Kaeshammer returns with Big Easy brand of rhythm and bluesAugust 10, 2012 - 8:38am
HOT on the heels of two sell-out shows at this year’s Arts Festival, Michael Kaeshammer returns to Róisín Dubh on Tuesday next, August 14.
Kaeshammer plays an irresistible brand of New Orleans-flavoured boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues. Speaking from Vancouver, Canada, Michael is looking forward to coming back to Galway.
“People are really what make a difference, to me at least,” he says. “When you go somewhere and you start meeting people and you start making friends, and you actually start looking forward to coming back - that’s a really good thing when you travel that much.”
Michael and his band play off the crowd at their shows, and the reaction to their Arts Festival gigs took him by surprise. “In Canada, it takes people a little longer to get out of their shell,” he says.
“That’s the one thing I’ve noticed with Irish audiences – they’re right there from the beginning. They were responsive right away. I didn’t know how people would react to my music, but it’s been fantastic.”
Michael grew up in Offenburg, Germany before the Kaeshammer family moved to the Canadian west coast when he was a teenager. But both of those places are a long way from Louisiana – where did he find his love for New Orleans’ music?
“You know, that’s been around forever for me,” he says. “When I was a little kid, I got it through my dad. As far back as I can remember – he plays a little bit of ragtime and blues piano – he would show me things as a kid. That’s all I heard as kid, it just seemed the most natural thing to play.”
Michael Kaeshammer lived in New Orleans two years before the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and still returns to the city on a regular basis. “Everything that I value in life is important to that city,” he says.
“Music not just being a background thing, but an integral part of the mentality. And food is a very important thing. Just the whole lifestyle of living life.”
Though parts of the city may still be reeling from Katrina, does Michael feel that New Orleans retains its inimitable spirit?
“I think so,” he says. “You still find areas like Treme and the Ninth Ward where it’s still a ghost town. That’s because people have moved and they didn’t money for insurance for their house. But when you go in the French Quarter, it feels like nothing happened.”
“People in New Orleans are so proud of their city and their heritage; I don’t think they’ll let that die. And rightly so. I always find it crazy that it’s one of the poorest cities in the US.”
Amongst other influences, Michael’s love for boogie-woogie music can be heard on his latest album Kaeshammer. Does he find it hard to replicate the feeling of a live show in the studio?
“It’s hard to capture, but I honestly don’t try to capture exactly what’s happening live,” he says. “I feel you have to at least be aware that you’re in a different place; you’re in a studio, there’s no audience. You have to take all those things into consideration.”
“But one thing I’m always conscious of is that everyone records live off the floor. I think the whole interplay of the band if you start overdubbing, at least for the music I do, it will take away some of that life. You react to each other when you play.”
Michael Kaeshammer plays Roisin Dubh on Tue Aug 14.