Musician’s medley leads the way at iconic NY venue

March 20, 2017

When Belfast boxer Michael Conlan entered the ring in New York City’s Madison Square Garden for his professional debut on St. Patrick’s Day, the occasion was heralded by thousands of Irish supporters.

But for one local musician, the event inadvertently catapulted him into the limelight, as it was his musical compilation that resounded through the stadium while Conlan and his entourage weaved their way through the euphoric audience.

Fiddle player Niall Murphy says he is both stunned and delighted that his remix of the iconic Irish soccer anthem ‘Put ‘Em Under Pressure’ was chosen as the entrance theme tune for the big fight.

Video footage taken at the event captured chants of ‘Olé Olé Olé’ as the instantly recognizable, catchy tune fired up fans and whipped the 18,000-strong audience into a frenzy.  The episode was made all the more memorable as UFC fighter Conor ‘The Notorious’ McGregor accompanied Conlan into the ring, attracting uproarious support from the green army of fans.

Conlan enjoyed a dream debut win, knocking out his American opponent Tim Ibarra in the third round, but for 24-year-old Murphy, the victory is just as sweet.

Currently on tour in France with trad band Doolin, Niall says he only found out that his tune was used when he was awoken with a text from his cousin.

“Of course it took me a while to realise what had happened as this was the first I had heard about it, but after watching some footage of the entrance, I recognised it right away,” he recalled.

“I am just back from tour in America and was staying in a hotel right across from Madison Square Gardens, little did I know my music would be playing inside to thousands not even a week later – it’s surreal!”

Niall says he assumes the track was chosen because of its patriotic theme and its upbeat tempo may have helped Conlon feel pumped up.

“I released it at the time of the EUROS in 2016 and since then it has racked up just over 140k views on Facebook and YouTube, so I’m guessing he or one of his colleagues seen it and thought it would suit the entrance music.  I’m honoured it was used for this event in the same way I am for some of my other tracks being used in films and animations, it’s always a feel good factor!”

Describing it as a privilege that his music has been associated with such a high profile event, Niall added: “I never made this track specifically for this purpose so for it to be used was great.  I touched base with Conlan the morning after the fight to thank him for using it – he is a cool customer!  He said how he loved my music and how it fitted what he wanted exactly – incorporating the Ole Ole Ole theme, with Horslips ‘Dearg Doom’, the National Anthem and also a few Irish reels thrown in for good measure.”

Asked if he thinks this may be his “big break”, Niall is philosophical: “In ways, being a musician is like throwing mud at a wall…you just hope some of it sticks.  This is a good example of it sticking.  I’m not really sure what’s next, just throw some more mud I suppose!

“I like to be different when it comes to music and try to expand the audience of traditional Irish music by breaking the rules in a way and try to help it reach new audiences.  My roots will always like in the Irish traditional genre but I will keep experimenting until the walls are covered in mud,” he joked.

Footage of the event can be viewed on Niall Murphy Music Facebook page or at the following link