Thursday, 2 June 2016

Oban Times Music Column - February 8 2016

OBAN rapper Kevin ‘K9 Kev’ Irvine brought the house down with a sold- out show at Cuan Mor on Saturday, funding a trip for disabled children in the process, writes Jonathan Rimmer.
The hip hop emcee celebrated the launch of his new EP Dear Diary by reaching the set target needed to take a group of children to France with Hosanna House and Children’s Pilgrimage Trust (HCPT).
Irvine, who works as a youth worker, smashed the £400 target needed to volunteer for the project, and now intends to help take a group of disabled and disadvantaged children on a pilgrimage to Lourdes this Easter.
Selling out the George Street venue before 10pm, Irvine admitted that he was, for once, ‘quite speechless’.
He said: ‘The atmosphere was amazing. In the 10 years that I’ve been putting on shows, this is the first one I’ve ever sold out. The local community has been amazing, especially the businesses who supported our raffle at the end of the show.’
Irvine has been rapping since his mid-teens and revealed that his new EP was written with today’s youth in mind.
‘Growing up in this small West Woast town can be difficult,’ he said. ‘ Working with young people has opened my eyes to the reality of what it’s like to be a teenager in Oban.
‘My new EP reflects back on my own time as a teenager in school, back when I started rapping. Hip hop wasn’t popular here at all then, so it’s amazing to see younger artists trying it.’
Several tracks on the new release feature local solo performers, giving the EP a more folky quality than many hip hop records. Songwriters such as Dave Ayling, Chas McKenzie and Kevin Smith contributed their vocal and instrumental talents.
Saturday’s bill also featured an eclectic mix of local acts, including fellow hip hop performer Rory O’B, DJ/producer KUTBIRD and rock five-piece Citizen9. Irvine praised his fellow performers, as well as the growing Oban scene, saying: ‘In my opinion, O’B is one of the best upcoming rappers in Scotland. I’m incredibly proud to rap alongside him. I loved the diversity of the night in general.

‘ When it came to this project, I always wanted to use resources that were close by. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Now it’s finished, I’m just going to keep on going.’
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First printed in The Oban Times on February 18 2016.

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