Micheál, William, and Jack Fogarty, with Ted O’Brien of Cork band The Fógues.

They won’t be ‘Russian’ back to Cork anytime soon

“I’d say Putin has more on his mind than to be bothered with what The Fógues are singing!”

Those were the words of Cork musician Ted O’Brien, a member of Leeside trad band The Fógues who have just released an epic tune recounting the tense 2022 stand-off between defiant Irish fishermen and the Russian navy.

Ahead of a planned operation off the coast of West Cork in February 2022, Irish fishermen based in the southwest of the country announced plans to peacefully disrupt the drills.

An imposing fleet of close to 60 trawlers had committed to the endeavour, a move which resulted in the Russians deciding against going ahead with the drill.

Marking the victory, Cork traditional group, The Fógues, have just released their new single, ‘Moscow to West Cork’.

Chatting with the Cork Independent, band member Ted O’Brien said the song “practically wrote itself” after the news of the stand-off broke.

“Everybody loves a good story about the underdog,” said Ted.

“The chorus was pieced together from an interview between CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and some representatives of the fishermen.

“Patrick Murphy spoke of his delight when the news came in that the Russians were backing down and being able to tell the fishermen, ‘Listen lads, out ye go’. This, I felt, was a great line and formed the main hook for the whole song," he added.

The Fógues have been playing the song live for the last year or so and audiences have been responded very well, said Ted, who feels it’s important to capture such important historical moments through song.

“I think there are so many events like this over the years that have been reduced to just a footnote in the history books,” he said.

“Folk music is always a good way to preserve stories like this, even if sometimes the lines get blurred between history and legend! Occasionally we might need to use a bit of creative license to make a good song. No harm in that!” added Ted.

Asked if he was concerned about a response to the song from Russia, Ted laughed. “I’d say Putin has more on his mind than to be bothered with what The Fógues are singing! Then again, if it does ruffle a few feathers, it shows we must be doing something right.”

The Fógues’ next show is at Glanfest in Glanworth this Saturday, followed by Casey’s Bar, Clonakilty on 18 May, Cheers Bar, Fermoy on 24 May, and Dwyer’s in Cork city on 8 June. For more information and all live dates, visit thefogues.com.