Country/folk duo Darren Constable and Patrick Robertson are taking the McGettigan’s crowd by storm. Benita Adesuyan meets them.
How did you get together?
Darren: Pat and I have known each other since 2000. I was working at the Hard Rock Café and I popped next door to the Irish pub where he was playing, and we hit it off. I was a travelling musician and Pat was based here, but we kept bumping into each other and we always said we wanted to work with each other one day, and now we are.
Which instruments do you play?
Darren: I play a bit of mandolin, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and I’m lead vocalist. I also play a bit of banjo these days too. I’ve been a working musician for 30 years, and Pat has about 50, so that’s 80 years’ experience altogether. Patrick: I play guitar violin, mandolin, harmonica, banjo and a little keyboard. We don’t have space to play all the instruments in our set. I’d love it if we could though.
What’s the story behind the band name?
Darren: The name’s a bit of a nod to Australia. A lot of Australian folk music involves all of those instruments.
That’s a lot of instruments –who does what on stage?
Patrick: I’m Darren’s backing band! He’s got the best voice, his harmonica playing is now much better than mine – but he’ll never be as good on guitar as me though.
How is folk music received in Dubai?
Darren: We took a risk going for this style in this town but we wanted to give people something different. An Irish pub is the perfect platform to do that because it’s almost what people expect, and the Irish pubs here really support live music.
If you could jam with one artist who would it be?
Darren: Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. He’s the reason why I play harmonica and picked up a mandolin. Patrick: J J Cale because every note means something – he plays from the heart and didn’t want to be famous.
What do you think of the live music scene in Dubai?
Darren: I like the mix of musicians from all over the world, Dubai’s a big city but when you break it down into little communities it’s almost like a country town.
Patrick: To me it’s a bit dead. Some bands go down the easy road and over-rely on backing tracks.
Have you ever had any weird requests?
Darren: The weirdest request I had was ‘can you please play California Hotel?’
Patrick: We get asked for Hotel California a lot – it’s a great song but we’ve all heard it a million times.
Do you need to be a fan of folk music to enjoy your set?
Patrick: No, if your foot is tapping and the words mean something then it doesn’t matter – music is music.
The Wild Colonial Boys perform at McGettigan’s. Tue 9pm at Dubai World Trade Centre and Wed 9pm at Jumeirah Lakes Towers. www.mcgettigansdubai.com