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Ludwig O'Neill

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Former frontman with Belfast bands Chalice, The Bush Turkeys and Reeferadio... now on a solo career

About Ludwig O'Neill

Belfast born songwriter, composer, performer... used to front bands called Chalice (1979-85), The Bush Turkeys (1990-97) and Reeferadio (1998-present) Is just releasing debut CD through Folkwit records(UK) 2008

Bio from Ludwig's MySpace page:
At the tender age of 6, Davy O'Neill wasn't allowed to play with his older brother's guitar, so he stole moments with it when he could, adding the craft of guitar to his growing passion for the harmonica. He was a natural, always playing by ear - the art came to him with little effort. In earlier times, they'd have said this was a child 'kissed by the muses'. But Belfast of the early 1970's was a bleak place of constant death and mayhem, and not a place any self-respecting muse would find herself if she could help it. Daily violence and uncertainty dominated most people's lives back in that bad time. However, the young Davy O'Neill found that he could escape into the music that seemed to be all around him. He buried himself in the soundtrack of the era: Radio Caroline drifting on the waves, the little red transistor radio beneath his sleepy pillow, ebbing and flowing, crackling out Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Rush, Meatloaf, America, Pink Floyd and beyond... this was the only place where he could block out the fear and misery that surrounded him on Belfast's dark unwelcoming streets. Sometimes it is the desert of the soul that creates the most powerful artist.

So, why the name Ludwig? One evening Davy had the choice of running with his mates in the streets of North Belfast, or working on a song he was writing - he chose the music. Kids being kids taunted him with 'Look!... there goes 'effin' Ludwig the composer'.. Adopting that name became a title of honour for the 15-year-old musician - the ultimate two fingers to his tormentors.

Ludwig has played the local music scene for the last 15 years in various bands, with some measure of success, the most notable of these outfits being The Bush Turkeys in the early to mid nineties. However, in recent years, a creative 'sea change' had begun to occur. A desire to create a deeper, darker form of music, with all the pain and passion of the true Celtic heart had emerged in the more mature artist. In some ways these new 'dark still water' sounds wouldn't have found a niche in the bands that Ludwig was currently working with; ReefeRadio, a rock/blues outfit and Apartment, a jazz/soul band. Something had to give.

All musicians should evolve as life changes and creates new nuances in their own lives - the evolution of Ludwig was already well under way.

He found that the only course of action was to give in to this new creative impetus and exciting new musical direction - accepting that challenge was always going to be the easy bit. In the last two years the songs have grown and become crafted into a very heady mix of raw emotion and tempered rage against the tribulations and trials that humanity shares, universally. Real songs about real issues that touch us all.

Ludwig's music is the very heartbeat, the life soundtrack of Belfast, a Belfast changing now too... growing into something fine and new and full of hope. You wont find tales of murder and gunplay in Ludwig's work, nor will you find anger and aggression instead you will find a passion for truth and understanding similar to that found in the works of Joyce or Hewitt. Ludwig merges his poetry and 'warmly intoxicating' music in a way that pulls at the very souls of his audience on so many different levels.

Just as you turn a corner of North Belfast you find the surprising- the mild mannered clerk with the heart of a poet, the bank worker who creates sculpture, the housewife who creates graceful works of Celtic art, so too, Ludwig's music is about the unseen, the overlooked - the love, the heartbreak, the pain, and ultimately the redemption of the soul through being true to itself.

This is the new Celtic heartbeat, the music of a city of saltwater and salty tears; of golden hills and grey estates. Relish the most sinister love song in years with the magnificent 'Let Go'... its dark passionate bass line, like a punch-drunk heartbeat; or the delicacy of 'Sea Nomad' - surely one of the most summery songs ever written. Then beware your own self-appraisal lurking behind his intimate, impassioned plea as he asks ...'How do you feel??'

Already Ludwig's back catalogue of songs is growing daily and as his writing form becomes more and more prolific, subsequent recordings are more than guaranteed.


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