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Sharon Shannon celebrates 30 years with two releases

Sharon Shannon is celebrating 30 years on the scene with two new albums featuring 30 previously unreleased tracks. The first is The Winkles Tapes 1989, which was released in November, followed by a further 14 exclusive, tri-weekly tracks showcasing the wide and diverse scope of Sharon’s incredible 30-year musical journey. These 14 tracks will then be compiled on her 30th Anniversary album for release in November 2020.

In May 1989, Sharon Shannon began work on her first album at Winkles Hotel, Kinvara, Co Galway. This recording session lasted three days and featured guest appearances by some of the biggest names in Irish music including Donal Lunny, Gerry O’Beirne, Mary Shannon, Eoin O’Neill, The Waterboys’ Mike Scott and U2’s Adam Clayton.

In June later that same year, Sharon became a member of The Waterboys, and toured and recorded with them for 18 months before returning to her debut album. By this time, Sharon had become very influenced by the variety of musical styles played by The Waterboys; the instrumentation in particular. Sharon had discovered drumkits, Hammond organ, brass and electric guitar, so when she returned to her debut album, the approach to recording was very different to The Winkles Tapes.

And so, these sessions went into storage for 30 years. Sharon was prompted to return to the recordings in early 2019 by Mike Scott, who worked tirelessly compiling and editing the work into The Winkles Tapes. Recorded live over three days direct onto tape, these recordings capture all the unpolished energy, spontaneity and authenticity of an Irish music session.