Colum Sands has performed in over thirty countries around the world, confirming the universal appeal for the songs and stories with which he observes the minute and often humorous details of life.
As you will see from this ‘history’ we are very lucky to get him to come to Crail. A big night for sure. A member of the internationally renowned Sands Family from County Down, Colum established his reputation as a songwriter with the release of his first solo album, Unapproved Road in 1981. Songs like Whatever you say, say nothing, and Almost every Circumstance were soon in the repertoire of artists from Billy Connolly to Maddy Prior and June Tabor.
His second album The March Ditch inspired a special BBC television documentary and songs like The Man with the Cap and Looking the loan of a Spade confirmed his unique ability to observe locally and appeal universally.
In 2000, his first book, "Between the Earth and the Sky" was published and its pages, like Colum's stage performances, contain a combination of songs and stories. In March 2001 Colum joined Middle Eastern storyteller Sharon Aviv for a tour of Israel and a concert in that country's first integrated school and village for Jews and Arabs, Neve Shalom. This concert inspired the song The Child who asks you why and Going Down to the Well with Maggie, just two of the songs which appeared on a unique collection of songs and stories, Talking to the Wall, released by Colum and Sharon in 2002.
The inclusion of a live track was in response to many requests for a live album and in 2007, the live songs were complemented by the stories which are so much a part of Colum's performances with the release of Colum Sands Live In Concert, recorded at Clotworthy House in County Antrim. Colum was also appearing in venues much further from home around this time, in 2006 his first concert tour of Australia and New Zealand was a huge success and was followed by a further visits in 2007 and 2009 with appearances at all the major festivals and in venues from Perth, Melbourne and Canberra, to Tasmania and Mount Isa.
The endless range of venues around the world inspired the title track of Colum's seventh album, Look where I've ended up now, released in 2009. From songs inspired by Bedouin activist Nuri Al Okbi (Song for Nuri) to songs like Beyond the Frame - from around his own front door in Rostrevor, the album is a wonderful travelogue of people and places encountered by the County Down troubador. Meetings on the road with Scottish Gaelic singer Maggie MacInnes lead to another fascinating project and a new album released in 2010, The Seedboat, investigating musical and linguistic links between Ireland and Scotland. Following performances on each side of the water that divides the two countries, Colum and Maggie released their bi-lingual album The Seedboat (Bàta an t-Sìl) at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010.
His work in radio and studio production earned him the Living Tradition Award for services to Folk and Traditional Music. Colum has also produced countless albums for traditional singers and songwriters, he also produced four tracks on the Sound Neighbours CD released by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, an album which was short listed for a Grammy Nomination. Colum's tours since then have taken him to venues all over Ireland and the UK as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany and Denmark He is currently working on a new album due for release in this year.