Orwells ’84

Date: 06 Jul 2024
Time: 8PM (The Cellar)
Ticket Price: €10 BUY TICKET

Orwells ’84

Plus Special Guests

The Workman’s Cellar

July 6th



“The Crucible has uncovered what many musicians spend a lifetime working towards – the ability to create feel-good music that carries vital social commentary. Orwells ‘84 do not disappoint.” – 8/10

  • Hotpress


“If there are better mercurial examples that include a generous blend of roots and trad that bring to mind finely textured elements of The Waterboys, Horslips and other smart fusion bands on this album, then we will be waiting a long time for them.” – 4/5

– The Irish Times, Tony Clayton Lea


“Expansive and memorable choruses are sewn together by lush and minimalist guitars and drums, soft backing vocals and plain lyricism.”

–      Our Sound Music


“Orwells ‘84’s ‘Tomorrow (Maybe I’ll Feel Alright)’ is a tune that you want to listen to more than once to feel these beautiful intense emotions again.”

–      Edgar Allan Poets


“Absolutely phenomenal”

–      Ed Smith, Today FM


“I never know what genre to use for Orwells ‘84, I told someone recently, just go and listen to them.”

–      Dan Hegarty, RTE2FM


“The song, which mixes aspects of indie, rock and trad is very impressive, boasting a sound far more

fully realised than most debuts offer.”

–      Nialler9


“A jingly-jangly-flighty guitar song that’s as infectious as you-know-what, but nowhere near as


–      Tony Clayton Lea (The Irish Times)



Orwells ’84 – ‘The Border and The Mistress’ (Track)


Orwells ’84 – ‘The Border and the Mistress’ (Video)


Orwells ’84 – ‘The Crucible’ Album Private SoundCloud Link  (Album)




Forever referring to themselves as “a phoenix from the ashes” Orwells ’84 in its original incarnation was the brainchild of singer and songwriter Damien McKenna.


Based on the free spirit and loosened shackles of the Plastic Ono band, McKenna set out to seek musicians for the cause. Quickly recruiting guitarist and long-time friend Sean Byrne the pair

were followed into the line-up by celloist Ella Englishby.


Based on these elements the band cultivated a manifesto and a sound to match. The line-up was completed by the incomings of musicians and producers Peter Mc Coy and Pauric McCrum and with the final addition of renowned trad fiddle player Roisin Ward Morrow.


The band recorded their debut EP Truth is the First Victim with Pauric and Peter later that year in 2019. This was the band’s second venture with the duo; having worked together previously on their debut single Cailín which picked up support from the likes of RTE 2FM, Nialler9, Today FM and many more.


Since releasing Cailín, Orwells ’84’s folk-indie style remained present yet matured, with a more refined world-view. The band quickly felt they were in a position in which they believed to be consistently developing on an upward trajectory.


The EP had been thought and

considered a marker, a call to arms if you will. To the people in the venues, the ones on the streets and those who can help them achieve what they believe they can.


Since their birth they have crafted and artistically explored theirs and society’s thoughts and emotions and poured these experiences into the music. They do not write songs, they feel songs are falsified. They write truthfully about life’s experiences.


The band ventured even further in the experimentation that would culminate with the writing and recording of their debut album.


Like most bands, the pandemic affected Orwells ’84 in terms of momentum and growing interest. However, it did not deter the creativity that surrounded the sought after style, both musically and lyrically, that the band prepared to announce to the world.


Like many others from Dundalk and on the Irish music scene, Orwells ’84 are even more eager to deliver their unique musical voice to the world with something new and exciting to say. They’ve performed with people like David Keenan, Nix Moon, Myles McCormack from

Belfast group Lonesome George and Finnian, among others. And while the band are often labelled with some form of the words ‘indie’ and ‘folk’, their style meets at the junction of many different genres.


There’s something about Orwells ’84 that is indescribably different —

and with their newest project, they’ve discovered what most musicians spend lifetimes working for — the place where feel-good music meets vital social commentary.

