Time Out Doha caught up with John Madden, the fiddle player of Shamrog before their arrival to Doha as part of St Patrick’s week at the Marriott Marquis. They’re an Irish band promising plenty of jigs for the audience and a great craic
Tell us a bit about your band…
The band Shamrog started in the 1980s by founding members Paddy Whelan and John Ralph, both from Dublin, and they are still in the band to this day! I joined a few years later and I am from Tyrone. We have travelled all over the world, playing at many functions and have been very lucky in this respect. We have been all over the place – North America, Canada, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and all over Europe as well. We love it and couldn’t see ourselves doing anything else.
Is this your first stop at the Marriott Marquis in Doha?
No, this is our third time to play at the Marriott Marquis. It’s a great venue and it is always nice to be invited back.
What do you like about Doha?
We like coming to Doha for the weather. It’s just a little bit warmer than Ireland. It’s also nice to experience a new culture and we especially like the souq.
Do you find it odd that you get booked in the Middle East for these events?
No, not really, because everywhere you go in the world you will find Irish people, and generally you will also have organisations like the Irish Qatar Society who have been very helpful to us. And when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish like the craic. What better way to have it than to go to a music session to really let your hair down.
Why is Irish jig so catchy?
Irish music is very catchy because you can stamp your feet, clap your hands or dance to it easily. The music is infectious – you find yourself moving to the beat without even knowing you are doing it. Furthermore, shows like Riverdance have brought Irish music to a worldwide audience.
Why do you think St. Patrick’s day is celebrated the world over?
St. Patrick’s day is a day for everyone, but especially for the Irish. It is our national day and is celebrated worldwide because lots of people have Irish roots and the Irish know how to party.
What are your favourite Irish jig songs?
That’s a tough one as there are so many, but I have a few favourites: Ballad of Joe Hill, The Contender, Murshin Durkin, Wild Rover, Dirty old Town, The Sallygardens, Merrily Kissed The Quaker, The Kesh Jig and The Gravel Walk are some of my favourites. Listen to them on You Tube and see if you like them too.
How do you know when the audience is enjoying your music?
It’s so easy to know with the Irish jig if the audience is enjoying the music because they will sing along, clap their hands, get up to dance and hopefully send up a few requests.
What do you hope to see at your set in Doha?
I hope to see lots of people enjoying themselves and having the craic. Sláinte to all of you!
Dates for the diary
Shamrog will be performing at the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel at Champions Sports Bar on March 12, 13, 15, 16 & 17, with the bar opening at 5pm. Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, West Bay (4419 6100).