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Published on August 28th, 2019 | by Lydia Brooks

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Irish semi-legendary hip-hop pioneers Scary Éire join Electric Picnic line-up

Scary Éire, Irish rap’s semi-legendary hip-hop pioneers, and notorious bad boys have been added to the bill for Electric Picnic this weekend.

In a rare live appearance, “hyper man” Mr. Browne, Frontman Ri-Ra, DJs Mek, and Dada Sloosh, will play the Salty Dog stage on Saturday morning as part of the Friday night bill.

The group, who hail from Crumlin – via Kildare – , Tullamore, and the Coombe, burst out of the nascent Dublin hip-hop scene in the early ‘1990s after a series of gigs at venues like Fibbers and Barnstormers and then became the first Irish rap act to sign to a major label as Island Records took a laudable punt on them.

However, they only released one single Dole Queue in 1993, before falling apart. The Scary Era, a collection of archive songs which had been shelved since the early ‘1990s, finally appeared in 2007.

Trailblazers with a huge cult following, the group Scary Éire reunited for the first time in decades at Sugar Club of Dublin last St Patrick’s Day.

During their short but eventful music career, they opened for Beastie Boys, Madness, U2, and House of Pain on the Zooropa tour, and collaborated with renowned artists such as Jah Shaka, Howie B, and Tricky.

Regarded as one of the world’s best DJs and also the winner of five Irish Disco Mix Club titles, DJ Mek was a finalist at the DMC world championships in London. 

Fusing trad, reggae, punk, and ska, although Scary Éire was a product of a bleak Ireland, their gigs were riotous and renegade, calling out the dark underbelly of Irish life in the early ‘1990s.

Since Scary Éire disbanded, Rí-Rá has gone on to perform live and has released new material such as The Horses Work for Donkey’s Wages album. He has also cooperated with Tricky, Junior Delgado, Adrian Sherwood, and Sinéad O’Connor.

Meanwhile, DJ Mek has remixed tracks for Sweetie Irie, Ian Brown, Nostra, The Frames, La Coka, Gemma Fox, and Dirty Dubsters.

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