In February 2023, the band released the first single ‘It’s What They Want’ which premiered on RTE 2FM with Dan Hegraty as well as landing coverage on HotPress, Our Sound Music, Edgar Allan Poets, The Goo, InMusic, Indie Disco, Corks Red FM, iRadio, WLR FM, KCLR 96FM and many more, their second single ‘Tomorrow (Maybe I’ll Feel Alright)’ received support from HotPress, Edgar Allan Poets, RTE 2XM, Indie Disco, Near FM and many marking the start of what is set to be an exciting year for the band with the run up to their debut album. On April 7th the band released their debut album ‘The Crucible’ to critical acclaim garnering high praise from Hotpress and The Irish Times while also receiving notable airtime from RTE Radio 1, RTE 2FM and BBC Radio 1. The band are now set to continue this year with a string of releases from this album.





Border and the Mistress is the new single and accompanying video from the album ’The Crucible’ With elements of the trad stylings of Paul Brady and Andy Irvine, Border and the Mistress is a true love song about the town so special to the song writer Mc Kenna.


The video was shot and directed by talented Tim Sherwood who has recently worked with artists such as Le Boom and Rachel Mae Hannon. The video is a delicate, artistic mirror image of the emotive and suggestive single itself. It features the wonderful actors Seán Óg Cairns and Kerri Watt and showcases the bands art and eye for the visual as well as the song.


Born and raised in the border region, McKenna deftly describes his love for the places, people and imagery of his hometown of Dundalk. Pointing to the conversations and stories, McKenna has

shown his love for the history and the people of the town.

The band have created an amazing trad infused soundscape with an almighty uplifting end. All of which sets the scene for the story that is to come.


The band believes that this song is true love.

Love for their town, their love for the song and the love the songwriter has for the heroine of the piece.


Border and the Mistress is, the band believe, their seminal work to date. It is a piece of work they are very proud of.





Def : a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new


The brand new album from Orwells ’84 is the culmination of the band’s four year musical journey. Cultivated to embody a vast musical soundscape and lyrical prophetic themes, the album has taken on the very form that the band have looked to achieve – a place where feel-good music meets vital social commentary.


The album has had a long stop start life which began during the first COVID 19 lockdown. The bands primary song writer (Damien) Mc Kenna wrote and amassed 24 songs and short demos in the

bands practice space, effectively known as The Crucible. The process gave the band a heavy task as they set about building on the demos created during the harsh restrictions. The lockdowns took its

toll, typified most by the original title for the song “The Social Contract” which was for a long time

“Lockdown Demo”.


Once safe to peer over the parapet the band quickly set about beginning the recording. Previous producers Pillowhead were drafted back in and the settings of Blackmountain Recordings in Louth

and Sunset Studios in Dublin City were chosen.


However, once the recording began it was clear that Orwells ’84 had begun to create more than a collection of songs. They created an album as a piece of art. Opened by the track “Isteach” (the irish

word for in) and closed by the epilog “Amach” (the irish word for out) the album is filled with colour, movement and emotion.


Lyrically the songs deal with a mass of human experience and the social conditions. There are songs for all seasons, from the roaring “Wake Up” to the beautifully crafted “Close by the River” Orwells ’84 have left no musical stone unturned. The aim is to engage the listener and invite them to interpret, in their own way, the music that has been set out in front of

them as the audience.


“The Crucible” is an album built to be listened to from start to finish, front to back. But within the walls of the album there are great songs. Singles “It’s What They Want” and “Tomorrow (Maybe I’ll

Be Alright” will be followed up with ‘The Border and The Mistress’. Selecting these were tough and the band are happy

with the strength of it.


Laced with elements of The Beatles, Elbow, Bowie to name a few, the band have drawn on all the elements of all the music they love and have created an album that they can stand behind with their

chests puffed out. This is an album they love and have taken pride in!





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Press and Media Contact


Kate O’Loughlin,

Music Publicist at Jawdropper Music