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Koh Phangan Life, Music, Musician

Jammin with Musician Rob Mcmanus

14 Sep 2015


Originally from Ireland, a small seaside village, Rob Mcmanus had an uncle who played guitar and taught him a lot of songs. He also had friends in school who were guitar players so he just fell into it.

“It seemed the thing to do, to get a guitar. Growing up in a small hippy artistic part of Ireland there was a lot of music etc, all the pubs had it and it was part of every family occasion, singing along or playing guitar. Then you would start to wonder when you get invitations to parties if it’s just the guitar they want or…..?”

Rob was living in Singapore working in finance and came to Phangan for a two week holiday for the Christmas period, he had an invitation for Goa where he had lived before or Koh Phangan,

“I looked and it was cheap, so I just got on a flight that night and came here for Christmas 2011.

Some friends took me to Guys bar for new year's eve and it dawned on me as the dawn came, that I wasn’t happy in Singapore, so I made the decision to close stuff down over there and move here”.

So, he was back within a week of his first visit. At first Rob just stayed in Hin Kong on the beach with friends and this is when he started to hear The Jam every saturday night,

“I didn’t know what it was. It was a bit confusing because you would hear one great song and be like wow! It’d make you want to get up and go, then someone who couldn’t really sing would come on so I couldn’t understand what it was. It took me a long time to go but when I got there I realised it was a really professional open mic, willing to give people a shot and so I started at The Jam”.

Rob had not played on stage for ten years or so and was really excited to have a place to play music again.

What style of music do you play Rob?
I play a lot of Irish ballads and drinking songs, also some kinds of up to date popular music throughout the last 30 years. Songs I find the most effective and touching.

What are the best gigs you have done on Phangan?
Playing the Rhythm and Sands festival in 2012. The Jam is always good, oh and Crow Bar is always good too. I like playing Reggae Village with Jimmy Tae and the band.

Do you have any fun projects at the moment?
I have a nice house with a studio for the first time in a long time, 20 years or so. It’s a shanti house which is nice and it’s in a quiet area so basically it gives me the peace to write some of my own stuff and to record some of it. I am also bringing a bit of technology into it, I’ve got a Dj controller to play with and I’m experimenting with some online software, Ableton and Traktor.

Where can we you see play?
Soho in Thong Sala every Thursday night from 7.30 - 9.30pm and Banana Leaf in Wok Tum on Friday nights from 7.30 - 9.30pm

What do you do in your free time?
I like to chill in my hammock with my guitar I guess, I do a lot of swimming in Sri Thanu. I like going to Than Sadet, I like the waterfall and beach it’s the best of both.

What is your life philosophy?
Live every moment. I live everyday like I don’t think I will wake up tomorrow. Enjoy everything, it’s all part of life, sometimes what you consider the bad times are the leverage to make you follow your dreams and believe in yourself.

for Phanganist readers.