavily influenced by the duo and see no harm in comparisons.
“We have learned that comparisons are inevitable, even if I don't think we would see comparisons any more,” he says.
“When we started off we would have listened to their music and it was a great learning tool to try and figure it out, but I suppose we have developed our own sound as time has gone on. I'd be a big fan so I would hardly take it as an insult,” he laughs.
Túcan play Upstairs in Dolan’s next Friday, August 7. Aliquot Strings is available now in record stores.

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