Thursday 25 April 2019

My cultural life: Finbar Furey

Finbar Furey
Finbar Furey
Father Ted
The Beatles

Finbar Furey is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, storyteller and actor who is celebrated around the world as one of the great folk icons. At the forefront of musical change, Finbar's successful career and extensive touring introduced a new audience to his music and instruments. At 71, Finbar has signed to BMG UK where he sits alongside artists including Morrissey, Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley. Finbar will be promoting his new album and Live DVD, Don't Stop This Now, around Ireland this month and next.

Film: Maudie


I recently watched this lovely award-winning film directed by Aisling Walsh. The story of Maudie is so moving and wonderfully acted by Sally Hawkins in the leading role and Ethan Hawke as her reluctant husband.

It's a true story of an artist from Nova Scotia, Canada, who battled arthritis and lived in a tiny house with her fisherman husband, and painted and painted and painted. The film tells of her triumphant journey through life and how she overcame her many sadnesses. It was a bittersweet time when she was recognised by the art world and afterwards by the family and community who had shunned her for most of her life. Maudie lived each day with great spirit and joy and found happiness wherever she could.

Book: Free Spirits

This book is wonderfully researched, written and beautifully illustrated by Tommy Fegan and Oliver O'Connell, and is a bible or encyclopedia of Irish travelling musicians, men and women, over the years. It tells of the families who have passed music down through the generations and undoubtedly kept the instruments and the knowledge alive. This travelling style of music is free, vibrant, heartfelt soul music and is now, since the 1970s, being copied and embraced worldwide.

TV: Father Ted

Father Ted

This totally irreverent and very funny programme still makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it. It tells the story of Fr Ted (above) who is always getting himself into trouble and somehow getting out of it, and the innocence of Fr Dougal who just has no idea but is happy in his oblivion. There's Mrs Doyle's impossible cups of tea and Fr Jack's dream world of whiskey and women. I can see now the placards being held up by the two lads: 'Down with this sort of thing', and hear the line 'That would be an ecumenical matter'. The couple in the shop, fighting and arguing until the priest comes in the door and they then portray the pretence of a loving family!

Band: The Beatles

The Beatles

The Beatles (above) changed the world of music, fashion, ideas and even politics. They were true originals, and moved the times on as had never happened before. Nothing was the same after the early 1960s when they bounced on to the stage with new music, and it was good and relevant to be young. They moved on themselves too with their music, never staying in the safe place. As a young piper steeped in Irish traditional music, I'd now and again play a Beatles tune and my father would join in playing the fiddle as he enjoyed their music too. Yesterday was his favourite.

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