Watch: Folk band Brógeal on headlining King Tut’s and touring with the Mary Wallopers

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The band have become a part of the Glasgow music scene through regular gigs in the city and will play at TRNSMT this summer.

It was in October last year that Brógeal received a last minute invitation to open for the Dundalk rock and roll band the Mary Wallopers at The Garage in Glasgow. Following the set, after spending time with the Irish musicians, they were asked to support them on a number of English and Welsh dates which would become their first tour south of the border and put them in front of some of the biggest crowds they’ve played too. They are now preparing to rejoin the Wallopers for a further eight dates starting in Nottingham and ending in London. 

Brógeal describe themselves as the ‘five folk folks from Falkirk’. Utilising traditional instruments such as an accordion, a banjo and a mandolin they sing stories about love and loss, growing up in a small town. They harness their ancestral roots in their music and express it with pride. The band built up a local following in Glasgow with a monthly residency at McChuills.

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Kaitlin Wraight

They headline Glasgow’s most famous grassroots venue King Tut’s on Friday 29th March - the gig sold out in a matter of days. And then, in just under a month’s time, they will be travelling to Ireland for a range of dates ahead of the release of their self-titled EP which will be coming out on vinyl - a first for the band who haven’t yet seen any of their music in a tangible format.

Made up of Daniel Harkins (vocals and guitar), Sam MacMillan (accordion), Aidan Callaghan (vocals and banjo), Euan Mundie (bass) and Luke Mortimer (drums), we recently spoke to the latter three about their upcoming endeavours:

Euan: “We’re heading out on our second tour with the Mary Wallopers, across England. I don’t think we’re playing Wales this time, we played Wales last time. The tour totally changed us as a band. We can’t thank them enough for bringing us along.”

Aidan: “What an opportunity.”

Euan: “They were playing in Glasgow. They’re the kind of band that can play on their own, they don’t always have a support act or just have the one. Some bands have four acts playing with them. Mary Wallopers just rock up and get it done, they’re awesome. 

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“They didn’t have a support act for Glasgow and it was a sold out show in Garage on Sauchiehall Street and basically we got the call. The day of?”

Aidan: “It was the day before we were in practice and Sam was just like ‘I just got an email’ and that was it. We were just going to have a wee jam and then it was like ‘right, get the set played’.”

Euan: “We’re playing with the Mary Wallopers tomorrow. It was one of those ones it was amazing.”

Aidan: “Aye it’ll be great to be back on the road with them. Some boys.”

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Euan: “After that they brought us with them. Collectively, Brógeal, if we agree or disagree on some things we can all agree on the Mary Wallopers one hundred percent. Stick any tune on and we’re there.”

Aidan: “We saw them at Belladrum last year, what an evening that was.”

Between 26 April and 5 May Brógeal will embark on their second headline tour across Ireland playing both ticketed and non-ticketed shows. There will be eight dates in total including stops in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Belfast and Kilkee. 

Euan: “So this is our second time getting brought over to Ireland to play a bunch of shows. Essentially this is the Brógeal headline tour in Ireland and that’s hard to wrap your head around, as in how that’s even a thing. We’ve played Ireland multiple times and we love it but it’s hard to wrap your head around that we’re playing in Ireland by our own name. It’s pretty crazy. 

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“We feel very welcomed to be asked by MCD Productions and different folk who are booking us.”

Aidan: “Ireland is my favourite place in the world, I feel very strongly about my Irish heritage so to be given the chance to play my tunes to people, and have them like it, they’re into it. It’s influenced by that kind of culture, the shared culture between Ireland and Scotland, it just fills my heart in a strange way. We’ll be playing in Dublin and all my family will be coming down. It’s just going to be mad.”

Euan: “I think for me, representing Falkirk, Scotland as well. Going to another country that’s a total - that’s what you dream of right from the very start. To do that and be like ‘we’re from Falkirk’ and folk are like ‘where even is that?’. I think that’s cool. Representing.”

Aidan: “They’ll soon learn.”

Euan: “Exactly.”

Aidan: “I don’t think our music is as unique as we maybe initially thought it was. There’s a lovely thing happening the now where Celtic or Gaelic culture - whatever you want to call it - is making a comeback. There’s a lot more trad sessions seem to be appearing, there’s a lot of bands now kicking off that seem to be using traditional instruments. We just happen to be part of that and it’s brilliant.

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“We bring all our wee bits in together and that’s where you get Brógeal.”

Euan: “There’s five folk and we’re a team and we bring all our different aspects. Going all the way back to The Pogues, that’s almost the blueprint of things. But it’s punk rock you could say, and then people are like ‘well you’re playing a banjo Aidan that’s no punk rock’. But then it’s even more punk rock. We’re doing our own thing.”

Aidan: “There’s a lot more influences in our tunes than just The Pogues or the Saw Doctors.”

Euan: “We’re more poppy.”

Aidan: “There’s a lot of 80s bands, there’s just so much that goes into the tunes that we make.”

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Euan: “We were saying recently we reckon we’re just like McFly or something, a pop punk band and we just happen to have accordions.”

Aidan: “That was the first CD I bought when I was a wee laddie.”

Euan: “To say it short we are the five folk folks from Falkirk. The FK folk punks.”

Aidan: “We are who we are.”

Euan: “The Brógeal bad boys.”

Kaitlin Wraight

At this point Luke Mortimer arrived. The conversation then moved onto their upcoming show at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on 29 March, their second headliner at the 300-capacity venue.

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Euan: “How many times have we played King Tut’s? Four? That will be the fourth?”

Aidan: “I’ve personally lost count but this will be the biggest and the best.”

This will be Brógeal’s fifth performance at King Tut’s, having first played the stage in February 2022 opening for fellow Falkirk band Danko. Their second go was the subsequent July as part of the annual Summer Nights festival. They then supported the Wakes that following December before a Celtic Connections headline in February 2023. 

Euan: “I feel like this is the first time it’s been totally our own: Brógeal at King Tut’s. We played Celtic Connections last time which was an absolute honour but this time it’s our own thing and we sold it out really quickly which was a surprise to us, it totally felt great.”

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Luke: “It’s exciting as well because our EP will be out not long after.”

Euan: “Exactly, it’s kind of the release show in a way.”

Luke: “It kind of is aye because we’ll play all those songs there.”

Aidan: It’s brilliant, we’ve seen the progress that we’ve made over the last couple of times we’ve played King Tut’s and every time it’s got bigger in terms of the show we put on and the crowd that turn up. It’s like a wee homecoming in itself."

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