PAUL BRADY COMES TO TOWN
FRIDAY 15 DECEMBER 2006
YOU CAN CATCH US ON ABC RADIO'S CONVERSATION HOUR
There was a time when 'Irish music' was code for the sentimentalism
of Danny Boy and the Wearing of the Green. With the arrival of
Planxty in the 70s and U2, with its rock anthems, in the 80s that
all changed. Sadly, most Australians are oblivious to the depth
and quality of songwriting in Ireland and the rich tradition that
spawned U2. Ask Paul Brady about U2 and there's a discernible
pause. No harsh words just a gentle 'I don't know about Bono and
the world poverty thing'. Although Brady doesn't have Bono's international
status he is the consummate artist. And with songs recorded by
the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Art Garfunkel, Santana, Phil Collins,
Cher, Joe Cocker and Tina Turner he is in a class of his own.
With Paul Brady at the ABC studio - 15 December 2006
- before the Conversation Hour.
Born in County Tyrone near the Donegal border, in 1947, Brady
rose to fame during the revival of traditional music in Ireland
in the late 60s. Eventually, he joined Planxty, after the exit
of the legendary Christy Moore. Then, suddenly, in the early 80s
he went rock with songs such as Hard Station and Steel Claw. For
those who'd followed his career in traditional music there was
disbelief that he could cast aside his origins.
Paul Brady however is different. Unlike many other Irishmen he
refuses to nail his colours to anyone's political mast. He never
sang about the IRA and doesn't wear a political heart on his sleeve.
During the hunger strikes that claimed volunteer Bobby Sands in
the early 80s Brady refused to perform at the pro-Sands rallies.
It led to him being verbally and physically abused. That experience
led to the writing of The Island in 1985:
They're raising banners over by the markets
Whitewashing slogans on the shipyard walls
Witchdoctors praying for a mighty showdown
No way our holy flag is gonna fall ?
Up here we sacrifice our children
To feed the worn-out dreams of yesterday
And teach them dying will lead us into glory...
As we go marching down the road to freedom...freedom
'The situation in the north of Ireland did create dilemmas for
Catholic nationalists but I don't apologise for writing that song.
It's just what I think,' he says. Despite an aversion to protest
songs there's been a steady stream of social commentary in his
work. Nothing but the Same Old Story, derived from his experiences,
as an Irishman working in London, is a biting satire of British
attitudes to the Irish:
I'm sick of watching them break up
Every time some bird brain puts us down
Making jokes on the radio
Guess it helps them all drown out the sound?
Of the crumbling foundations
Nothing but the same old story?
You can see that you're nothing but a murder
In their eyes, we're nothing but a bunch of murderers
Yet for all the sharpness of his tongue, it's the beauty of his
songs and his poetic grasp of love and its trials that is his
greatest gift. It makes perfect sense that the, sometimes sad
Tina Turner, would have been drawn to the pounding words of Paradise
Paradise is here, it's time to stop your crying, the future
is this moment
don't talk about tomorrow
put your arms
|Paul Brady with the inimitable Caroline Moore - who organised
his tour - at the ABC studios in Melbourne.
I've met some prima donnas in my time. Brady isn't one of them.
Sincere and engaging, he produces the most beautiful music. Maybe
he'll dedicate that Irish anti war classic, Arthur McBride, to
the current war in Iraq; a war he says 'makes no sense.'
It was no surprise that when he performed Living for the corporation
and Smile during his ABC interview everyone in the studio
was moved. He was typically brilliant.
Tickets can be booked on 9536 1168 or online at www.princebandroom.com.au
Saturday 16 December
Prince Band Room - The Prince of Wales
29 Fitzroy Street St Kilda
Sunday 17 December