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Eamonn Lenihan


Eamonn Lenihan On the roadWhere are you from? An innocent enough question that people in Ireland like to put to other people in Ireland the first time they meet. But just how do you answer, if you'd attended four different schools in Canada and England before turning twelve? Since Eamonn Lenihan has been based in the Mid-West of Ireland for most of his life, these days he merely answers "Co. Clare". His parents' wanderlust certainly contributed to a general detachment from hometown sentiment.Eamonn Lenihan working with the audience It may even explain why Eamonn found himself listening to the music of Miles Davis from such an early age.

And... What do you do? Again, this isn't straightforward. The last time Eamonn studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music and was asked to describe himself, he used just the one word in his profile section: polymath. A case of talking himself up a bit in the third person, yes. But there is more than an element of truth to that brief description.

Chances are, you've landed on this site after hearing Eamonn's output for the Irish state broadcaster (presenting "The Third Wave", "Jazz Alley", "After Hours", "Daybreak" and - most recently - "The Blue of The Night" on RTÉ lyric fm). When did this interest in radio work first take hold? Eamonn can recall that, after being given a book token in advance of one year's school prize-giving and told to buy something for the presentation ceremony, he chose a paperback on being a radio DJ. (To use up the remainder of the token, he picked up another book about the French Revolution - guess which title the Mayor presented him with on the big night? Bien sur).

Eamon Lenihan He's travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, presenting radio workshops to secondary school students. In fact, Eamonn has delivered more than 600 interactive sessions at the microphone to everyone from Rotary Club members to senior citizens. You may have seen him inside the RTÉ stand for events like The Tall Ships Races, The National Ploughing Championships and the BT Young Scientists'. You may have even listened to him while travelling by jet aircraft.

Since 2011 - and he's still not certain how this came to pass - he's been grandly sitting in judgement of others.

Eamonn took formal piano lessons as a child. Never a virtuoso player on any instrument - and a performer who was always reluctant to posture and pontificate - he gradually came to realise that his real interest lay in the recording studio. Puzzles like this, when you've no-one else to tell you, can take many years to figure out. Working on mixes of his own music in the UK with experienced sound engineers like Ted Page and Colin Richardson furthered this interest (Ted spent four years on the road with The Cure; Colin worked at Strawberry Studios in the period when Martin Hannett was producing Joy Division). Eamonn currently uses Cubase in his own studio.

Reading at The Locke, Limerick

What else has played a role in shaping Eamonn's outlook? A family move to Shannon, Co Clare, in the late 1970s, for sure. With its influx of Americans and Europeans (who came to manage many of the factories on the industrial estate), and Irish who'd worked abroad, as well as refugees from Derry, Belfast, Chile and Cambodia, Shannon was not your typical Irish town. Still isn't, in fact. It was in Shannon that Eamonn befriended Donal Fean, a music lover who lived on the same housing estate. A younger brother of Johnny Fean of Horslips, Donal was the first person Eamonn met who owned albums by Captain Beefheart, Stravinsky and Eric Dolphy. Donal had even seen Frank Zappa in concert!

Eamonn LenihanAttending his very first day at university, Eamonn hooked up with a kindred spirit: guitarist Nick Knight. Nick is the only genius Eamonn is certain he's met in his life so far. (You won't have heard of Nick - such is the nature of the music business). In the early 1980s, Eamonn, Nick and drummer Paul Lehane founded the curiously-titled At the Window (curious, indeed: how many other groups do you know that begin with a preposition?). The band-name was not inspired by the Paul Klee painting, but rather by a Clive James book of TV criticism: television, like "the window does not very much shape the world; only, temporarily, what we see". (Television's "Marquee Moon" album is still one of Eamonn's favourites from this period).

When the trio decided to make a demo tape of original tunes, it was recorded on Donal Fean's 4-track in Shannon. fanning the flames Created in a local hall over the Easter weekend of 1983, Donal's recording captured the essence of the band's sound far better than subsequent sessions made in professional studios in the UK. Broadcaster Dave Fanning became a fan (click on the image, below left, to zoom in). An A & R scout called Russ Conway - no relation to the piano man of the same name - twice recommended At The Window to the board of Phonogram Records (the label's roster of acts included The Fall, Big Country, Dire Straits and Tears For Fears). And, despite the assistance of a former manager of The Stranglers and an ally at Warner Chappell music publishers, nothing came of a move to London. When Eamonn returned to Ireland, he had absolutely no idea what he'd do next. So he did what many in his position have done: he renovated a cottage in rural county Clare, and started a family...


Video of "The Waltz"

This ancient VHS video clip recently re-surfaced in Eamonn's garden shed. Audio and/or picture quality not the best. Still…

Others have previously uploaded At the Window TV appearances to YouTube - find them with your Internet search engine.

At The Window - "The Waltz"…

Becky Foster

Click on title to listen to full MP3 file.

Both AT THE WINDOW recordings - The Waltz and Becky Foster - are from a 12" single recorded in 1988.

Eamonn (vocals, bass), with Nick Knight (guitars) and Paul Lehane (drums). Engineers: Colin Richardson & Ted Page.


G.P.O. SponsorsDuring the 1990s, Eamonn worked - offstage - with Theatre Omnibus. Founded by the late Jean Regan, this community theatre group toured original works by Dermot Healy, Max Hafler and other living playwrights. At the time, cartoonist Bernard Dowd acted in productions, and Eamonn was writing a good deal of published fiction himself. (Choosing to remain in Clare, he was represented by a London-based literary agent.) Early in 2014, Eamonn re-discovered a floppy disk containing much of his writing from this period. He subsequently published a novel, "Power & Perdition".Now available onine and in store… He's since adapted some of his short stories for the screen. Right now, he's adapting a second novel - the 105,000 word magnus opus, "Drowning The Shamrock" - ostensibly about a temporary postal clerk who plans the robbery of his own office.

Since fiction-writing rarely put food on the table for his young family, Eamonn decided to do other things instead (including writing a TV column). You can discover more about his written work by visiting this site's BOOKS page.

Eamonn learned the bass guitar during the first semester of his undergraduate studies, so he could "jam" with his room-mate, Nick. It was at that time that Eamonn first began presenting programmes on campus. He never imagined radio as a career option. But life has a habit of throwing up surprises: though he's long been based west of the River Shannon, Eamonn he's been an approved independent producer with BBC radio; and - between 2002 and 2015 - devised and hosted regular weekly music programmes for RTÉ lyric fm. In much the same spirit as his college radio days.

Last year, he completed his first full-length movie script, hopes production can begin soon after normality returns. The screenplay will be doing the rounds in the meantime. And listen out for an EP Eamonn recorded with The Phil Ware Trio and trumpeter Danny Healy: the entire session is available as a free download. Please donate what you can, by clicking on the widget, below.