Artists Against Homelessness has been organised for the last eight years by the Sunday Independent’s Barry Egan. This year’s show, which has been booked by Bekah Molony, reflects the diversity of modern Ireland. The lineup this year was curated by Dublin Rapper Kojaque. The night was a fantastic celebration of Focus Ireland’s work with a tremendous display of fresh Irish talent.
First up on the night was Ahmed, with love. Ahmed’s energy was evident from the time he took the stage. His music definitely matched his energy with great beats and important verses discussing many relevant topics including racism in Ireland. During his 4th song, he was joined on stage by Curtisy who was the next artist up. Curtisy arrived on stage in a dressing gown and flip flops bringing a more relaxed vibe to the stage. The combination was great, bouncing off each other to entertain the crowd.
Curtisy was a great second artist on the night bringing clever writing, great beats and an interesting personality. He changed from his dressing gown to a black hoodie early in his set. The crowd seemed to enjoy his unique style and genuine personality by dancing along.
The third act up was Negro Impacto, consisting of ChiChi and Strange Love. The band were super groovy with fantastic bass lines from Strange Love and soulful melodies from ChiChi. The pair were also joined on stage by a guitarist who filled the sonic space with well-placed solos with a great guitar tone.
Efé was the fourth artist up joined on stage by her guitarist John. Efé’s voice was fantastically strong and soulful which was complemented by great guitar work. The end of the set culminated in a fantastic guitar solo and great dancing from Efé, ending with John on his knees delivering the solo. This definitely got the crowd excited for what was to come.
Shiv continued from where Efé left off bringing ultra soulful vibes. Backed by a full band including drums, keys, bass and saxophone Shiv sounded fantastic on the night with her soulful voice and catchy melodies. She opened with a song called ‘You and I’ which was a lovely track culminating with a fantastic Saxophone solo. Another stand out track was her unreleased song ‘Power’ which she wrote in response to George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
At the end of Shiv’s set Roughnan Mac Namera, head of communication at Focus Ireland gave a few words about the work Focus Ireland do and how the crowd’s donations contribute to the situation. He also told some touching stories about how their work has helped people around the country including the 9000 homeless people in Dublin.
The second last artist up was Damien Dempsey, a singer-songwriter from Dublin. He took the stage to the usual chants of ‘Damo, Damo, Damo’. His 3 song set was full of energy and positivity. The first song he played was ‘Negative Vibes’ a song about not letting other people’s negativity get in on you and ruin your own self-image. This track is carried by a reggae type beat and had the crowd singing and dancing. The next song up was ‘Colonies’, a song about the colonisation of Ireland many years ago. The last song was ‘It’s all good’, which ends in shouts of ‘Love yourself today’. Any important message in this day and age.
The headliner, Dublin rapper Kojaque was phenomenal from start to finish bringing fantastic energy which was matched by the crowd singing every word back to him. Kojaque was joined on stage by Kean Kavanagh who was DJing and also sang on the track ‘Eviction Notice’. Kojaque was also joined on stage by Curtisy and Ahmed, with love for a remix of ‘Seaside’. Curtisy and Ahmed once again brought great energy to the stage. A highlight of the set was ‘No Hands’, a song about his relationship with his father. The set ended with the title track off Kojaque’s latest album ‘Towns Dead’ about the homelessness crisis in Dublin to which the crowd sang back every word.
Artists Against Homelessness was a fantastic celebration of positivity and the great work Focus Ireland does, as well as highlighting some fantastic new Irish talent. Check out https://www.focusireland.ie/who-we-are/about-us/ if you do want to learn more about what Focus Ireland does.