What have the world’s favourite redhead and Portlaoise in common? Quite a lot as it happens. Much of Edward Christopher “Ed” Sheeran’s distinctive acoustic guitar sound is down to his use of a ‘looper pedal’. Ed can trace his interest in and use of the loop pedal from a seminal moment in the then teen’s life. Sheeran caught a Gary Dunne concert over a decade ago and the rest is history. The Portlaoise singer/songwriter/artist and teacher (click herefor Gary’s website) takes up the story here:
The two talents backstage
“Ed saw me playing a gig in London back in 2005. His Dad invited me to come play at Ed’s 15th birthday party, in their house, which I did. That began a journey of me teaching him something called ‘live-looping’.”
Gary is very modest about the impact his playing technique had on the budding musician. However Ed Sheeran made it clear, in an interview with the BBC, that witnessing the Laois troubadour in action was a seminal moment for him.
‘‘The reason I use a loop pedal now is cos I saw a guy called Gary Dunne use a loop pedal. I was 14 and I was just blown away. I was like, ‘this in incredible, I need to get one of those pedals’, so I did. I made friends with Gary, he taught me how to use it, and that was the gig that started me off on the whole loop pedal journey.’
Ed Sheeran cites Portlaoise’s Gary Dunne as a major artistic influence
Gary Dunne features prominently in Ed’s autobiography
That collaboration between the Portlaoise minstrel and the now-global superstar has resulted in a wonderful friendship between the pair. Indeed such is the connection between the two men that it was no surprise that Gary was backstage for Ed’s latest Dublin concerts. This symbiotic relationship has also seen Sheeran make a hugely significant donation to the London Irish Centre of which Dunne is Director of Arts.
“The ‘Thinking Out Loud’ singer (has) offered to host an exclusive meet and greet experience as well as supply tickets to a show on his sold-out UK tour to the London Irish Centre.” (Irish Independent Feb 27 2017)
It’s wonderful to note that this union and friendship between these immensely-talented men is also having such a wonderful ripple effect on the Irish Arts Community in London and indeed the Irish community in general in the south of England. Fitting for two selfless souls for live for music and art. And all sparked off by the Laois man’s gig all those years ago. Fitting too that Gary features so prominently in Ed’s autobiography ‘Divide and Conquer’.