"Music connects, it creates community and identity and commences and continues traditions. Music is fundamental and universal among humans and so is unique in being able to communicate and connect cultures. What an inspiring and interesting pursuit and one I’m lucky to engage in…a great leveler!"
Simon is embarking on a cross-cultural collaboration with saxophone player Richie Buckley and guitarist Drazen Derek at dlr LexIcon this Autumn.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your music
I’m a singer and composer lucky enough to work in a number of musical genres. Initially, I started off as a boy soprano for 8 years from the age of 3 learning to read music and sing under the guidance of the late great Dal Mc Nulty, in Johns Lane, Thomas Street. Throughout school and college, while formally I studied as a Classical and Operatic singer, I always worked in other genres, particularly Jazz and Folk.
Over the past decade while I still work on Classical projects, more and more of my time has been dedicated to Jazz, World, and Folk music, and the study of music in culture. This has resulted in several cross-cultural musical collaborations internationally and with international musicians in Ireland, and academically took the form of a Masters in Ethnomusicology from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick.
What are you hoping to achieve during your residency?
I have been working a lot with a group of musicians who like me work across several musical genres, and I have been looking to find a cohesive sound that is at once progressive while referencing and paying homage to the musicians who have influenced me. To that end I am part of a musical collective who will shortly be relaunching the Café Orchestra, a musical collective very popular in the 1990s who took their influence from the Gyspy Jazz style of artists such as Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli.
We hope to continue this exploration of music and I am one of several members of the collective writing new compositions for this endeavour. During the residency, the hope is to write several new compositions for the launch of this group on the 13th of November at the National Concert Hall.
A number of the collective of the group will give a concert at the end of my residency on the 5th of October at the dlr LexIcon. During the residency, I will co-write and find sounds with several of the members of the group including Richie Buckley the saxophone player, and guitarist Drazen Derek.
What do you think are the benefits of a residency like this for a musician like you?
I genuinely cannot wait for this residency to start. It can be hard to find time to put aside and space in which to work when working on the creative process. To have dedicated time and space to work is very exciting. Finding time to rehearse can be difficult as people need to work to keep paying the bills, so to be able to offer fees to collaborators is invaluable and means people can put aside time and treat the creative process in a professional manner rather than trying to find time between the daily work and gigs one needs to do.
I have a list of pieces and sketches I want to complete and to have a structured residency in place means these things put on the long finger can have dedicated time.
What are you most looking forward to about your time at dlr LexIcon?
I think being able to set aside other work, and turn off the phone, and have a very singular goal in mind as I enter the dlr LexIcon for my residency days is exciting. It will be a first for me.
Typically as a self-employed musician you are running around and life can be a little chaotic so the residency gives me space to allow the artistic process unfold. Sketches of ideas can be dusted off and the particular project I’m working on can be at the forefront of my mind and energy rather than filled in between everything else going on.
What inspires you to make music?
A musician is a very privileged thing to be. Being invited to give the listener access to different colours and thought processes within their day is such a rewarding pursuit. To access emotional spaces within yourself and try and transmit these though music as a way of connecting with a single listener or a community of listeners is such a fun and interesting thing.
Music connects, it creates community and identity and commences and continues traditions. Music is fundamental and universal among humans and so is unique in being able to communicate and connect cultures. What an inspiring and interesting pursuit and one I’m lucky to engage in…a great leveler!
What is your favourite thing about live music?
I love performing with other musicians; having to have a dialogue between several musicians that results in a cohesive listening experience is such a wonderful balancing act to take part in. Different musicians have different approaches so I love working these out in a live musical setting.
I’m fortunate too to often work in live music experiences where music facilitates a cultural tradition and brings an emotional togetherness to an occasion. I also find that my best-ever performances are in live settings as you seek a connection with an audience, and find a common emotional experience with the listener.
Where can we hear your music?
I do have albums available online on simonamorgan.com; One is a reimagining of the songs of Thomas Moore for a modern Irish cultural environment “Thomas Moore Reimagined”; The Other is an album of some of the great songs of the Golden age of Hollywood, with full Orchestra recorded in Prague with arrangements by David Wray.
I’m also on Spotify and at the following social media accounts…all of which I have promised myself I’m going to become more active on!
X (Twitter): @SimonMorganIRL
Facebook: Simon Morgan
The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Musicians-in-Residence Scheme is jointly funded by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the Arts Council and is managed by Music Network.
Music Network Residencies
We support musicians to develop their professional careers at all stages.
Every year we provide professional and emerging musicians with residency opportunities both at home and abroad. Our residencies give musicians time, mentoring, funding and other supports to assist the development of their practice and careers.
Find out about our other dlr musicians-in-residence for 2023: