10 Acts You Need To See At Body & Soul

Words: Dylan Murphy
Image: The Blaze by Samuel Kirszenbaum

An essential date during Irish festival season, Body & Soul returns to Ballinlough Castle June 16-18. With a stacked lineup on the horizon, we’ve teamed up with Hennessy to put our heads together and curate a list of the must see acts this summer in Westmeath.

The bittersweet reality of festivals with killer lineups is, there’s going to be clashes. It’s the price you pay to get to see so many amazing artists in one day. While we could wax lyrical about nearly every act at Body & Soul this year, we’ve cooked up a taster of the acts we’d recommend this summer. Between spiritual jazz and soul-drenched whispers from one of the country’s most exciting songwriters, there’s no shortage of sounds to make that warm fuzzy feeling take over. With that in mind, here’s 10 acts, in no particular order that you need to catch this summer at Body & Soul.



A staple of Irish festival season, Soft Boy Records Co-Founder Kojaque is returning to Body & Soul after the success of his debut album. Alongside his trademark jazzy rap, Town’s Dead featured post-punk guitars in ‘SHMELLY’, smokey soul in ‘Sex & Drugs’ and unforgettable searing harmonies in ‘Coming Up’. This is an artist with versatility and these kind of cuts hit different in the flesh. Couple that with hints of a forthcoming sophomore record and Body & Soul could be the first place to hear new material alongside the classics.



There’s a palpable buzz around Sweetlemondae. 2021’s 1LIFE EP was just a taster of what she’s capable of. It made clear dae is capable of slaloming between buttery smooth melodies, hooks that bury their way into the deepest crevasses of your brain and straight up rap chops. Drawing inspiration from the soulful school of Saba and IAMDDB when she skis across tracks, style and substance aren’t mutually exclusive in her work and this comes into full focus on the sharp societal critique of 2022’s ‘Never Gonna Be’. Time to invest in Sweetlemondae, you can catch her at The Hennessy Hip Hop House.


Gemma Dunleavy

A true champion of her community, Gemma Dunleavy is an old soul making future-facing music. Whether it’s glitter garage weapons like ‘Up De Flats’ or the sugary summer embers of ‘Cruising’, she’s cemented her spot as one of the acts at the crest of the vanguard of new music coming out of Ireland.

Given she’s already had a headline of her own in the 3Olympia Theatre, getting to see her in the more intimate confines of the Hennessy Hip Hop House will be a real treat.


Negro Impacto

If the sun is out there’s few acts we want to see more than Negro Impacto. The Dundalk duo are a breath of fresh air, whose breezy RnB and Soul cuts are the perfect festival soundtrack. It’s main character music for the stress heads who need escapism, vibes for when the vibes are lacking and quite simply, good music.

Sure, there’s touchstones like The Internet, SkinShape and Thundercat, but Chi Chi’s charisma is unmistakeable and when her voice coalesces with StrangeLove’s instrumentation it could be no one other than Negro Impacto.


The Blaze

In an era where artists are encouraged to contentify their every waking moment, enigmatic electronic duo The Blaze are a welcome palette cleanser. There’s a magical quality owed to the mystique around the pair and their breathtaking videos, which are better categorised as moving short films (and often self-directed). Marry this with their trademark emotive sound and it’s a recipe for unforgettable art that ages like a fine wine.

The stage is set for a spiritual experience in Westmeath this summer. Don’t sleep.


Daddy G

Massive Attack member and trip hop pioneer Daddy G lands in Ireland this summer for a DJ set in Ballinlough. Having taken the path-less-travelled his whole career, it’s not hyperbole to say he’s paved the way for some of the most important acts of the past forty years. Through dance music, hip hop and whatever takes his fancy, he’s done it on his own terms and stayed true to the values that’s cemented his icon status.

Hennessy’s Hip Hop House is playing host to the island’s next wave of hip hop, soul and RnB talent. So, it’s fitting that Daddy G, a seasoned veteran that has made a career out of keeping one eye on the future without abandoning the past is a link between generations.



Soul, reggae, gospel and afrobeat are part of the inseparable soup of music that informs Kokokoro’s output. Having released their ambitious debut album Could We Be More last year on Giles Peterson’s Brownswood recordings, the London-based group arrive at Body & Soul in a rich vein of form.


Aby Coulibaly

Aby Coulibaly is nine for nine so far. That’s nearly double digits in back to back straight heaters. This run from the Chamomile Records co-founder comes alongside equally impressive music videos, live performances and the success of Chamomile Club’s events and before she’s even released a project of her own. So it’s not hard to understand how she’s one of the country’s most exciting artists. With an EP in the crosshairs, Body & Soul could well be the spot to catch the next era of Aby’s journey.



Haai’s accolades easily pass the screening test for even the pickiest music heads. From US tours, to co-signs from legends, a Radio 1 Essential Mix and collaborations with Fred Again.., Romy and Jon Hopkins, the producer has become one of the most in-demand names in electronic music. However, the true appeal is in the intangibles. Songs like ‘Baby, We’re Ascending’ live up to the name and spark a kind of joy that stays long after the closing notes. So with that in mind, the naturalistic settings of Ballinlough Castle present the perfect location to lose yourself to her euphoric cuts.



Irish-Filipino singer and multi-instrumentalist Uly is one of the capital’s most emotive songwriters. His unmistakeable whispered delivery often lands like a quiet confession and his latest project 1822.demos marries his interest in science and outer space with smooth jazz and soul. Ordinarily, these kind of sounds would be categorised as ‘headphone music’. The type of intimate songwriting that’s best served one to one, however, such is his stage presence, this is best experienced live.

Body & Soul takes place at Ballinlough Castle in Co. Westmeath June 16-18, 2023. Tickets are on sale now, click here to purchase.

Please drink Hennessy responsibly.

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