About

 Post-Irish group Los Stompers formed in Barcelona in the late 90’s, going on to become a landmark on the Catalan music scene- a byword for Irish music in Barcelona and beyond. Evolving from trad-folk roots, their approach has grown increasingly personal over the years: Irish music born and bred abroad, shot through with a healthy dose of irony.

Having spent the closing years of the previous millennium touring Scandinavia, France, Germany & Holland, the opening years of the present one found them concentrating their energies on their “home terrain” of Catalonia and environs, although in the process venturing into virtually every region of Spain.

Meanwhile, they have found time to release six albums on the Ventilador Music label (pertaining to Barcelona Rumbamongers Los Manolos), receiving favourable reviews in local and national press (El Periodico, El Pais, Avuí & La Mañana, amongst others.). The singles Turn of the Century EU and Idiot Boy enjoyed extensive airplay (M80, Cadena 100 and RAC 105) while the accompanying videos were broadcast on regional and national channels (TV3, TVE2, Canal33 & BTV).

History

Following the demise of the Stomping Clawhammers, Dara Luskin (bass), Kiko Fergananym (banjo, mandolin) and Alex Crichton (vocals, guitar) formed Los Stompers in 1997, embarking on a tour of Scandinavia with Colm Pettit on fiddle shortly thereafter. Upon returning the band recorded  a live album, Mezzy on Stage, in the now defunct Jazzmatazz (Barcelona). Released on Los Manolos’ label, Ventilador Music, it was a compendium of traditional Irish pub songs such as “Follow me up to Carlow“, “The Star of the County Down” and “Waxie’s Dargle“, alongside original material.

1999 saw the release of their studio debut, Pub Friction, featuring incursions into Catalan rumba and country music. This was achieved through the production skills of former Manolos drummer Andreu Hernandez, various collaborations with seasoned musicians such as Ricky Araiza and Cece Giannotti, and the inclusion of instruments atypical in Irish music: cajóndarbouka, trumpet and tuba. The album was well received by Spanish publications EFE EME and La Vanguardia.

With the addition of David García on drums and the replacement of Colm Petit, initially by David Holmes and later by Juan Aguiar, 2001 saw the release of Belmondo Café: a more polished production,  but laced with  by now trademark wry humour and genre-dabbling (skaragga and pop). The album was reviewed by Spanish newspapers Avui and El Pais.

A new-look Los Stompers (Dani Violant on diatonic accordion,  Salva Suau and David Holmes replacing David García and Juan Aguiar respectively) now undertook a Catalan tour. The single Turn of the Century EU appeared on M80 Radio‘s  playlist in May 2001. Dave Varriale (following a tour with Paul Fuster) replaced Salva Suau on drums in 2003.

 2005 brought more personnel changes, with Violant and Varriale both leaving and Marcos López joining on drums. A high point of this period was reached in 2008, when the band appeared on the bill with folk legends  Donovan and The Dubliners at Denmark’s prestigious Skajen Festival in 2008

Animal Vegetable Miserable

In 2006, after nine years in the group Alex Cr
ichton decided to call it a day. He was replaced by Brian O’Mahony, originally from Cork, Ireland, thereby establishing the group’s current line-up. With this injection of new blood work began on a fourth album. Following a long gestation period sessions finally began in November 2008,reuniting them with Andreu Hernández at  Ventilador’s studio in Sants, Barcelona. The result, Animal, Vegetable, Miserable, was released in November 2009.

The Harold Spencers

In 2013 Los Stompers unleashed The Harold Spencers, showcasing a shift towards Indie-Folk, brought about by blending “old friends” (mandolin, banjo, fiddle & accordion) with a greater stress on rythmic building-blocks (guitar, bass & drums). The assumption of an alias, The Harold Spencers, served to highlight this change in direction.

Life is Elsewhere

Los Stompers latest offering, Life is Elsewheresaw the light of day on March 10th 2017. The disk marks the continuing evolution of the stomper sound,  on this occasion assisted by the guiding hand of producer Miguel Vera of Argonauta Estudios.

Side Projects

 In 2002 Alex Crichton (alias Earwax Fullton) and Kiko Fergananym (alias Welkin Gibbous) set up Ded Grandad, a group dedicated to salvaging early 20th century roots music from the U.S.. A CD, Beyond the Gravey Train (2006) featured Dara Luskin on bass, Ricky Araiza de los Cobos on bazouki and Nacho Haywire on clarinet. The band has played in festivals such as Blues a Roses and Country Beer Blues. An alternative avatar, unearthing polyglot folk sounds from around the world, performs under the name of Tío Vivo.

2006 saw Los Stompers launch, with Irish tap-dance group Celtic Caos, the Irish music and dance show “An Taisteal”. During the following years the show appeared in festivals in Catalonia, Andorra and France. In 2008 An Taisteal toured Aragon, being performed in Zuera, La Almunia and Fuentes del Ebro, among others.

In the wake of An Taisteal’s success, a second outing was assembled with the involvement on this occasion of dance troupe Nuala Irish Dancers (or whatever they’re called). Dubbed “Celtic Rock n’ Reels”, the show vaunts the distinguishing feature of several Irish-language numbers, and received it’s first airing

Discography

  • Mezzy on Stage (Ventilador Music, 1998)
  • Pub Friction (Ventilador Music, 1999)
  • Belmondo Café (Ventilador Music, 2001)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miserable (Ventilador Music, 2009)
  • The Harold Spencers (Ventilador Music, 2013)
  • Life is Elsewhere (Ventilador Music, 2017)