As I reflect on the many compelling reasons on why I created the “I Am Ireland” project, I am reminded of the many years I spent growing up in Cork city and pondering an inner calling to do something for my country. Indeed, coming from an Irish nationalist family with a working class background on the Northside of Cork city, I heard many great songs as a child which I was captivated by; songs like ‘Grace’ and Four Green Fields being the early ones. Being taught by the Irish Christian Brothers imprinted in me a great love for Ireland, its language, its customs and its people, and the rebel County Cork of course! That inner calling was to nag me for many years. I spent many a night in Cork city, whether on the side of river Lee fishing and thinking about these songs, or other times, perhaps ‘supping over a pint’ and toiling at what would be my purpose; politics or a life of service for others? In the end I chose a life of service. This was my road less travelled and it has been the guiding light of my life.
Singing these great rebel songs from a young age and indeed throughout my life to date has calmed that inner calling. The more I sang these songs, the more they came alive and spoke to me. I suppose it satisfied whatever republican call I might have had, or the family I grew up within!
"I am Ireland" is really a personal conversation about some of the songs of Ireland which inspired all those who came before 1916 to continue on that great journey for reclaiming Ireland’s independence. In fact we have heard these songs before and probably sang them at Irish festivals or in the corner of a bar late at night- songs like The Rising of the Moon. But do we really know the true meaning behind these songs and the context in which these songs came about?
We are only looking at the journey from 1798 to 1916. The songs chosen in I AM IRELAND tell the story of the Irish people, both from an historical perspective but also from a subjective / narrative perspective. The 1798 period was an era when both Catholics and Protestants (Wolfe Tone) came together as one unified force, and some the songs at that time symbolize this sense of unity and hope. Sean O’ Riada, who can be compared to the Gershwin of Irish music, says that we are only the messengers of the music and the songs. In singing these songs, we make the spirit of that person, who in writing the song or story, come alive. So it’s not about the person singing it but the immortal story within this song.
And so I think that all those years ago, as people fought, died, and starved; one abiding mode of survival were their songs and stories. It was the people’s connection to their past, passed down from generation to generation, or to put it another way it was their mode of Social Media!
As they spoke the song, they may not have had food but were nourished with that unrelenting quest to keep that struggle for freedom alive which the great leaders started.
These songs give the musical narrative of Ireland’s road to independence during that period. To fully appreciate what took place on 1916, one has to look back at the totality of everything that happened up to that point. I believe that songs are the best way to tell the story. As an Irishman, I am only the messenger here. But it is my true honor to represent my country in doing this and to walk in the emotional footsteps of those who sacrificed so much for me and our land.
Presented in 2 acts, I perform with a 3 piece band of the finest Irish traditional musicians in North America. They bring my songs to life, they weave through the words of statesmen, and they celebrate the glory of our music, the glory of our nation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON I AM IRELAND EMAIL MICHAEL AT WEXFORDHOUSELLC@GMAIL.COM OR CALL 773 6910601
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and go to the Music Store to pick up my new CD and other songs!
Hailing from County Cork, Paddy Homan isn’t just another name on the
list of Ireland’s gifted tenors; he is a natural, elevating
traditional Irish songs to new heights. A born entertainer, Paddy adds
a layer of warmth and familiarity to his performances, bringing the
audience not just closer to the music, but welcomes them into a unique
Irish experience. Paddy’s quick-witted, Cork humor and spontaneity on
the stage gave birth to the nickname Paddy ' The Show-Man- Homan ’.
He has earned his place beside a wide variety of talented musicians
who are recognized as the best in the business. Paddy doesn’t just
create an atmosphere of beautiful music, but rather, crafts an
authentic real Irish experience.