This latest instalment of Cultural Connections unpacks the undeniable and sometimes underground connection between The Emerald Isle and Great Britain. Ireland and the UK have a bona fide shared history that runs deeper than any sort of creative affiliation and although not all relations between the two countries are wanted, their shared proximity separated by the Irish and Celtic seas is a physical cesspool of latent potential between both countries’ capital cities. The title ‘Dublin born but London based’ follows after the introduction of many Irish artists. The evident lack of bonhomie when discussing the Irish and British past is transcended by the current breed of creatives shared by both cities and their bright artistic future ahead.
Upcoming pop singer-songwriter Soulé,has firmed her roots in Dublin’s creative greenery. Born in London the singer with numerous albums and EP’s under her belt and a potent irish fanbase , she could almost be described as a gift from London. Denise Chaila is Dublin’s gift to London, with the Irish artist featuring on Ed Sheeran’s remix of 2Step and following the Galway Girl singer on his Irish tour around several cities.
As well as this a handful of upcoming Irish rappers have taken some inspiration from the UK drill scene. With their sound reminiscent of the hard-hitting beats and 808’s, rappers such as TraviS are bringing this hybrid sound to various Irish festivals this Summer.
The disconnect lies with London’s lack of lamentation when it comes to their nightlife. Dublin’s nightlife is on the brink of death with having over 80% of their clubs liquidated since before and during the pandemic. However, one shared feature that has become apparent in recent years is the underground music scene. Both cities seem to possess passion and grit in keeping the rebellious underground scene afloat (Dublin youth more desperate than London’s of course) but one such Irish collective doing so is The Midnight Disco. Known for their seasonal but highly anticipated parties that introduce distinct and sometimes unseasoned DJ’s to new stages, and now even recently near veterans, when Venetta ‘Queen of Radio Silence’ made her Dublin debut with the collective.
Dublin’s at times desolate cobblestone streets and stringent and unnecessary licensing laws has left room for an even stronger community of underground techno music and new creative ventures. The Midnight Disco x The Big Romance, their latest project sees Irish DJ’s, creatives and partygoers sailing down the River Thames in order to bring some of the unrelenting Dublin party spirit to London.Their lineup of DJs features Ricky Chong, Efa O’Neill, Mercorn, Sugitbak and this partnership also including Dancing for Money the London based initiative focused on parties and cultural exchanges between both cities.
The linkage between Dublin and London’s fashion scenes have been evident since the 1980’s when Irish-American designer Paul Costello was appointed as the beloved Princess Diana’s personal designer and subsequently showed at London Fashion Week. This collaboration between Dublin and London was only solidified when Isabella Blow, legendary fashion editor and talent scout took it upon herself to mentor Philip Treacy OBE the Irish haute couture Milliner and Lee Alexander McQueen simultaneously, giving rise to both talents from both countries.
The London Fashion Week calendar has for many years served as proof of this unofficial contract between Dublin and London. This unspoken rule almost always guarantees that at least a handful of Irish designers will be scheduled on the line-up, with this year being no different. Simone Rocha, Richard Malone, and Rixo, all with designers hailing from Dublin yet based in London. This makes London the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (or runway) for Irish designers, who mostly emigrate straight to London in the hopes of showcasing their collections to grander audiences.
Another attempt at keeping the flame burning between Dublin and London is the newly established yet well-endowed talent agency “The Millar Agency“. With their aim to host a variety of British and Irish talent it’s no wonder that their impressive lineup of talent includes comedian and content creator Fatstimbo, broadcaster and DJ Tara Kumar and Gary Thompson AKA “The Plastic Boy”.
Of course this wouldn’t be a Dublin X London cultural connection without mentioning comedy chat show extraordinaire Mr. Graham Norton. Wildly claimed by both cities but has spread his Irish Charm internationally with his critically acclaimed talk show “The Graham Norton Show”.
A key feature of this transactional relationship is Dublin’s creative servitude and outpouring into the London scene. Dublin and London’s connection is one of hope, discovery and budding artistic talent. With the majority of Irish youth emigrating to London in what can be described as Dublin’s unofficial creative brain drain epidemic. Dublin’s restless and creatively hungry youth see London as the artistic Garden of Eden in which all of their dreams will come true as they transform from big fishes in our green waters to fledgling artists with potential to garner attention on London’s scene which draws international attention.
Dublin youth have an undiscovered rawness about their endeavours, and as a result the UK has Irish talent to thank for their unrelenting contributions to the London scene. It cannot be denied that London and Dublin will forever be linked with their creative symbiosis honing talent together for the world to enjoy.
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See also: CULTURAL CONNECTIONS: AMSTERDAM X LONDON