Cathal grew up in Cork, Republic of Ireland, although he's been resident
in London for many years.
In 1980, Cathal formed Microdisney
with fellow-frontman Sean O'Hagen.
The combination of Sean's pop sensibilities with Cathal's more brooding and
acerbic approach was paradoxical but fruitful. Unfortunately, the usual music
industry problems meant that Microdisney
never quite achieved the
success it ought to have, and it disbanded after eight years.
Cathal went on to front Fatima Mansions
(named after a Dublin housing
estate), which allowed him to more fully vent his musical, lyrical and political
More recently, he's released several solo albums: Grand Necropolitan,
Black River Falls
described as "some of the best music I've worked on outside
XTC"), and most recently The Sky's Awful Blue.
The band on the
latter - Cathal on vocals and piano with James Woodrow
(cello), Nick Allum
on double bass, have also played a few live gigs
over the last couple of years.
Cathal has a wonderfully deep, dark voice, which can range from an ironic croon
to unbearable anguish. He's a superb songwriter with a great knack for making
the political personal.
His last couple of albums have perhaps seen a move to a gentler, more folk-influenced
style... although the sadness, anger and acerbity which are his hallmarks still
For more details, check out Cathal's