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Jo Mango, Declan O'rourke & Contraband, Sat June 19th

Dizzy Storm

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Yet but a young, sweet thing, the talent that is JO MANGO is currently emerging from the Glasgow music scene. Beginning her love affair with live music on the Aberdeen music scene at the illegal age of 16, Jo honed her performing talents in an energetic band named the Mangomen.

Branching out on the limb of her own song-writing abilities in 1999 helped along by the use of an old squeaky squeezebox she found in a cupboard- she was soon coaxed under the musical wing of the ubiquitous Dane Stewart, now of band SPEAKING IN CAPITALS and owner of Agony Acres Records. Her talent for writing quirky and beautiful lyrics quickly began to emerge.

Later that year came her move to Glasgow, home of many like-minded and eccentric individuals. Here, whilst studying music, Jo forged her own distinctive vocal style, learning to utilise a wide range of strange instruments and writing some of her most captivating songs. A journalist from the Sunday Mail who heard her sing at the world famous Nice n Sleazies Open Mic-Night during these early days, recognised her potential and tipped her as stiff competition for Scots star Sharleen Spitteri.

Now well known and loved, Jo - along with her expanding collective of gifted musicians - is enjoying the attention of several major record labels and the praise of many music critics (vocal control and range that most pop divas would kill fora rising talent Ben Johnson, Sunday Mail). Playing alongside the likes of Gary Lightbody and Eddi Reader, mixing with luminaries from bands such as Belle and Sebastian and the Reindeer Section, time has come to plan for the imminent global domination of Jo Mangos musical ideas about the colour of the sky, the treatment of inanimate objects and the importance of fruit. www.jomango.co.uk


In a Hot Press interview 18 months ago, one of Ireland's most successful music figures, Paul Brady, described Declan O'Rourke as "a really good writer and singer" and as one of the artists he would most like to see getting more attention. A growing number of people agree.

In February 2000, Declan made his first public appearance performing his own songs at a small songwriters night in a Dublin pub. Having spent the previous four years in Australia playing guitar with numerous bands, Declan now found himself among the elite of Dublin's singer/songwriter talent. In his first year of solo performing, he went on to play his songs to audiences a staggering 140 times.

In 2001, he continued to please crowds with his distinctive voice and intricate guitar playing, and began performing around the country. The year 2001 also saw O'Rourke expanding his horizons by taking part in co-writing sessions at the I.M.R.O. songwriters week at Maynooth University. Two of the songs Declan co-wrote there made it onto albums released last year. The first, Roesy's Sketch the Day, Paint the Night; and secondly; Shay Cotter's Medication Time.

In the last 12 months, Declan has played from Donegal to Wexford and back, played dates in London, and completed a two-week tour of Germany. He has supported household names such as Damien Rice, Gemma Hayes, Paul Brady, John Spillane, Kila, Scullion, Tommy Emmanuel and Paddy Casey. With Declan ORourke's first album on the way, it seems Paul Brady is closer than ever to getting his wish. www.declanorourke.com


the ContraBand are Tom George and Emmy the Great, an homme/femme acoustic duo formed some time at the beginning of this century. Their relationship is uncertain, though the general consensus is that they are identical twins, separated at birth. The band plead no comment to rumours of a marriage certificate found in Detroit, oh wait thats not us, no we are twins yes.

As a regular on the London unsigned gigging circuit, their childlike lyrics and general irreverence have earned a solid and growing fanbase, as well as their penchant for toy instruments in the key of C. One listener described them as like the Velvet Underground, except not on smack. Although they have been accused of irony in the past, they maintain that it only happened once, and they didnt inhale. They recently celebrated their first birthday, but nobody came.

This summer will see the release of the first EP, A self-titled EP by, to be released under the bands makeshift label, Stuck Records. It contains the earlier, most regressive ContraBand songs, and with its launch heralds a new, more introverted set, and it will be followed by a further EP released later on in the year.

the ContraBand also spend their time promoting a series of interactive acoustic nights, featuring raging folk, mellow punk, and lyrical tomfoolery. We hope the information here has led to an unshakable desire to love us, possess our music, uncover more. www.thecontraband.com



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